Almost half of white lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) youth smoke cigarettes compared to just 17.1 percent of their heterosexual counterparts. Thirty-six percent of black LGB adults are obese compared to 10.3 percent of white LGB adults. Fewer than half of 18-24 year old lesbians have had a pap test, compared with two-thirds of heterosexual women in that age group.
A new report published in August by Empire State Pride Agenda shows the shocking health disparities faced by LGBT people in New York City. Using data collected by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the study is the first to examine how race, ethnicity, gender, poverty and age affect the health of LGBT communities.
The data also confirmed that LGBT students are more likely to miss school due to “feeling unsafe,” and are more at risk for intimate partner violence. In both male and female students, LGB youth are more likely to attempt suicide. Even after reaching adulthood, nearly one quarter of Latino LGB people experience mental distress, which is a rate nearly double that of their heterosexual counterparts. Older LGB adults also experience depression almost twice as often as their heterosexual counterparts.
“Although we have made considerable progress to date in identifying LGBT health disparities, this report provides irrefutable evidence of New York City’s still-critical need for resources targeted to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Beth Israel Medical Center Director, LGBT Health Services Barbara E. Warren, Psy.D.
The report recommends improving health outcomes by collecting more data on gender identity in addition to analyzing findings about LGB New Yorkers, funding programs for culturally competent health care and violence prevention, and enforcing the Dignity for All Students Act to protect LGBT youth in schools.