March 8 – 14 is the Seventh Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week sponsored by the National Coalition for LGBT Health. Here are some things to think about as we ponder the impact of being a sexual minority on receiving healthcare.
Fearing the reaction of a new doctor when you tell him or her that you’re not straight
Doctor: Are you sexually active?
Doctor: Are you using birth control?
Doctor: Oh, are you trying to get pregnant?
Doctor: You DO know how people get pregnant, right?
You: Yes (now, wait while the doctor figures it out)
Explaining that your children don’t have a dad/mom
Fighting to be allowed to make decision for your same-sex partner’s health care when you’ve known the most about his/her health care for over 10 years.
Not being able to access your partner’s health insurance for yourself or your children.
Having to ask for a prostate exam for transgender women or a pap smear for transgender men
Being reminded of the rights you don’t have every time you have to check one of the following boxes: Married, Single, Divorced, Widowed
Now compound that for being a young person trying to access health care. (Add extra “challenge points” for living in poverty, being a person of color, having a disability, not having health insurance, etc)