Despite the advancements the American health care system has made to increase access, there still remains the prominent issue of healthcare avoidance. Specifically, the sexual and gender minority (SGM) population remains incredibly vulnerable. This is due to the stigma that those who are not visibly or socially presenting themselves as gender confirming or hetero-normative; they may be denied access to healthcare or may face discrimination in pursuit of proper health care. Current research aims at identifying potential deterrents to receiving health care amongst an emerging and increasing population. Data was collected through an online-survey and distributed through Reddit threads in which participants could respond anonymously to questions regarding SGM issues, but more specifically healthcare avoidance and fear of discrimination. A total of 1316 respondents composed the sample size in this SGM study. Measured variables in this study included: age, education, income, gender, sex assigned at birth, partner status, race, ACES score, and overall healthcare avoidance. Within this study, it was found that ACE scores, gender minority status, income, and fear of discrimination were positively correlated. The results were statistically significant (p < 0.005). The dilemma of health care avoidance among the SGM population is not only evident in research, but also in practice. This community faces some of the highest rates of discrimination inherently and is one of the groups with the largest needs for timely and efficient health care regardless of their sexual preferences or gender expression. It is a primary objective of health care to help those in need, and that includes those who may not be visually conforming or fall within heteronormativity. Further research should be conducted to be more representative of the population, as well as help in reducing further discrimination or fear of discrimination in clinical settings.
Jonathan Mosko, PhD, MSEd
BS - Psychology
Cruz, Orlando; Diaz, Brooke; and Fernandez, Imani, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Health Discrimination & Avoidance Among the SGM Population" (2023). Student Research Design & Innovation Symposium. 84.