Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) people are members of every community. They are diverse, come from all walks of life, include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country. The healthcare needs of LGBTQIA people are sometimes unique and often overlooked, contributing to health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations.
Experts report that LGBTQIA people often avoid seeking out medical care or refrain from “coming out” to their healthcare provider. Marginalized people can face discrimination in any venue, and LGBTQIA patients could be made to feel that their gender identity or sexual preference is itself an illness or mental disorder. This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and asexual people who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups:
- Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections;
- Lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to get cancer screenings;
- Transgender people are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers;
- Nonbinary and genderqueer people (people who identify as neither male nor female) are at greater risk of violence and negative mental health outcomes ;
- Intersex people (people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the binary definitions of female or male) often have trouble finding doctors familiar enough with their bodies to provide appropriate care, or even filling out forms/paperwork with only binary gender options;
- Asexual people (people with little-to-no sexual attraction towards others) commonly have aspects of their care neglected by providers.