Introduction: LGBT ??
LGBT is the short form for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Lesbian, gay and Bisexual refers to sexual orientation. If you are thinking what is sexual orientation then it is defined as an often enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions of men to women or women to men termed as heterosexual, of women to women or men to men also termed as homosexual, or by men or women to both the sexes termed as bisexual.
Lesbian refers to women who are homosexual, gay refers mainly to a man who is homosexual, Bisexual refers to people who have sexual and romantic feeling for both the genders. The term Transgender which means gender non-conforming and is used as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
From the last decade, there have been so much done about LGBT rights, their equality, employment, and marriages. Many countries are making the marriage of Gay couple legal and so on, but no one gives emphasis on the health of the LGBT community. There are many studies that show that lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of breast cancer than heterosexual women. Similarly, gay and bisexual men face barriers to getting routine health care and cancer screening tests they need.
LGBT individuals are those that do not identify as part of heteronormative society. Heteronormativity is the belief that everything is tied to normalizing societal expectations into heterosexual relationships and traditional gender roles. Health disparities seen in LGBT are mainly caused by stigma, discrimination and also ignorance. These people face health care risks that are often not addressed because of lack of knowledge of the patient’s sexual orientation, ignorance of specific health care issues, or because the patient feels that the health care professional is homophobic. Apart all these, low rates of health insurance, negative experiences with health care providers are also the cause of disparity in health-seeking behavior. LGBT youth struggle with significant health care issues, in terms of increased disease prevalence as well as the lack of appropriate physicians’ training and health care disparities.
Many types of research have shown that LGBT people have higher rates of mental health challenges than that of the general population. LGBT youth are about three to four times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers. Mental health issues can include depression and mood disorders, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. There is also a risk of alcohol use and abuse and risky behaviors (such as unprotected sex). Much of this is due to the stigma associated with being LGBTQ. LGBTQ teens and young adults fear not being accepted by family, friends, teachers, co-workers, their religious community, and the community overall.
Major health issues of LGBT
- Physical health issues like cancer heart diseases
- Depression and suicide
- Substance misuse
- Antigay violence
- Sexual health causing STDs
In the past decade lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT, people have made rapid progress in winning and securing equal rights in many countries. Despite this progress, however, members of the LGBT population continue to experience worse health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts. We can do something to end the distance between the health needs and the approach of the LGBT community by doing our bit from all the sides. From the government side providing health insurance to the LGBT community can be a good way to improve the health of people. More comprehensive data on LGBT will help in knowing the health problems and can be worked properly.
Last but not least, whether you are gay or straight, you can help reduce homophobia, stigma, and discrimination in your community and decrease the associated negative health effects. Even small things can make a difference, such as accepting and supporting a family member, friend, or co-worker.
- Lee R. Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. West J Med. 2000;172(6):403–408. doi:10.1136/ewjm.172.6.403
- Gibson P. Gay male and lesbian youth suicide. In: Remafedi G, ed. Death by Denial: Studies of Suicide in Gay and Lesbian Teens. Boston: Alyson Publications; 1994: 15-88.