By: Stuti Desai, Contributing Writer
Edited by: Fauzia Haque, Editor; Eve Nevelos, Editor in Chief
Recently, news articles have been cropping up about anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the US, which is not new, but nonetheless devastating for many LGBTQ+ individuals. On top of this are the challenges many have already faced due to the pandemic, as well as the often limited access to healthcare many marginalized groups have.
However, hope is nowhere near lost. GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association) is an international organization with professionally-tailored resources and information for LGBTQ+ healthcare. GLMA is an internationally-acclaimed organization, recognized for their papers and studies on LGBTQ+ issues, as well as their unhesitant voice on political issues that may impact LGBTQ+ individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites them as a resource for LGBTQ+ youth on their page, which includes a variety of other references!
Find a Provider
The feature they are best known for is their international database of LGBTQ+ safe healthcare providers. They have everything from primary care providers to specialists and dentists. They let web users filter their searches from zip code down to the language and age focus of a provider. They can also search based on financial matters, such as insurance. GLMA creates an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ patients by directing them to safe providers, some of whom are LGBTQ+ and out themselves.
This feature is incredibly useful for LGBTQ+ people who would like support in their healthcare community or a provider that is more likely to understand and be knowledgeable about their identity and the steps they can take to care for themselves as LGBTQ+ individuals. Should a LGBTQ+ patient choose to be out to a healthcare provider for any reason, having a pro-LGBTQ+ provider can have many benefits, including the fact that they may be able to provide support or find a support system for the patient, especially for patients in their youth.
These results also help filter for gender-affirming surgeries and knowledgeable providers would likely be able to give tips on actions such as binding, as suited to a patient’s individual needs.
It is important to make a quick note that healthcare professionals are entered in on a sign-up basis, so if you know a professional who is LGBTQ+ safe, ask them to create a listing to make themselves accessible to LGBTQ+ patients who may want a safe space!
On a similar front, they also have a Healthcare Equality Index that they launched with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a national basis for evaluating healthcare practices in various clinics for their inclusiveness in policies for LGBTQ+ patients. Facilities can register themselves for this too to ensure that they remain safe and inclusive. This is an option open to all facilities that want to become a better place for LGBTQ+ individuals. .
GLMA has been a longtime advocate of LGBTQ+ positive laws and has fought for advocacy in the past, including their Lesbian Health Fund, which raises money to help sexual minority women (SMW) and their families with research. They conduct research and work to educate healthcare providers to create safe spaces and better options for these women.
They have a good selection of healthcare advice, much of it having to do with sexual health, which will begin to be applicable for many teenagers. Since LGBTQ+ sexual education is dubious at best in schools, it may be something that an individual who is comfortable would like to look into with a healthcare provider they can trust to give them proper resources. Some of those resources are topics that everyone, regardless of sexual identity or gender orientation, should be discussing with their healthcare providers, such as cancer screenings.
Resources for healthcare providers who wish to educate themselves are also available to be more accommodating to LGBTQ+ patients as well, including published studies covering information about various issues, like drug risks for LGBTQ+ and other health issues, outlined through the papers.
As a questioning teen, these providers are people that would be beneficial to contact in order to learn more about what it is to be an LGBTQ+ individual. GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality is an invaluable resource for LGTQ+ individuals.
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