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The Importance of Health Care for the LGBTQ Community

The Importance of Health Care for the LGBTQ Community 

All individuals deserve equal access to healthcare. It is especially important for members of the LGBTQ community to receive care from providers who are gender-affirming and culturally competent.  Research suggests that LGBTQ individuals face health disparities linked to social stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights.  LGBTQ individuals require specific attention from healthcare providers to address a number of disparities: 

Eliminating LGBTQ health disparities and enhancing efforts to improve LGBTQ health are necessary to ensure that LGBTQ individuals can lead long, healthy lives.   

Importance of LGBTQ Gynecological Care 

If you have a vagina, cervix, or breast tissue, it is important to make regular visits to a gynecologist-regardless of your gender or sexuality.  Your gynecologist can provide cancer screening, sexual health check-ups, and safer sex advice.  Unfortunately, finding adequate medical care is a huge issue for those in the LBGTQ community.   

If you currently have a gynecologist with whom you feel comfortable, coming out to them is an important step to being healthy.  Being open about your sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity means that your provider will be able to offer care that is personalized and relevant to you.  Bring a friend for support if you want to.  Tell your healthcare provider your pronouns and the names you prefer that they use for your body parts.  They should respect this and start to use your preferred terms.   

If your gynecologist is not understanding or you don’t feel comfortable with them, find a new one.  There are several ways to find a provider with whom you connect.  To start, ask people you trust for recommendations.  Friends, local support organizations, and online forums are all good sources for this information.  You might want to ask another healthcare provider with whom you had a good experience.   

Health Care Resources for the LGBTQ Community 

There are many more organizations working at a local level:   

Remember, your health is important.  When you visit your healthcare provider, you deserve to be addressed with the correct name and gender, and treated with respect and dignity – both by your physician and by the other staff.  

Author
Valerie Ramsay, CNM Valerie Ramsay, CNM, is a board-certified nurse midwife at Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology in Maitland and Oviedo, Florida. She is proud to empower women and encourage them to be active participants in their own healthcare. She is extremely excited to be a part of the Premier OB-GYN family. Valerie graduated from Valencia College in Orlando with her associate degree in nursing, where she earned an award for the highest overall GPA. Valerie then pursued her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Polk State College in Winter Haven, Florida, where she earned cum laude honors. She received her master’s degree in nurse-midwifery from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio in 2019. Valerie has worked as a nurse in the obstetric field for the past 15 years and considers it her passion and personal calling. She chose to pursue midwifery because she felt a deep passion to care for women and their families. Valerie is happily married and is the proud mother of two beautiful children, Paige and Jacob.

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