Efforts to End LBGT+ Clinical Bias Continue in California

There are approximately 110 million visits to the emergency room annually, but studies reveal that members of the LGBT+ community are still experiencing bias in clinical situations.

The large number of those in the LGBT+ community who continue to experience discrimination during medical appointments underscores an urgent need for a shift in attitudes and more behavioral health specialists working in primary care clinics.

HRSA public health analyst Kim Patton said that providing primary and behavioral health services in one setting not only improves patient outcomes, it’s also more cost-efficient.

Called together by HRSA’s Denver and San Francisco regional offices, speakers addressed the “Behavioral Health Needs of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Patients.”

These patients, who are almost three times more likely to suffer major depression and anxiety disorders from fear of “coming out,” are in need of better mental health services without discrimination.

Repeated studies have shown that the population suffers higher rates of related substance abuse into late life. Yet, “there is a history of medical professionals … refusing care,” said Tricia Smith of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

However, medical care isn’t the only area members of the LGBT+ community are facing struggles.

A measure on the state ballot in November, known as Proposition 60, would require all actors in pornographic films to wear condoms. In addition, if passed, this legislation would also require producers to pay for actors to get tested and vaccinated against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Perhaps most importantly, the law would allow anyone — in or outside the state — to sue a porn producer for failing to comply with the law if California’s Occupational Safety and Health Department doesn’t act on the complaint within 21 days.

While this would be a landmark decision for those susceptible to contracting HIV, especially those LGBT+ actors, similar pieces of legislation have prompted porn producers to take their business elsewhere.

“There is every indication that when faced with regulations and penalties, the industry either ignores them or moves out of county lines,” said Phil Curtis, director of government affairs for APLA Health, which opposes the upcoming statewide measure.

Curtis, and other individuals who oppose the ballot measure, know that losing the adult film industry means losing millions of dollars in tax revenue for California.

However, roughly 55% of the state’s population is in favor of the proposed ballot measure.

If passed, this measure would bring members of the LGBT+ community, as well as those actors and actresses in adult films, much needed safety and preventative health measures.

The next step is educating health care staffs and making the nation’s clinics “judgment-free zones,” said Tricia Smith of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

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