The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide is huge — and it’s been a long time coming. Amidst the celebrations, we’re also taking this opportunity to think about the work that remains to be done on a variety of LGBT issues.
Here at CH, we’re always looking for connections to health, and the history of the marriage equality movement is deeply rooted in health concerns. The AIDS epidemic brought marriage to the forefront of mainstream LGBT activism, as gay couples struggling with AIDS acutely felt the lack of key rights like hospital visitation and insurance benefits.
Today, even with marriage won, LGBT folks still face many issues that contribute to inequality and significant disparities in health outcomes, especially for transgender people and people of color:
- In 28 states, you can still be fired from your job because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, and they experience higher rates of sexual violence and suicide than other homeless youth.
- Many private and state health insurance programs refuse to cover medically necessary transition-related health care for transgender people.
- LGBT people — especially transgender people — still face high rates of discrimination, harassment, and violence.
The good news? These are things we can change, by campaigning for nationwide employment non-discrimination laws, advocating for increased funding for shelters that serve homeless youth, and pushing health insurance plans to treat transition-related health care they way they treat all other medical needs.
Last month we celebrated a huge victory — now we can start to work towards the next one.