Health Disparities: The Intersection of Race and Sexuality

Health Disparities: The Intersection of Race and Sexuality

Health Disparities: The Intersection of Race and Sexuality

by Allison Danish, MPH

To be frank—it's near impossible to find data on LGBTQ+ BIPOC* people and healthcare/health disparities, especially the trans community. Look no further than the CDC's LGBT page to know that's true. 

These studies have not been conducted in earnest because the healthcare system frequently lumps all LGBTQ+ folks together. By-and-large, researchers didn't start caring about LGBTQ+ folks as a population until the 1980s. The same goes for people of color. 

Here's what we do know

38% of Black LGBT people feel that their medical providers are uncomfortable with their sexuality.

"LGB people of color were at least twice as likely as whites to report experiencing physically rough or abusive treatment by medical professionals."

That's why

"...LGB folks who have disclosed their sexual orientation to their health care providers are more likely to be White than African American or Latino." 

The consequences are

"LGB folks of color who are not open about their sexual identity may be more likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors."

"Thus, ethnic minority LGB folks who internalize stigma linked to their sexual orientation may be more likely to engage in sexual risk behavior and less likely to talk openly about their sexual behavior with health care providers."

We need research. We need systems that value Black people, Black women, Black trans and queer folks. We need better care. 

Queer BIPOC are one of the most at-risk groups, with the least research dedicated to helping them.


Turner, C. B., Pastrana Jr., A. J., Battle, J. (2014). From the Perspectives of Black
lgbts in the US: Medical Providers' Comfort with Patients' Sexuality. Journal
of Black Sexuality and Relationships, 1(1), 45-64.

When Health Care Isn’t Caring: Lambda Legal’s Survey of Discrimination Against LGBT People and People with HIV (New York: Lambda Legal, 2010). Available at

Klitzman, R. L., and Greenberg, J. D. (2002) Patterns of communication between gay and lesbian patients and their health care providers. Journal of Homosexuality

Chng, C.L., and Géliga-Vargas, J. (2000) Ethnic identity, gay identity, sexual
sensation seeking and HIV risk taking among multiethnic men who have sex with
men. AIDS Education and Prevention 12:326–339.

Wilson, P. A., Yoshikawa, H. (2007). Improving Access to Health Care Among African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations. In Meyer, I. H., Northridge, M. E (1 Ed.). The Health of Sexual Minorities: Public Health Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations. New York, NY: Springer.


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