By Barrett White
LGBTQ+ individuals are members of every race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status. Health care ought to reflect that.
Outside of celebrating Pride Month each year in June, we look back on the history of the LGBTQ+ community through the month of October, anchored by National Coming Out Day on October 11. Historically, navigating the health care space has been no easy feat for LGBTQ+ individuals: In fact, when Legacy Community Health was first founded as Montrose Clinic in the late 1970s, it was specifically to fill the need for nonjudgmental health care for gay men in Houston.
Though health care has come a long way since then, there are still myriad concerns for the LGBTQ+ community that health care providers must take into consideration. LGBTQ+ individuals are represented in every community – all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the United States. Per CDC recommendation, “the perspectives and needs of LGBTQ+ people should be routinely considered in public health efforts to improve the overall health of every person and eliminate health disparities.”
Culturally competent medical care and prevention services that are crafted with the LGBTQ+ community in mind are also necessary. The CDC continues, “Social inequality is often associated with poorer health status, and sexual orientation has been associated with multiple health threats. Members of the LGBT community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers.”
While differences in behavior may account for some of these disparities, others are associated with social and structural inequities, such as the stigma and discrimination that LGBTQ+ individuals experience.
Given Legacy’s roots, we have the range of experience and expertise to bring health, hope, and peace of mind to our LGBTQ+ patients, regardless of what issues they may be facing. Our comprehensive services include:
- HIV/STD screening and prevention – available to anyone who asks, with a choice between confidential or anonymous testing
- HIV/AIDS treatment – primary health care, as well as vision, case management, medication adherence counseling, educational workshops, financial assistance, and wellness services
- Transgender specialty care – including individual and family therapy; psychiatric evaluation and consultation prior to and during hormone replacement therapy or gender affirmation surgery; and psychiatric care for gender non-conforming patients – Click here for more information
- Vision tests – for HIV patients at our Frost Eye Clinic, which is supported by the Ryan White Care Act
- Social services – assisting transgender patients, including resource linkage, for areas such as school advocacy, housing, financial, employment, and legal needs
- Body Positive Wellness Center – working with patients on the best methods for working out and building muscles
Legacy provides these services to anyone in the community regardless of their ability to pay and offer it in a safe, judgment-free, patient-centered environment that is designed to reduce apprehension, enhance comfort, and promote personalized attention.
Our LGBTQ+ services are just part of Legacy’s commitment to bring comprehensive wrap-around care to all of our neighbors and to open our doors, our arms, and our hearts to all the patients we serve.
If you have any questions about our LGBTQ+ services or if you are interested in learning more about these services, please visit us online or reach out to our Public Health team at (832) 548-5221.