Derek MacMath MD, Kevin Jiang BS, Navya Kumar BA, Mai-Anh
Tran Ngoc DO MS, Lou Weaver BA, Timothy Singer MD MS
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer
(LGBTQ+) individuals have limited access to culturally
competent healthcare in Texas because of discrimination
they face on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or
gender identity.1 Barriers to care are a key driver of health
disparities across queer populations in Texas and throughout
the United States. An alarming 26% of LGBTQ+ Texans lack health insurance, compared with 17.7% of adults statewide, leading to high costs and deferrals of care.1,2,3 LGBTQ+ Texans suffer higher rates of chronic disease, psychosocial vulnerability, and worse overall outcomes. 4,5,6 Throughout Texas, most
healthcare providers lack the training to effectively care for the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ population. Finally, discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community remains prevalent in many aspects of life for LGBTQ+ Texans, contributing negatively to their health and wellness. In the 2021 legislative session, the Texas Legislature can help ensure more equitable and affirming
care for LGBTQ+ Texans. This policy statement, written by physicians and LGBTQ+ health advocates in Texas, outlines key measures that should be taken.
In Section I of this brief, we discuss the health disparities that LGBTQ+ Texans experience every day and propose policy measures to address them in the Texas Legislature. We review chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease as well as substance abuse, mental health, access to reproductive and sexual healthcare, and advances in the care of transgender patients. In Section II, we discuss the importance of cultural competency for healthcare providers as well as privacy and protections for patients and providers. Finally in Section III, we examine LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination more broadly in areas such as health insurance, housing, employment, public accommodations, school, and incarceration as these areas greatly influence the health of LGBTQ+ Texans.