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LGBTQ+ Health and Healthcare Disparities

  • LGBTQ+ populations face disproportionately high risks of

    • Disabilities (17)

    • Eating disorders (2)

    • Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns (7, 8, 12-15)

    • Substance abuse (7, 16, 17)

    • Sexually transmitted infections, including (7, 16, 17which is known to impact cognition and occupational performance (29)

    • Poorer overall health (7, 8, 12-15)

    • LGBTQ+ people of color are at increased risk of many health problems (14). 

  • These health disparities are caused in part by minority stress (8), and in part by the fact that LGBTQ+ populations have less access to quality healthcare services than the general population (712-15, 18-20). The barriers to accessing healthcare services include financial problems due to discriminatory hiring practices (10), lack of health insurance due to discriminatory policies or unemployment (10, 20), and a widespread lack of education and cultural awareness among healthcare providers (18, 20-22).


  • Consequences of a lack of LGBTQ+ education and cultural awareness among healthcare providers include:

    • LGBTQ+ patients frequently find themselves educating healthcare practitioners on their medical needs (23).

    • Many LGBTQ+ individuals have reported negative interactions with clinicians, citing cultural incompetence and even hostility and harassment on the part of the providers (7, 16).

    • Many avoid seeking necessary healthcare services altogether for fear of receiving inadequate care, which exacerbates the health disparities that they face (7).

Click here for LGBTQ+ cultural awareness resources for healthcare providers and educators

This page last updated: 2018

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