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Pride Month: Addressing Barriers & Disparities

Jun 03

June is Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, is a time of events and awareness recognizing the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had (and currently have) in the world.

At HealthCore Clinic, Pride Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and focus on health care outcomes and access of the LGBTQIA+ community, for which there have been many barriers in the past. For example, compared to other men, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men have been impacted by higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, tobacco and drug use, and depression. Lesbians have been less likely to get preventive services for cancer. And among transgender men and women, Black people had the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses, followed by Hispanic people.

We are dedicated to addressing these barriers and disparities impacting the LGBTQIA+ community by helping provide education to the general public, being a safe space for all gender identities, and promoting healthcare for all so everyone can get the most out of their health coverage.

Simply put: Love is love. Health is health.

What Is Gender Identity?

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of their gender (e.g., being a man, woman, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming) and potential affiliation with a gender community (e.g., women, trans women, genderqueer). There are several dimensions one may identify with based on gender identity, gender expression, and gender dysphoria.

Preferred Pronouns

Preferred pronouns refer to the set of pronouns that an individual wants others to use in order to reflect that person’s gender identity. A person will often state the subject and object pronouns they prefer such as: “he/him”, “she/her”, or “they/them”—although sometimes, the possessive pronouns are also stated (“she/her/hers”, “he/him/his”, or “they/them/theirs”). The pronouns chosen may include neopronouns such as “ze” and “zir”.

Many people might go by a name in daily life that is different from their legal name. At HealthCore Clinic, we seek to refer to people by the names that they go by. Pronouns can be a way to affirm someone’s gender identity, but they can also be unrelated to a person’s identity. They are simply a public way in which people are referred to in place of their name (e.g. “he” or “she” or “they” or “ze” or something else). We want to use your preferred pronouns, preferred name, and honor your unique identity.

In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to us using pronouns when speaking about us. Often, when speaking of a singular human in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied — such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl. These associations are not always accurate or helpful.

Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name. These assumptions aren’t always correct, and the act of making an assumption (even if correct) sends a potentially harmful message — that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.

Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. Just as it can be offensive or even harassing to make up a nickname for someone and call them that nickname against their will, it can be offensive or harassing to guess at someone’s pronouns and refer to them using those pronouns if that is not how that person wants to be known. Or, worse, actively choosing to ignore the pronouns someone has stated that they go by could imply the oppressive notion that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people do not or should not exist.

When we refer to “personal” pronouns, we don’t mean that these pronouns are necessarily private information (generally they are not), we mean that they are pronouns referring to a unique and individual person.

What Does LGBTQIA+ Stand For?

Unsure of what the letters and symbols of “LGBTQI+ stand for? Here is a list of terms and insight on what they mean:

LBG

The letters “LGB” stand for lesbiangay, and bisexual. These terms mean:

T

The T in “LGBTQIA+” can have several different meanings but typically deals with gender identity. Some words have fallen out of favor or their meanings are slightly different depending on the person.

QIA

“QIA” stands for questioning or queerintersex, and asexual. These terms mean:

+

The plus sign at the end of LGBTQIA+ can include members of other communities, including allies — people who support and rally the LGBTQIA+ cause even though they don’t identify within the community itself. Other identities included in the LGBTQIA+ are:

Other Terms in the LGBTQIA+ Community

In today’s society, people are challenging social norms associated with relationships, sexuality, and gender identity. These people may not be gay, so other terms to describe them were created or popularized.

It’s important to use these and any slang terms you may have heard sensitively. Even when someone outside the LGBTQIA+ community means well, they may unknowingly use one of these words in an offensive way. When in doubt, it’s best to ask someone from the LGBTQIA+ community or check a resource such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) about the use of these or any slang terms.

LGBTQIA+ Discrimination

An alarming result from a recent GLAAD poll shows that LGBTQIA+ people say they’ve experienced discrimination at higher levels than last year, with 6 in 10 LGBTQIA+ respondents reporting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. During a time when state legislatures across the U.S. introduced an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills, many targeting the trans community, the importance of anti-discrimination laws and practices is more important than ever.

LGBTQIA+ Training

We encourage all medical professionals to take the MLN training “Improving Health Care Quality for LGBTQ People”. It is a 1-hour online course covering:

The Safe Zone Project also offers training for businesses and organizations to become a “Safe Zone” like HealthCore Clinic. Safe Zone trainings are opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality, and examine prejudice, assumptions, and privilege.

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, which provides behavioral health professionals with information on supporting the LGBTQIA+ population.

Health Resources

HealthCore Clinic is dedicated to addressing barriers and disparities impacting the LGBTQIA+ community in Wichita, Kansas by promoting healthcare for all so everyone can get the most out of their health coverage.

Medical Care

HealthCore Clinic is unique, improving your overall health with our integrated care approach.

We offer the standard services you can expect from a primary care provider, but also screen for any possible dental or behavioral health needs you may have. We offer prenatal, pediatric, disease management, international, and general care.

Mental Health & Behavioral Health

When your body’s stress response system is activated long-term, you could be at higher risk for a variety of issues, including digestive problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and more.

At HealthCore, our culturally appropriate mental health and substance abuse services are designed to reduce stigma and provide a comfortable and safe environment for the management of anxiety, depression, trauma, and behavioral support for other mental health and medical diagnoses.

Dental Care

We believe the best dental care considers not only the mouth but the whole body.

As an integrated health clinic, HealthCore helps patients get a comprehensive picture of their overall health. Our dental services include everything from exams, cleanings, fillings, and crowns to root canals and oral cancer screenings.

Coverage to Care

Coverage to Care (C2C) is an initiative, developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to help you understand your health coverage and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for you, so you can live a long and healthy life.

An important part of the Coverage to Care (C2C) journey is prevention. C2C has assembled resources focused on prevention and healthy living in multiple languages to help.

Stop Bullying

When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time.

Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, nonbinary or otherwise gender non-conforming (LGBTQI+) youth and those perceived as LGBTQI+ are at an increased risk of being bullied.

Results from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that, nationwide, more U.S. high school students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) report having been bullied on school property (32%) and cyberbullied (26.6%) in the past year than their straight peers (17.1% and 14.1%, respectively). The study also showed that more LGB students (13.5%) than straight students (7.5%) reported not going to school because of safety concerns. Students who identified as “not sure” of their sexual orientation also reported being bullied on school property (26.9%), being cyberbullied (19.4%), and not going to school because of safety concerns (15.5%).

There are important and unique considerations for strategies to prevent and address bullying of LGBTQI+ youth. While some strategies are specifically for LGBTQI+ youth, most, if adopted by schools and communities, make environments safer for all students.

Visit StopBullying.gov/bullying/lgbtq to learn more.