However, there is still ongoing discrimination towards the LGBT community especially in healthcare, both as providers and patients. As patients, the LGBT community is known to have a higher prevalence of HIV, mental illness, substance use, smoking, and other health conditions. They face a number of challenges when trying to access health services, including barriers in obtaining insurance coverage, gaps in coverage, cost-related hurdles, and poor treatment by health care providers. For example, a recent survey from Center for American Progress found that one in three LGBT individuals with incomes under 400% FPL are uninsured, a group that could qualify for assistance under the Affordable Care Act. Some have been left out of the system due to denial (pre-existing condition) of coverage or provider inexperience with their health needs. Even a majority of members of the LGBT community with insurance have been reportedly dissatisfied with their service. As healthcare providers, the LGBT community is facing similar discrimination as well. The intolerance may be in the form of judgment from colleagues or even denial of employment. For these reasons, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) was founded to advocate and support for medical providers and students who are LGBT. Check out their GLMA site.
Consider that some of us may not discuss patient and practitioner interactions like these during our undergraduate preparation. This is a failure in our education… we have a responsibility toward cultural awareness and competency. The go-to should always be toward a culture of openness, a culture of inclusion. We should treat others how we wish to be treated ourselves. I fervently believe that to be an athletic trainer, one must have a heart for service. Continue to love other people and be mindful/sensitive for their needs. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we should see each other as such, instead of judging and isolating others.
Denny Wongosari LAT, ATC