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MNAAP Newsletter

Inclusive and Equitable Care for LGBTQ Patients


By Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, FAAP, Director of Medical Education, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Rhamy N. Magid, MD

As pediatricians, we are dedicated to the health of all children. Increasingly, this means addressing matters of sexual health, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Issues surrounding the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community have finally come to the forefront of public discourse in our country, presenting us with the opportunity to highlight the health needs of our LGBTQ patients.

As noted by the AAP Committee on Adolescence, “Being a member of this group of teenagers is not, in itself, a risk behavior…however, the presence of stigma from homophobia and heterosexism often leads to psychological distress, which may be accompanied by an increase in risk behaviors.” LGBTQ youth are at significantly higher risk than their peers for a number of health problems, including depression, suicidality, substance abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, homelessness, bullying, physical assault, survival sex, and sexual abuse. They are also significantly less likely to feel supported and understood by their parents, teachers and health care providers.

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