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Health Equality in Healthcare

May 30,2023

Health equity is important in healthcare because it means increasing opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who we are, where we live, or our financial situation. 

In healthcare, equality means treating all patients the same way. This means from the doctor explaining healthcare options to being treated with respect when registering at the desk.

Sometimes there are barriers to healthcare equality which can include unconscious bias, not receiving the same care due to scarce medical resources, or treating patients according to their unique needs.

Fibroid Fighters recognizes that improving outcomes for patients include promoting awareness about health equality and supporting populations that may not have the healthcare resources they deserve. Aiming at health equality can help improve patients who face medical discrimination, including gay and transgender people.

The Importance of Pride Month

Every June, LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated to honor the Stonewall Uprising, which marked the turning point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.. The Stonewall Uprisings catalyzed the LGBTQ+ rights movement and ignited a newfound sense of unity and activism within the community. It inspired the formation of numerous gay rights organizations and advocacy groups across the United States, which sought to fight against discrimination and advocate for equal rights.

The anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings is now used as a time to reflect on the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and to celebrate the progress. Pride Month is celebrated worldwide and recognizes the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history.

So, what does LGBTQIA+ mean?

In 2009, “there were only four letters commonly used to group various sexual and gender minorities: L, G, B, and T.”2 They stood for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Since 2009, the letters have become more of an alphabet, now LGBTQIA+. It leads many people to wonder just what those letters mean. 

The ABCs of LGBTQIA+

  • Lesbian and Gay – regularly grouped together, lesbian and gay people are people who are attracted to people  of the same gender
  • Bisexual – when a person finds both men and women physically, sexually, or emotionally appealing
  • Transgender – someone whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex given to them at birth
  • Queer – a catch-all word for those who are not straight or cisgender
  • Intersex – individuals whose biology, as according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies”
  • Asexual – someone who does not feel sexually attracted to anyone. There is actually a spectrum of asexuality, including demisexual and grey sexual, which you can read more about here.
  • + – the plus sign stands for those individuals who do not want to be put in a box, or those who are unsure of how they identify, and “a denotation of everything on the gender and sexuality spectrum that letters and words can’t yet describe.”

Why Does It Matter to Fibroid Fighters?

Due to the LGBTQIA+ community often facing discrimination by the medical field, they may not get the same opportunities as a cis-heterosexual person. For example, numerous people lost their lives during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 80s. The crisis was so severe it decimated the populations of creative industries. HIV/AIDS was characterized as a “gay” disease. Because of historically negative attitudes about people in the queer community, some cruelly believed it was a type of divine judgment. People suffering from this disease were treated as social pariahs because of the erroneous characterization and lack of understanding of the disease and its transmission. This health crisis highlighted the incredible discrimination people of the LGBTQIA+ faced during that time. It was a catalyst for the fight for equity in healthcare.

The fact of the matter is this: transgender men can have a uterus. Non-binary individuals can have a uterus. Not all women have a uterus. However, uterine fibroids are a unifying factor among people who have uteruses.  

What People With Uterus Need to Know About Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are compact tumors of smooth muscle cells and fibroid connective tissue, ranging from as small as a seed to as large as a melon. They can appear if you have a uterus for them to grow in or against. Some of the symptoms of uterine fibroid disease are:

  • Menstrual cycles that last longer than seven days. 
  • Saturating pads or tampons in less than two hours.
  • Pelvic pain or excessive cramps.
  • Fullness or pressure in the abdomen.
  • Pain during intercourse.

Our mission is to educate about uterine fibroid disease, which impacts up to 80 percent of people with a uterus by age 50. It is important to understand the symptoms and treatment options of this often debilitating condition. Learn more about the minimally invasive nonsurgical treatment, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) here.

Working With Your Health Care Team

Those in the LGBTQIA+ community need to feel safe in their doctor’s office and trust that these doctors will believe what they say about their symptoms. Fibroid Fighters is continuing to work on spreading LGBTQIA+ education this Pride Month regarding healthcare and has come up with a list of resources to help support the effort of gender-neutral and LGBTQIA+ safe healthcare facilities.

Works Cited:

  1. https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/june-28/
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/style/lgbtq-gender-language.html

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