For a majority of queer youth, coming out to a doctor is extremely nerve-wracking– especially since it is someone who will decide what medical care you should receive. The chance of receiving subpar medical treatment deters some queer individuals from ever seeking proper health care.
The fact of the matter is that we need it.
According to the Healthy People 2010 Companion for LGBT Health, gay men and women are at more risk for specific cancers due to a higher regularity of smoking, obesity, and faulty risk assessments and screening by physicians; Gay men also make up 53% of recent HIV infections. Our community needs proper medical attention. Yet, a plethora of LGBTQ individuals postpone or even completely receiving healthcare because of possible discrimination or harrassment from healthcare professionals. In fact, compared to heterosexual females, lesbian women delay receiving medical attention twice as much.
The queer community is not receiving the same quality of healthcare as others, and that needs to change.
In order to prevent being discriminated by doctors for sexual preference or gender identity, LGBT Healthlink (a network set on eliminating disparities in health among communities), Missouri’s PROMO (an organization advocating for LGBT rights by taking legislative action and educating the community), and Corey Prachniak (a LGBT rights advocate and healthcare attorney) collaborated to release the first LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights is a way for LGBT individuals to become informed about their specific rights and get the care they deserve.
Some rights include being addressed by your chosen gender pronoun and name, the right to be treated with equality, and the right to be visited by anyone of your choice regardless of your relationship to that person.
Every individual’s bodies and mind matter, and the LGBT community should not be excluded. This Healthcare Bill of Rights is just one step towards the equality they seek. Through this Bill of Rights, both the provider and patient will be educated about the care they should administer and receive.
Download this healthcare bill of rights for future visits to your doctor. You can download them here.
Resource for addiction/substance abuse here.