LGBT individuals encompass all races and ethnicities, religions, and social classes. Sexual orientation and gender identity questions are not asked on most national or State surveys, making it difficult to estimate the number of LGBT individuals and their health needs.
Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBT individuals, and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.
The LGBT companion document to Healthy People 20107 highlighted the need for more research to document, understand, and address the environmental factors that contribute to health disparities in the LGBT community. As part of this work, we need to increase the number of nationally-representative health-related surveys that collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).