One Colorado Releases Closing the Gap: The State of LGBTQ Health

Denver, CO — Tonight, One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families released its most recent LGBTQ Colorado health report, titled Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health.  Over 60 community leaders, health partners, partner organizations, and LGBTQ Colordans and their families attended the 90 minute launch event at Mile High United Way.

Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health serves as a comparison to the data collected and reported on in 2011 in Invisible: The State of LGBT Health in Colorado. It summarizes the findings from the 2018 survey to shed light on the many obstacles faced by LGBTQ Coloradans and their families, as well as provides recommendations to continue to advance their health.

Cara Cheevers, Policy Director at One Colorado, who led the completion of the report, commented:

“Despite the incredible progress we’ve made to advance public policy that will benefit and protect LGBTQ Coloradans, the reality of achieving health has stagnated – or in some cases worsened – for LGBTQ Coloradans. This report reviews the progress we’ve made since our last health report was published in 2011 and highlights the health disparities that remain around access to health care, personal health and well-being, and gender-affirming care. With a thoughtful approach by health systems, policy makers, health providers, service organizations, and community members, we can make the necessary advancements to improve both the lived and legal equality in health care of LGBTQ Coloradan and their families.”

Web Brown, Director of the Office of Health Equity, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment provided the following statement:

“We each have unique life experiences based on where we were born, where we live, how old we are, our gender, sexual identity, race, etc. These life experiences shape our health outcomes. In fact, data shows us that the social determinants of health — where we live, work, learn and play — determines nearly eighty percent of our health. This means factors like income, education or neighborhood determine our opportunities and choices. When we also face more systemic barriers because of sexual orientation and gender identity, we have even fewer opportunities available to be healthy.”

Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health Advisory Committee members provided the following statements:

“Trans folks, specifically, are frequently shut out of life-saving care because of a significant lack of educated and affirming providers, restrictions on procedures deemed “cosmetic,” and overall costs that can easily equal or exceed one’s annual income. When we compound those barriers with the amount of  physical, verbal, and institutional violence that our community faces on a daily basis, it is so unbearably understandable why so many respondents have thought about committing suicide.” – Anaya Robinson, Co-Founder, Transformative Freedom Fund

“Thanks to the amazing work of One Colorado, this report can help guide Denver Health’s LGBTQ Center of Excellence in helping to create better access to both primary care and behavioral health services. In addition, we can continue to provide training for health care organizations around the state.” – Kari Kuka, Director of the LGBT Center of Excellence at Denver Health

“All patients should have access to inclusive and medically necessary care. The data demonstrates that inclusive care plays a significant role in patients actually getting the care that they need. From the healthcare perspective, gender-affirming care is medically necessary care in the same way treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure is medically necessary.” – Dr. Rita Lee, MD, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine

The full report is available online at one-co.co/closingthegap.

 

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