At Journi, our commitment to being inclusive is intertwined with our commitment to providing access to care. The two go hand-in-hand. As we add our voice to this year’s conversation around Pride, we don’t want there to be any ambiguity about where we stand, especially when it’s easy to see that there is still discrimination and disparities that exist and hinder LGBTQ+ health today.
The state of queer care in 2021
56 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals have experienced discrimination while seeking medical treatment—whether it be the absence of proper gender designation on medical intake forms or blatant refusal to provide specific and necessary services. In fact, one in four queer people has reported encountering some form of medical discrimination in the last year alone.
This illustrates one of the biggest challenges in the queer community, finding an LGBTQ-friendly doctor, which is difficult in all parts of the country, but especially outside major cities and metro areas.
A recent survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 19 percent of trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals have been refused care outright because of their identity.
The same survey found that more than 50 percent of respondents reported having to explain certain aspects of transgender-specific medical necessities to their health care providers. This knowledge gap keeps many from accessing trans-specific medical procedures like hormone therapy or gender affirmation surgery.
This creates barriers and results in care avoidance
Ultimately, health care avoidance is inevitable when you’re dealing with discrimination. 28 percent of trans and GNC people have postponed medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination and disrespect.
According to a recent survey from the Center for American Progress, LGBTQ+ people of color are more than twice as likely to avoid the doctor’s office than white LGBTQ+ individuals—findings that are consistent with research that has identified patterns of health care discrimination against people of color and disabled people.
Newly accepted ways of accessing care are also poised to be more inclusive
A recent Healthline article highlights the rise of virtual care in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing protocols with a focus on how telehealth options are increasing access to care for millions who have been historically limited.
This includes members of the LGBTQ+ who benefit by being met where they are with access to more providers than their local area, as well as with the emergence of queer-centered digital health platforms (see below).
Journi’s role in supporting queer health needs
Aside from having an inclusive approach to health care on a fundamental level, Journi provides easier, non-discriminatory access through virtual care options as well as concierge services to help find care and providers who are LGBTQ+ friendly.
Our pharmacists, health coaches and nurses are available via the Journi app, which increases access to care from home or any other safe space. Whether it’s finding the best, most cost-effective prescription or evaluating the safety of mixing medications, or developing a plan for building physical and mental resilience, these health professionals are focused on helping our users feel safe and successful in their health events and pursuits.
Journi Care Guides take the time to search for queer-positive and gender-affirming providers. They also go a step further to call providers’ offices to ask directly, "Is your office LGBTQ+ friendly?" before recommending them to a user or scheduling an appointment. This not only reduces the number of discriminatory experiences for users, but it also increases access to providers who are queer-positive but haven't listed themselves on LGBTQ+ online directories (see below).
LGBTQ+ health resources
While this is not an exhaustive list, the following organizations stand out as leaders and pioneers in the queer health care space:
FOLX - The world’s first digital health platform created specifically for LGBTQ+ individuals. As of June 2021, FOLX delivers queer and trans health care in 31 states here in the U.S. They offer telehealth appointments with queer and trans providers, HIV prevention, STI testing/treatment, and skincare.
OutCare – A comprehensive resource for LGBTQ+ health care offering provider and health care resource directories, mentorship, medical education reform, and cultural competency training. Their nationwide directory, OutList, includes 2,000+ providers across 50+ specialties in all 50 states.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – HRC’s Resources for LGBTQ Patients includes reference materials about health care rights, actions to take if you experience health care discrimination, visitation and decision-making rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and their loved ones, coverage information under the Affordable Care Act, resources for trans patients, and a guide for coming out to a doctor or medical professional.
GLMA (formerly, the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association) – A national organization fighting for health equity and equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as queer health professionals. Founded in 1981, GLMA has a robust list of resources for patients, providers and beyond! Here is a link to GLMA’s provider directory.