Physicians care for patients with unique health challenges, including adults and minors who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ). While 2015 national data noted 1.6% of adults identified as gay or lesbian and 0.8% as bisexual,1 the latest Gallup poll finds that 4.5% of Americans, or an estimated 11 million adults, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.2
Health data on the LBGTQ population are inconsistent. But we do know that compared with heterosexual populations, LGBTQ individuals are at greater risk for health conditions related to obesity, substance use, depression, anxiety, lack of primary care, and violence.3 In 2017, an estimated 2.6 million students across the nation identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and compared with others, they experienced significantly higher risks for negative health outcomes due to substance use, suicide, violence, and sexual activity.4
LGBTQ patients experience a disproportionate number of health problems, including high rates of mental illness, HIV, obesity, suicide, homelessness, and tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. Many physicians who would like to treat LGBTQ patients often hesitate because they fear they lack the training. While it's important for physicians to educate themselves on caring for LGBTQ patients, it's equally important for those patients to have better access to care. "They haven't felt comfortable going to a doctor," said Kelly Bennett, MD.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. In addition to the toll-free number, text, and chat options answered by trained counselors, the Trevor Support Center webpage provides easy-to-access frequently asked questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Help is available by phone at (866) 488-7386 /Text / Chat
60.008 Rejection of Discrimination: The Texas Medical Association does not discriminate, and opposes discrimination, based on race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, national origin, age, sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity. TMA supports physician efforts to encourage that the nondiscrimination policies in their practices, medical schools, hospitals, and clinics be broadened to include “race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, national origin, age, sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity” in relation to patients, health care workers, and employees. (CSPH Rep. 1-A-18)
60.010 Opposing Legislation that Mandates Physician Discrimination: The Texas Medical Association (1) supports the removal of “opposite sex” as a requirement for affirmative defense to prosecution within the Texas Penal Code, and (2) opposes legislation or regulation that mandates physicians and other health professionals discriminate against or limit access to health care for a specific patient population (Res. 111-A-19).
“Conversion Therapy” Is Not Evidence-Based Care (May 1, 2019)
Supporting Transgender and Gender-Diverse Teens by Maria Monge, MD (March 22, 2018)
All patients must receive care in an environment that supports an open, safe, and confidential patient-physician relationship without prejudice against sexual orientation or identification. This webinar will increase your awareness of barriers and special needs experienced by the LGBTQ patient population. Credits: 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ (enduring); 1.5 ETHICS
Got LGBTQ questions? Call the Knowledge Center.