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Problems With Quality Health Care

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Challenges in accessing quality care and achieving positive health outcomes as compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. The LGBTQ youth of today’s society receive poor quality of care due to stigma, lack of health care providers’ awareness, and the insensitivity to the unique needs of this community. LGBT youth receive poor quality of care due to stigma, lack of healthcare providers’ awareness, and insensitivity to the unique needs of this community. The prevalence of social stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination results in differences in overall health and well-being by sexual and gender identity. Optimal health care and access to it is affected because people are less likely to disclose their sexual orientation if it is anything other than heterosexual. This reflects the continuing existence of homophobia and transphobia within society. If a person is not heterosexual, there is a higher chance that they will be discriminated against, especially in the more conservative parts of the world.

In conservative countries, doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses tend to have negatives attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men based on stereotypes, although their professional ethics do not allow any type of discrimination. Research has linked discrimination to a higher incidence of substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and limited health-seeking behavior. Most members of the LGBTQ community delay or avoid medical care due to stigma and the uncomfortableness of disclosing information with their provider, which they fear will lead to judgment. It seems that many LGBTQ patients have poor experiences with their health care provider and the health care system in general. Problems arise when patients are asked to complete intake or new patient forms when they have an appointment in a medical facility. Most forms of data collection ask patients to check male, female, or other, and sexual orientation questions may not even be asked in public health or clinical settings, even though they are an important component of health care. When an LGBTQ person is required to fill out a form that does not have a category to describe their sexuality, it could impact their self-concept and esteem, as well as overall health because they would feel as an “other”.

In addition to discrimination and prejudice, a lack of provider education contributes to the existing health disparities that members of the LGBTQ community face. Most professional schools and continuing education programs do not provide the necessary education to improve practitioners’ cultural competency skills and diverse gender identity training to attend to the health needs of LGBTQ patients. Nurses, for example, encounter all types of patients, including gay, lesbian, or bisexual people, on a daily basis, but unfortunately, they may become socialized with the same sexual stereotypes as the general population since there is little in the typical nursing curriculum to overcome this. Administrators have reported that their curriculum contains between zero and two hours of LGBTQ-related content. Very few medical schools have emerged as leaders in the field of LGBTQ medical education, and others have limited engagement with this topic all together. Gaps remain in the training of health care professionals to address disparities as most students view their school’s LGBTQ curriculum as “fair” or “worse”. Transgender care tends to be the most lacking portion of this curriculum.

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