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Health Care

LGBTQ people face several barriers to health and wellbeing, including difficulties accessing health insurance, stigma and discrimination, and lack of access to competent and welcoming healthcare providers. LGBTQ people have lower rates of insurance; they are more likely to delay medical care; and they report high levels of discrimination by healthcare providers. Transgender people may struggle to find competent care providers and blanket denials of coverage by insurance companies, despite federal laws and laws in many states prohibiting such discrimination. What’s more, opponents of LGBTQ inclusion are working to permit healthcare providers to turn away LGBTQ patients. These experiences have a cumulative effect: research finds that LGBTQ people have lower overall health as a result of these barriers.  

Related Resources


Healthcare Laws and Policies

Health care laws and policies impact many areas of LGBTQ people's lives, from insurance coverage to protections for LGBTQ youth.


Medical Decision-Making Policies

Medical decision-making policies govern whether an LGBTQ person can make medical decisions for their same-sex partner or spouse, if their partner or spouse is incapacitated or otherwise not able to make their own decisions.


Nursing Home Ad

June 2018 – Nursing Home is the latest in a series of ads illustrating the devastating harms many LGBT Americans face because have they no legal protection from discrimination. The new video features an older gay man and his family on the first day he moves into an assisted living facility. When the director of the facility learns the man is gay, he refuses to allow him to move in. No matter their age, and no matter who they love, no one should be turned away from a business or service provider simply because of who they are.


LGBTQ POLICY SPOTLIGHT: Efforts to Ban Health Care for Transgender Youth

April 2021 - This report provides an overview of the legislative efforts across the country that seek to ban health care for transgender youth and the harmful impacts these bills could have.


Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster

March 2018 - MAP and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a new report, Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster, examining the coordinated efforts at the federal and state level to allow medical providers to legally discriminate and deny needed care. These policies could encourage doctors, hospitals, paramedics, and other medical providers to pick and choose which patients they will treat, and who receives medically-necessary treatment.

Policy Brief

Creating a License to Discriminate: First Amendment Defense Act

Updated March 2018 - To explain why the First Amendment Defense Act is so devastating and should not be re-introduced, this brief provides an analysis of the Senate version of FADA introduced in March 2018 and what it could mean for 10 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, along with millions of others. The brief underscores how vigilant we must be to ensure that a license to discriminate is not written into our laws.


Tipping the scales for religious exemptions to the law

January 2018 - This infographic, produced as part of the Tipping the Scales: The Coordinated Attack on LGBT People, Women, Parents, Children, and Health Care report, outlines the mounting legislation and litigation across the country orchestrated to undermine nondiscrimination protections, comprehensive health care, and the regulations administering social and public services by inserting exemptions into the laws based on religious or moral beliefs.


Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults

May 2017 - There are approximately 2.7 million LGBT adults aged 50 and older in the United States, 1.1 million of whom are 65 and older. This report provides an overview of their unique needs and experiences so that service providers, advocates, the aging network, and policymakers can consider these factors when serving this population or passing laws that impact older adults and the LGBT community.


LGBT Policy Spotlight
HIV Criminalization Laws

December 2016 - This LGBT Policy Spotlight focuses on HIV criminalization laws, which can carry harsh penalties for behaviors now proven to have no risk of transmitting HIV. These laws endanger public health by perpetuating dangerous stigma and misinformation about HIV, creating a strong disincentive for individuals to find out their HIV status, and disproportionately targeting LGBT people.


A Closer Look: Bisexual Transgender People

September 2017 - The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, offers a unique opportunity to examine the lives, experiences, disparities, and resilience of bisexual transgender people. this report analyzes data from the U.S. Transgender Survey, documents disparities for bisexual people and offers recommendations for remedying those disparities.


A Closer Look: Bisexual Older Adults

September 2017 - This report takes a closer look at bisexual older adults: who they are, their unique disparities and resilience, and recommendations for competently serving the community of bisexual older adults. Both the LGBT community and the aging network can and should do more to ensure that bisexual older adults feel welcome both in LGBT spaces and in the aging network’s provision of critical services and supports.


Infografia: La Bisexualidad en Cifras

September 2017 - Nuevo infográfico en español: población bisexual en los Estados Unidos.


Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them

September 2016 - Bisexual people are frequently swept into the greater LGB community, their specific disparities made invisible within data about the whole community. This report focuses on the “invisible majority” of the LGBT community, the nearly five million U.S. adults who identify as bisexual and the millions more who have sexual or romantic attraction to people of more than one gender.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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