Societal issues have been long known to influence the state of health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. These people are affected by various negative attitudes which lead to complicated health issues. Discrimination and societal stigma cause problems with physical, as well as mental health in LGBT people. They often have psychiatric disorders, there is a high tendency towards suicides among them, and they suffer from substance abuse more frequently than people with traditional sexual orientation. Due to the peculiarities of the LGBT people’s personal life, they might experience limited support and restricted access to medical services. These factors negatively impact the LGBT community’s health.
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Stigma is considered to have the most powerful effect on LGBT people. They are victimized at different levels of social life communication (school, workplace, or home), LGBT.1 Victimization causes significant adverse outcomes. LGBT people acquire high levels of psychological anxiety which negatively impacts their health. The research has shown that suicide attempts are much higher among gay, lesbian, and bisexual people than among heterosexual citizens.1 Stigma varies from minor forms like anti-gay humor to major forms like physical offense. Any of these forms may present harsh societal pressure.
Another societal factor which is close to stigma but still different from it is discrimination. Although these two factors have similar outcomes, the effects of discrimination may be more dangerous. LGBT people feel it when they are receiving medical treatment.1 They remark that if a medical worker is homophobic, it may influence the treatment methods and results. Such fear often is a reason why LGBT people are reluctant to apply to hospitals for care, which may lead to dramatic health damage.1
Apart from victimizing factors impacting the LGBT people’s health, there is also danger presented by the legislation system. The stress levels can be caused by the barriers to government recognition. Advocates of LGBT rights have difficulty framing their endeavors.2 The most common problems concerned with legislation are caused by the LGBT people’s inability to get married in most countries of the world. Additionally, they are often forbidden to adopt children. These restrictions negatively impact people’s lives, again causing constant stress risks.2 To prevent this societal issue’s damage presented to LGBT community, governments should implement changes which would allow these people to feel equal with the heterosexuals. This way, their life satisfaction will be higher, and health risks will be reduced.
Finally, there is a crucial factor of unequal access to health services for LGBT people. World Health Organization (WHO) fails to meet all the needs of these people regarding access to health facilities.3 While special normative acts have been created to improve the situation, WHO remains impartial in any cases. The need for LGBT people’s access to proper medical care is explained by the high disposition to some risks (psychological disorders, HIV/AIDS, suicides).3 Thus, equal access to medical care is another crucial factor in treating LGBT community.
While societal factors impacting the LGBT people’s health are various, they all have the similar outcome: the lives of these people are put under a lot of pressure. Physical and mental health disorders, tendency to suicides, constant depression, and high stress levels are caused by the society’s reaction to LGBT community. The society should reduce the negative factors deteriorating the lives of LGBT people. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, and it is of particular importance to sustain the health of the community.
Kelleher C. Minority stress and health: implications for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Counselling Psychol Quart. 2009;22(4):373-379.
Mertus J. The rejection of human rights framings: the case of LGBT advocacy in the US. Human Research Quart. 2007;29(4):1036-1064.
Duvivier RJ, Wiley E. WHO and the health of LGBT individuals. The Lancet. 2009;385:1070-1071.