Pride Month and Health Care Rights for All
June 10, 2019
It’s LGBTQ Pride Month!
It’s also the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, a series of spontaneous demonstrations against a police raid of a gay bar in Manhattan. This was what sparked the first celebration of Pride Month, which has been an opportunity each June for people across the globe to come together, celebrate and show their support for LGBTQ rights, culture and community. It’s also a period to peacefully protest and raise awareness of issues facing those who identify as LGBTQ. One of these issues is accessibility to health care.
Think about it—if you’re heterosexual and cisgender, you don’t have to wonder if your health care provider will agree to treat you. But you do have to wonder about these things if you identify as LGBTQ.
Eight percent of LGBQ respondents said that a health care provider had refused to see them because of their sexual orientation, in a 2017 nationally representative survey conducted by the Center for American Progress. Nine percent said that a health care provider had used abusive language when treating them, and seven percent said that they had experienced unwanted physical contact such as fondling, sexual assault or rape. As a result of statistics like this, many patients are afraid to be honest about their sexual orientation with their doctors. Perhaps the most appalling statistic came from transgender respondents (the “T” part of “LGBTQ”). Twenty-nine percent said that they had experienced unwanted physical contact from a doctor, and 29 percent said a doctor or other health care provider had refused to see them because of their actual or perceived gender identity.
LGBTQ patients rights to health care are being denied. The Trump-Pence administration has repeatedly taken steps to roll back or deny protections to LGBTQ people, making equal health care access more difficult for them to obtain.
It’s important that we take a stand against these injustices, as well as all the other injustices that face LGBTQ people. And what better time to do it than Pride Month? At the end of the day, it’s all about equality and human rights, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.