Addressing LGBTQ Barriers to Healthcare

Barriers to care for LGBTQ communities have a great impact on an individual’s overall wellbeing. The American Psychological Association has defined the term ‘minority stress’ to describe a person experiencing a weight against their own self worth and in their social environment. Data shows that LGBTQ youth are 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide and are more likely to be homeless. Data also shows that lesbians are less likely to seek preventative services for cancer, gay men are at a higher risk of HIV and other STDs and, elderly LGBTQ individuals face many barriers to health due to isolation and a lack of social services.[1]
The barrier we want to learn more about and have an engaging conversation around is EHR and SOGI data collection. Gina Sequeira et al’s study demonstrates that using gender-affirming language, including name and pronouns in EHRs, is associated with improved mental health outcomes in transgender youth.[2] The binary fields for “sex” are unsatisfactory as they lack the routine mechanism to address “gender”, which then results in data gaps like the insufficient ability to account for non binary individuals.[3]

In the image: ‘Notes from the Attic: Gender Identity, Mental Health and the Indian Nation State’ Cover

At ARW, we are dedicated to learning about ways in which we could support the LGBTQ community to help reduce these barriers to healthcare and create a safe space for honest, educational conversations. ARW proudly supports ‘Notes from the Attic – Gender Identity, Mental Health and the Indian Nation State,’ the result of a collaboration between two life changing organizations based in India, which is an explorative study prioritizing the mental health needs and interventions of transgender and gender non-conforming persons.

In the image: COZEVA, Anjali and Pratyay Gender Trust

Anjali is a mental health rights organization focused on establishing mental health within the mainstream health discourse in India and also, achieving systemic change in the mental health field by using frameworks of intersectionality and inclusivity.


Pratyay Gender Trust is a community led initiative that was created as a support space for and members of Calcutta’s transgender identified and other gender non-conforming persons who are facing stigma and violence due to their gender identity and gendered expressions.

1 Healthy Equity Summit. Mini Session, Part 1: Barriers to care for LGBTQ communities: inaccessibility of culturally competent care (American Health Law Association Webinar)
3 Healthy Equity Summit. Mini Session, Part 2: Barriers to care for LGBTQ communities: overcoming low quality and inequitable care (American Health Law Association Webinar)