The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) populations worldwide experience various forms of discrimination, causing their poor health outcomes. Some of the health disparities among the LGBTQ community are higher rates of mental health problems, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and substance abuse and use (Baptiste-Roberts et al. 72). Although there has been rapid progress in the inclusion of the LGBTQ people, they continue to face many health disparities, hence their poor health outcomes across the world.
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In many parts of the world, the LGBTQ populations are more affected by HIV, and this social minority makes up the highest percentage of the total STIs, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Moreover, substance use and abuse are more prevalent in the LGBTQ community than their heterosexual counterparts. For example, over 20.5% of this population smoke compared to 15.2% of the non-LGBTQ, which explains the higher risk of lung cancer, stroke, and coronary heart disease (Hafeez et al. 3). Lastly, these sexually diverse populations experience higher rates of mental health issues. These problems stem from peer victimization and family rejection, which causes depression and suicidal risks.
In recent years, there has been rapid progress among society in terms of ensuring that the LGBTQ population secures their fundamental rights of belonging to the community. For example, 16 states in the United States, including Washington, D.C., now do not discriminate the LGBTQ and instead give them equal rights and treatment as the rest of the population (Hafeez et al. 4). Non-discrimination policies have been developed aimed at increasing public positive views about LGBTQ. Moreover, in South Africa and many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, parliamentary committees have been formed to advocate for the issues of the sexually diverse populations. The recognition has enabled the LGBTQ people to access the fundamental rights and opportunities, as heterosexual couples do (Baptiste-Roberts et al. 76). However, despite these significant developments, the LGBTQ communities continue to experience adverse health outcomes.
Due to the health disparities among the LGBTQ community, there is a need for future public health practice and clinical care to consider addressing these issues. One of the ways to approach the issue is by developing a healthy equity promotion model. The first step of this framework should be examining the risks that influence the LGBTQ people to help reveal their health across their course of life. From there, the model will integrate the perspective of life course development to address how health-promoting and adverse pathways intersect with structural, individual, and environmental contexts and social positions. Another way is to develop an inclusive policy that will address LGBTQ’s public health and welfare issues. Baptiste-Roberts et al. argue that this strategy will work well if involved in developing such policies through public participation (77). These considerations can help improve the wellbeing of the LGBTQ population and reduce or eliminate their health disparities.
Future research and practice need to address how early life stressors are related to the adverse health outcomes and significant deterioration of health in adulthood and old age among the LGBTQ community. Additionally, healthcare education programs need to increase their attention on the existence of the LGBTQ population. The recognition will enable future healthcare and social service professionals to participate in the improvement of the health of this social minority and make them feel a part of society. Therefore, there is a need for an improved public health promotion discourse to eradicate the health disparities present in these sexually diverse populations.
In conclusion, the LGBTQ community is among the historically disadvantaged populations, which explains their health disparities. Although there has been increased attention towards improving their health, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people continue to experience adverse health outcomes in recent times. Most states in the United States and across the world have formulated policies to eliminate the existing social exclusions of the LGBTQ community. Future public health and clinical care should consider the recommendations mentioned above. There is also a need to acknowledge how stressors in early life are related to adverse health outcomes in adulthood and old age in order to devise practical LGBTQ health promotion models.
Baptiste-Roberts, Kesha, et al. “Addressing Health Care Disparities among Sexual Minorities.” Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, vol. 44, no. 1, 2017, pp. 71-80.
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Hafeez, Hudaisa, et al. “Health Care Disparities among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: A Literature Review.” Cureus, vol. 9, no. 4, 2017, pp. 1-7.