LGBT individuals are less likely to seek healthcare, feel alienated by the healthcare community, and in some cases are not given the same level of care as the rest of the community.
Sexual heath and how it is shaped and or ignored by the healthcare system has created a disparity in the quality and accessibility of healthcare available to minorities, and sexual minorities in particular, is a growing concern. In March of 2011 The Institute of Medicine reported that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people have unique health needs, but that little is known about what those needs are. The Lancet Medical Journal followed with an April 2011 article stating that a large number of healthcare practitioners are not well informed about how to care for LGBT health concerns, particularly the needs of transgender individuals. Many of those that are still have psychological barriers to asking probing questions about sex due to a concern of not knowing what to do with that information once they have it. An article in The Journal of Counseling Psychology pointed out that even well-meaning providers may exhibit certain levels of heterosexist micro-aggressions, or subtle attitudes that convey a negative connotation about an individual’s LGBT identity.
In response to this growing need, a number of therapists in the Kansas City community have started an organization dedicated to serving the health needs of LGBT individuals and their families. The LGBT-Affirmative Therapists Guild of the Greater Kansas City area is a grassroots organization of licensed mental and medical health professionals, as well as students-in-training. They share a collaborative commitment to make affirming culturally competent healthcare available for all sexual minorities based on the premise that LGBT and heterosexual identities are equally valid. Their website (lgbtguild.com) provides consumers and practitioners with referrals and resources for LGBT health and advocacy concerns.
Members of the Guild meet at various times throughout the year for consultation and education regarding the healthcare concerns of sexual and gender minorities. They are available to speak to businesses or organizations about LGBT related concerns. They are also happy to promote any public activities, groups, or events that enhance an understanding of LGBT people and their concerns. Membership in the Guild is free of charge and open to those from various disciplines and of any sexual orientation.