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Empire State Pride Agenda uncovers startling health disparities among LGBT New Yorkers

NEW YORK – The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, has revealed the most comprehensive report on the health disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in New York City. The report outlines data collected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and is the first to examine how race, ethnicity, gender, poverty and age affect the health of the LGBT communities. Also included in the report are recommendations to right-size the stark imbalances, including the urgent need to collect data on gender identity and expression and in areas outside of New York City.

“The Pride Agenda has long championed equal access to healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers. This groundbreaking report brings into focus the inequalities that our community faces and underscores the importance of our continued advocacy to secure resources to improve the health and well-being of all New Yorkers” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer. “We’re grateful to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for collecting these data that allowed us to analyze the needs of our community and to advocates like the Office of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for the tremendous support throughout the entire process. We hope that steps will be taken to collect information on gender identity and expression so that we can further identify and address the disparities that those who are transgender in our community face.”

“This report is evidence that although the LGBT community has made important advances in recent years, we still have much work to do, particularly when it comes to health disparities,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The imbalances outlined in this report show that we must continue to make our health care system more open and welcoming to all New Yorkers. And to address these issues we must collect better data on gender expression and identity in New York City and beyond. I applaud the Empire State Pride Agenda for producing this important report. We must keep working to identify and correct the causes of health disparities until all New Yorkers have equal access to culturally competent, high-quality health care.”

“Although we have made considerable progress to date in identifying LGBT health disparities, this report provides irrefutable evidence of New York City’s still critical need for resources targeted to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Beth Israel Medical Center Director, LGBT Health Services Barbara E. Warren, Psy.D. “ I look forward to continuing to work with Empire State Pride Agenda and the NYC Department of Health in implementing the report recommendations so that we may ensure that the next generation of LGBT New Yorkers, regardless of age, ethnicity, borough of residence or income, will have access to effective, affirmative and affordable health prevention and care.”

Key findings include:

Safety and Violence:
• Nearly one in five white lesbian and gay students (18.4 percent) have missed school due to “feeling unsafe” in the last 30 days)
• Both male and female students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely to miss school than their heterosexual counterparts, suggesting that both young women and young men may be targets of homophobic bullying
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual students are at greater risk for intimate partner violence and sexual assault when compared to their heterosexual counterparts

Healthy Weight and Physical Activity:
• Gay, lesbian and bisexual young people are at high risk for bulimic symptoms, especially young gay men; one in five have vomited or used laxatives for weight control in the past 30 days
• Black lesbian, gay and bisexual youth have a lower rate of physical activity than their white and heterosexual counterparts
• 35.7 percent of Black LGB adults are obese compared to 10.3 percent of white LGB adults

Mental Health
• In both male and female students, LGB youth are more likely to attempt suicide
• Nearly one quarter (24.4 percent) of Latino LGB people have recently experienced mental distress, nearly double their heterosexual counterparts
• Older LGB adults experience depression almost twice as often than their heterosexual counterparts

Smoking and Asthma
• Almost half (49 percent) of white LGB youth smoke compared to just 17.1 percent of their heterosexual counterparts
• Those who are gay or lesbian adults and in poverty are particularly likely to have an asthma diagnosis (22.8 percent) or a recent attack (12.3 percent)

Access to Care
• LGB adults in poverty are much less likely to access health care than their heterosexual counterparts with similar, limited resources
• 31.2 percent of gay and lesbian people, and 26 percent of bisexual people, in poverty lack health insurance
• Fewer than half of 18-24 year old lesbian and gay women have ever had a pap test, compared with two-thirds of heterosexual women in that age group

The findings of this report have shaped the following recommendations:
• Continue to collect and analyze data on lesbian, gay and bisexual youth and adults
• Collect data on gender identity (transgender/not transgender) on all public surveys
• Continue to implement and evaluate the Dignity for All Students Act to ensure that all students, including LGBT students, never miss school because they are subject to or afraid of violence
• Provide funding for programs that address intimate partner violence and sexual assault prevention for LGBT youth
• Build educational programs addressing eating disorders among young gay and bisexual men
• Provide opportunities for LGBT people of color to exercise and practice healthy eating behaviors in all areas of New York City
• Create access to culturally competent mental health care for black and Latino/a LGBT people, particularly in areas where Black and Latino/a people live, such as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and upper Manhattan
• Provide LGBT-specific services and assure mainstream providers are LGBT friendly in all neighborhoods of New York City

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Disparities report was created using data provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This report is the first to examine how race, ethnicity, gender, poverty and age affect the health of the LGBT community. LGBT equality will not be achieved until the community’s health disparities are eradicated. Additional information about methodology and full report available at: prideagenda.org/healthreport

 



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Posted by Associate Editor on Aug 20, 2013. Filed under Around the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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