Survey Gives Federal Government First Look at Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Health

WaPo LGBT health photo

Very interesting article and a good first step, although there are likely some data issues only because self-reporting tends to be lower in LGBT populations due to fear and stigma. But in reference to this article, here is a perspective from Robert Espinoza of SAGE USA, which points to the vital necessity to “come out” when taking surveys: “Why, precisely, is data collection important for LGBT people? In clinical settings—hospitals, health centers, senior settings and more—asking patients about their sexual orientations and gender identities helps create optimal, patient-centered care plans that account for their unique lives, support systems, needs and preferences. In the long-term care context, a provider who knows that her client is a lesbian—and has been trained to deal properly with LGBT clients—will be more apt to consider what the available research confirms: LGBT older people are more likely to be single and without children, have thinner support networks that are largely reliant on friends, are at greater risk for poverty and social isolation and have survived a lifetime of discrimination, with psychological and material costs. Without veering into overgeneralizations, LGBT people might also have different mores, relationship patterns, family systems, legal quagmires and cultural values related to sex and gender, and a subtler take on privacy and authenticity, given the years we’ve spent negotiating what we know at our core with what we impart to others.”


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