Providing marginalized groups with the healthcare they need should be a priority across the country. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. Following a recent article, it's become clear that many older lesbian women suffer from a number of health issues, and may not be getting the top healthcare they need.
Health professionals stated middle-aged lesbian women suffer from more mental health issues than heterosexual women. Such issues include substance abuse, psychological disorders, and suicide attempts. Moreover, experts argued these findings directly correlated to how lesbian women are treated while getting care.
A change in health providers' treatment of lesbian women who come in for care could be key to battling mental and general health problems. Changes, like not assuming a woman is heterosexual, could be helpful. As would fostering an inclusive environment and providing lesbian women with cross-cultural care. As part of the LGBT community, lesbian women already face a range of cultural, political, and financial challenges. For middle-aged lesbian women, the generational stigma tied to their sexuality may also amplify those challenges.
It's easy for lesbian health concerns to fly under the radar--the risk for STIs are lower than their heterosexual counterparts. And when we weigh lesbian health concerns against those of gay males, they may perceptually pale in comparison. Perhaps this is where the problem lies: lesbian health concerns fly under the radar, and maybe specializing care for them does, too.
Reframing how we ask lesbian women medical questions is one way to create a more inclusive environment. Women of all sexual orientation come in for health services (like PAP tests and mammograms). However, the way clinicians interact and treat with lesbian women--and LGBT patients in general--can make a powerful difference in their patients' experiences.
How Apicha CHC can help:
Apicha CHC's providers are well-versed and knowledgeable in women's health services. We have years of experience providing primary care to women and off mental health assessments, short term counseling for depression, anxiety, gender identity, and referrals for long term therapy for on-going conditions.
If you’re interested in learning more about the risks or want to come in for a PAP test or STI screening, schedule your primary care appointment with Apicha CHC today by clicking here!