Report: Only 13% of Queer People Have Gone to an LGBTQ Health Clinic Despite Overwhelming Need


At a time when the Trump administration is rapidly rolling back LGBTQ health care protections in the U.S., a new report suggests that queer health centers are out of reach for most in the country.

On Wednesday, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law released a study that found just 13% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have used an LGBTQ health center, while 52% wish they could. The findings were based on data from 1,534 LGB people between the ages of 18-61 years old. Transgender people were not included in the report because they will be the focus of a separate study, the Institute told NewNowNext.

The study also found that nearly three out of four (72%) queer-identified people live within 60 miles of an LGBTQ clinic, but still struggled to make it to those centers.

“Even within a 60-mile radius, unreliable transportation and long commute times can be a serious barrier to utilization,” wrote the study’s authors.

Most LGBTQ health clinics are located in cities, making access for rural queer people particularly difficult. Those health clinics provide critical care to people who might avoid seeing a doctor because they fear discrimination, the authors note.

“LGBT-specific clinics and providers offer LGB people an opportunity to utilize health services that are free of stigma and prejudice and competent in treating their health needs,” the study reads.

The report comes at a time when the Trump administration has continuously dismantled LGBTQ nondiscrimination health care protections, creating barriers to accessing care.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been trying to implement a law that allows health care workers to refuse treatment to transgender people and people with HIV/AIDS based on moral and religious reasons. Two courts struck down that law last month, but HHS is expected to appeal the rulings.

HHS has also proposed redefining the Affordable Care Act’s 1557 anti-discrimination protections protecting transgender people. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, two million transgender Americans could face increased challenges in getting health care if the department succeeds in implementing that change.

Getty Images

The issue is particularly pressing for queer communities of color, the report found. Of groups surveyed, black LGB people, were nearly three times more likely to have expressed interest in going to queer health center than their white counterparts. Latinx respondents were also a three times more likely to want to go an LGBTQ health center than white respondents.

“The discrepancy between past utilization and interest in future use of LGBT-specific providers suggests there is a disconnect between the type of health care many LGB people would like to have and what they have access to,” said Alexander J. Martos, the study’s lead author, in a statement. “Younger, Black LGB people and those with lower incomes reported the greatest interest in LGBT community-based health care.”

The study further reveals that bisexual people access LGBTQ health services at staggeringly low rates. In addition to being less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to a doctor, they were half as likely as other groups to want to go a queer health center, and a third less likely to have actually used them.

Still, the report did find bright spots. Most surveyed (89%) had health insurance and a primary source of health care (81%), even if that source was not LGBTQ-specific.

Kate Sosin is an award-winning, trans-identified news and investigative reporter.



Source link