On the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we cannot help but be moved by the impact of discrimination on our communities, 11 gender non-conforming individuals killed in US alone
this past year. It is imperative to speak up to eliminate discrimination; discussing the devastating effects of discrimination and violence on both the individual and their community. A component of discrimination that should not be overlooked is its link to health.
No one should be afraid to come out to their doctor. Our health professionals should have access to information on how discrimination affects our health and what they can do to make it better. Too little attention has been paid to our health needs for too long. With the current focus on federal health reform we can no longer wait to close the gaps in our health needs.
Over the past two decades, limited research has established the trend that LGBTs are a health disparate population with increased health risks and access to care barriers, producing a broad pattern of disparities in many health areas. People in our community are more likely to delay routine medical care due to past negative experiences with providers, which puts the population at-risk for higher rates of preventing chronic conditions such as cancer. Because of the social stressors LGBTs endure like homophobia and isolation, we have higher rates of substance abuse, mental health problems and stress-related disorders.
Unfortunately, lack of data collection and only sporadic inclusion in policy, research, and intervention programs has hindered the efforts to address and ultimately reduce these disparities. With the change of administration, it is time for us to unite as activists, health professionals, and LGBT advocates in the struggle for health equality.
Please support us by signing our petition (click here) urging the federal government to create an Office of LGBT Health.
Equal health is a part of equal rights and as we fight for full federal equality we need our government to understand that our health needs cannot wait.
We cannot be an invisible population anymore. This is a time of health reform, the leaders must hear our cry loud and clear: WE ARE A PRIORITY!