LGBTQI+ and medicine

lgbt

(Yoav Hornung, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Maryum Tayyab, a 3rd year MBBS student from Aziz Fatimah medical and dental college, Faisalabad, Pakistan. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Moderation, equality, and a sense of responsibility, goes above all of societies inflicted boundaries.

In addition to discrimination, many LGBT people are refused services outright because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are often denied counselling or therapy, denied treatment, checkup, provision of medication or various medical procedures.
LGBT youth are at a higher risk for substance use, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), cancers, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, bullying, isolation, rejection, anxiety, depression, and suicide as compared to the general population.  The community is suffering due to stigma, lack of healthcare providers’ awareness, and insensitivity to the unique needs of this community. LGBT youth face a fear of coming out and discrimination because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression There is a greater incidence of depression, anxiety and suicidal incidences among this community.

Regardless of a person’s background, he should be given proper healthcare and provision of healthcare resources. Healthcare is an essential issue and every person has this right to be equally treated. It is the physician’s responsibility to ensure healthcare, equally to every patient that seeks it.  Young LGBT individuals find it difficult to report their sexual identity to their clinicians. Some clinicians are not well trained in addressing the concerns of members of this community.

We need to train physician appropriately to deal everyone the same way and ensure no healthcare disparity

Additionally, LBGT youth also face difficulties with acceptance into established LGBT communities. As a result, they tend to resort to unhealthy habits observed in some of these communities, and often face interpersonal violence

Physicians should be culturally sensitive to meet the needs of LGBT youth. They should be trained adequately to provide nurturing, open communication, and empathic care to this population, in a respectful and nonjudgmental manner. There is also a need for more research to address the concerns of LGBT youth, including physical and mental well-being, social welfare, and employment opportunities.

Although clinicians may self-report that they are familiar with LGBT health issues, gaps in practice and knowledge indicate the need for more training, especially in transgender health and in talking to patients about sexual orientation and gender identity. Healthcare organizations also need support in ensuring that their organizations create inclusive environments by educating staff and leadership on nondiscrimination policies.

We need to break down healthcare barriers for this community Many people do not tell their doctors about their sexual orientation, because they don’t want discrimination to affect the quality of health care they receive. This can make it harder to have a comfortable relationship with your provider.

Fear of having a negative experience with a health care provider can lead some people to delay or avoid medical care, especially routine care such as early detection tests. Missing routine cancer screenings can lead to the disease being diagnosed at a later stage, when it’s harder to treat.

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

About the author

Maryum Tayyab is a 3rd year MBBS student fro Aziz Fatimah medical and dental college, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

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