The American Cancer Society (ACS) took note of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in a posting on its website by reminding readers that Pride Month is not just about colorful parades; it is about remembering and honoring those who fought for equal rights, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
The ACS pointed out barriers that the LGBT community face when seeking health care. Women in the LGBT community have higher rates of breast cancer while not receiving the routine health care and cancer screenings that heterosexual women receive, the posting said. Men in the community have similar issues with routine health care and cancer screenings.
One of the reasons why members of the LGBT community do not receive the same services is the lack of health insurance, the posting said. Until the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal, partners were not offered family health plans through employers or other health insurance plans. Options are now available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for individuals who are not eligible for employer or family coverage.
The fear of discrimination or negative experiences by health providers is also a factor in health disparities. Many people are afraid to tell their doctors of their sexual orientation or gender preference. In addition, unpleasant experiences in the past may make people delay routine care and cancer screenings.
There are LGBT community centers and groups that can assist members of the community with referrals to LGBT-friendly and respectful health care providers, the posting said. The ACS said it encourages people to seek the care they deserve.