The struggles for marriage equality, gay rights, and rise of HIV/AIDS infections among the LGBTQ+ community are well known.
However, not everyone recognizes some of the other lifestyle challenges that can affect individuals on a daily basis. Below are four common LGBTQ+ challenges that are not as frequently discussed.
Challenge #1: Coming out as an ongoing process
Coming out may have a beginning, but it never actually ends. The process typically begins with coming out to oneself first and then letting others know. Every time an individual is in a new environment and meets new people, he or she may consider if and when to discuss sexual orientation.
Unfortunately discrimination remains an issue and individuals may never know how coming out could impact certain personal and professional situations.
Challenge #2: Lack of awareness of community health center accessibility
With numerous barriers to health care access, Americans who fail or delay to receive needed medical care have nearly doubled in the past 10 years (Source: National Association of Community Health Centers, 2012). Accessing primary care can be challenging, even for the insured, and individuals are sometimes not aware of the care and resources provided by community health centers.
Health centers are local, non-profit, community-owned health care providers with the mission to improve access to health care for Americans regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Health centers remove common healthcare barriers by being located in high-needs areas that are identified by the federal government and providing care to everyone.
According to a fact sheet by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), Medicaid is the largest source of health insurance for low-income and disabled people, while health centers ensure that over 22 million underserved patients have access to primary and preventive care.
Apicha is helping to raise awareness of health care services and resources by reaching out to the community through community events, social media, and information request forms on the website.
Do you need quality LGBT healthcare without the judgement? Request an appointment
Challenge #3: Lack of partner recognition
Going along with the limitations of legal marriage, lesbian and gay partners often do not get the same attention in their relationship status in healthcare. Unmarried couples are lawfully not considered immediate family, which often excludes them from helping with medical decisions if the partner becomes incapacitated.
LGBTQ+ partners can be excluded from certain health care settings and the overall care plan. Under the law, LGBTQ+ couples may not have the ability to obtain health benefits when a partner dies, take sick leave from work to care for a partner, and gain full access to property rights.
Challenge #4: Gender change consequences for trans individuals
Transgender individuals may not expect certain health care consequences resulting from a gender change. Unfortunately many health insurance plans provide very limited coverage for hormone therapy and related surgical procedures.
Post-procedure will raise additional challenges, as insurers often don’t pay for care pertaining to the sex that a patient used to be. Establishing rules that refuse coverage of service that does not appear consistent with the gender marked in a person’s records were meant to prevent erroneous billing, but negatively affects the trans population.
What are other challenges?
The LGBTQ+ community is diverse, and different populations have different challenges. Remain open to other perspectives to recognize challenges that you may have not considered in the past. React understanding and supportive to all cultures in your community.