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. What's more, LGBTQ people—particularly gay and bisexual men, transgender women and LGBTQ people of color—are disproportionately impacted by HIV.
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. Recent efforts to permit healthcare providers to refuse to provide care to LGBTQ patients threatens their ability to access the care they need. These experiences have a cumulative effect: research finds that LGBTQ people have lower overall health as a result of these barriers.
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 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.
HIV criminalization laws criminalize the transmission of, or perceived exposure to, HIV and other infectious diseases. The laws create a strong disincentive for being tested for HIV, and result in adverse public health outcomes. Some laws also criminalize behaviors, such as spitting, that have no risk of HIV transmission.
May 2022 - This blog post provides a 2022 overview of legislative efforts across the country that seek to ban health care for transgender youth.
February 2022 - This infographics presents the current patchwork of nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people that exists in housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and health care.
December 2021 - This report presents 2021 analysis of a nationally representative survey that finds LGBTQ people continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
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.
December 2020 - This report presents new analysis of a nationally representative survey that finds LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
November 2020 - This brief highlights 10 actions the Biden administration can immediately start to ensure LGBTQ people and their families can be protected from discrimination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 2017 - Nuevo infográfico en español: población bisexual en los Estados Unidos.
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.
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.
February 2016 - Pervasive stigma and discrimination, biased enforcement of laws, and discriminatory policing strategies mean that LGBT people are disproportionately likely to interact with law enforcement and to have their lives criminalized. LGBT people are also treated unfairly once they enter the system; this report shows how they are overrepresented in jails and prisons and face abuse while incarcerated.
February 2016 - Created by the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress, this video gives a short overview of the issues raised in the report Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People.
February 2016 - From the pages of Unjust come a set of infographics, including: 'Disproportionate Criminalization Of LGBT People,' 'Life After Conviction: LGBT People Face Added Challenges To Rebuilding Their Lives,' 'Understanding The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA),' and more.