LGBTQ Health Resources

 In Montgomery County, it is our goal to improve the health, safety, and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals/identities. We know that the LGBTQ community is a thriving group that has unique health needs that must be addressed. According to the Welcoming Project, estimates from 2011 indicate that over 9 million American adults identify as LGBTQ. They represent diverse ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religious convictions, and belief systems, as do their allies.

As the local health department, we applaud the revisions made to policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which have included explicit provisions to protect LGBTQ persons seeking healthcare. We view this as a step towards reducing health disparities and encouraging an improved overall health status for our country. It is recognized that the fear of discrimination causes many LGBTQ people to avoid addressing their health needs, and when they have entered care, studies indicate that LGBTQ people are not consistently treated with the respect that all patients deserve. 

At the local level, we strive to lead our public health partners to embrace the “All Are Welcome" message and show our community that we support everyone, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. Our goal is twofold in that we want to empower all individuals to know their health status including potential risks they face within their population; we also want the community to know what programs and services are available to guide better health outcomes. To assist the broader healthcare system, Healthy People 2020 has acknowledged that we must provide specific attention to a number of health disparities, including:

LGBT youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide
LGBT youth are more likely to be homeless
Lesbians are less likely to get preventive services for cancer
Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other STDs, especially among communities of color
Lesbians and bisexual females are more likely to be overweight or obese
Transgender individuals have a high prevalence of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicide and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals
Elderly LGBT individuals face additional barriers to health because of isolation and a lack of social services and culturally competent providers
LGBT populations have the highest rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use

Given this important health profile, we strive to be an equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming organization and we ask our public health partners to do their part to help close the gaps and safeguard comprehensive and inclusive healthcare for all.
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