NYS Division of Human Rights educates community on LGBTQ+ health care rights

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:31 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- The New York State Division of Human Rights partnered with the NYS Department of Health, New Pride Agenda and Capital Region Pride Center for a special webinar Wednesday, June 22 -- informing the community on LGBTQ+ rights in health care.

Although New York state law prohibits health care providers from discriminating against patients based on sexual orientation and gender identity, executive director Elisa Crespo of the New Pride Agenda said that is not always the case.

“Our struggles, the healthcare concerns that we have are sometimes exacerbated because of the discrimination we face on a daily basis,” said Crespo.

New Pride Agenda’s Program Manager Kei Williams said often times, it is difficult for the LGBTQ+ community to navigate the health care system due to being refused services based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Williams said being misgendered and using incorrect names or pronouns can also discourage people from seeking out care.

“All those things that seem to be small to people may lead to a bigger problem. I think about 22% or a quarter of trans people actually reported avoiding getting medical care altogether,” said Williams.

Sue Johnson, who is a medical provider at Whitney Young Health, said in order to provide LGBTQ+ patients with adequate health care -- medical staff need to take accountability and educate both themselves and their employees.

“Anybody that patient interacts with, they have to be culturally competent,” said Johnson. ”They have to to use the correct pronouns and treat the patient with respect. The patient should not be educating staff.”