WHY GATHER DATA ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY IN CLINICAL SETTINGS
WHY ASK THESE QUESTIONS?
Asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity
is importantbecause there are significant documented health disparities affecting LGBTpeople.
While we know about some disparities, there remain wide gaps inresearch on LGBT health. Gathering sexual orientation and gender identity datain a standardized way will allow us to better understandLGBT health disparities, as well as to prevent, screenand early detect conditions that disproportionatelyaffect LGBT people. Gathering such data in clinicalsettings will allow providers to better understand andtreat their patients, and to compare their patients’health outcomes with national samples of LGB orLGBT people from national health surveys.
Optimal and effective provision of healthcare and prevention services to LGBT peoplerequires that providers be informed of the healthdisparities affecting this population, includingspecific risk factors and health conditions. Forexample, lesbians are more likely than heterosexualand bisexual women to be overweight and obese,increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease, lipidabnormalities, glucose intolerance, and morbidityrelated to inactivity.
Bisexuals may have poorer health than homosexuals andheterosexuals, as well as higher rates of mental health issues and smoking.
Transgender patients may be at greater risk of cardiovascular disease due toexogenous hormone use.
Gathering data on sexual and gender identity is consistent with keyrecommendations in Healthy People 2020 and the 2011 Institute of Medicine’s reporton LGBT health issues and research gaps.
Healthy People 2020 calls on health careproviders to “appropriately inquir[e] about and be…supportive of a patient’s sexualorientation to enhance the patient-provider interaction and regular use of care.”
Lesbians aremore likely thanheterosexual andbisexual womento be overweightand obese.