The annual observance shines a light on health experiences by LGBTQ+ folk – and uplifts LGBTQ+ providers working to turn the tide.
By Barrett White
“Started 20 years ago by [the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health], this week raises awareness of the unique and important health needs of the LGBTQ communities and coalesces the LGBTQ healthcare community around a variety of education and advocacy events that bring together the LGBTQ, LGBTQ healthcare, and allied communities to raise awareness of LGBTQ health topics.” -National Coalition for LGBTQ Health
The 20th Annual National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week is this week, March 21-25, and the theme is Live Out Loud for LGBTQ Health! The theme encourages LGBTQ folks and their allies to speak openly about LGBTQ health care, holding public space across digital media to discuss and raise awareness of mental health, gender health, and stigma reduction through accessible, affirming, inclusive, and culturally competent healthcare services for LGBTQ individuals.
“As an openly gay man, I am proud to work at an organization that encourages me to be my authentic self, and live every day Out Loud for LGBTQ Health,” says Dr. Robert Hilliard, Jr, CEO of Legacy Community Health.
Dr. Hilliard continues, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to call attention to – and work to change – the experiences of the LGBTQ community in regard to health care. Stigma against people who identify as LGBTQ results in social isolation, economic instability, and other negative determinants of health. Many LGBTQ people lack access to welcoming and knowledgeable healthcare and as a result, LGBTQ people experience a broad array of health disparities including disproportionately high rates of HIV, cancer, and behavioral health issues. These disparities have the deepest impact on LGBTQ people of color.”
One of Legacy’s foremost guiding principles is diversity and inclusion: caring for anyone who walks through our doors, without judgment. Legacy understands that receiving care without judgement can be a challenge, but it shouldn’t prevent you from getting the care you need. Health care is a right – not a privilege – and Legacy is here for you.