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Healthcare organizations still catching up to LGBTQIA+ care

Sexual and gender minority people are not a modern phenomenon, but it’s only been in the last two decades that the healthcare industry has started rewriting policies and procedures that once excluded or ignored LGBTQIA+ patients and their health issues. Those issues include high rates of substance abuse, mental health disorders, and suicidal ideation.

To aid in the reform effort, leading clinical experts and educators from The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital wrote two reports aimed at giving healthcare providers the knowledge and the tools to properly treat LGBTQIA+ patients: Organizational Strategies and Inclusive Language to Build Culturally Responsive Health Care Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People and A Blueprint for Planning and Implementing a Transgender Health Program.

“Although acceptance of LGBTQ people is growing, sexual and gender minorities continue to fear discrimination and bias, including in health care settings. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people report delaying medically necessary care and hiding their sexual orientation and gender identity to avoid a stigmatizing encounter with a clinician or other health care staff,” the authors wrote.

Nor is LGBTQIA+ health a niche concern for a few communities. A February 2021 Gallup report found that 5.6% of Americans, roughly 18 million people, identify as LGBTQIA+.

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