New report highlights progress and challenges for LGBTQ health equity in Colorado

Written by: Sarah Barnes
Date Posted: June 7, 2019

LGBTQ Coloradans continue to face more barriers to health and well-being than their heterosexual peers, according to a new report from One Colorado Education Fund (OECF). Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health finds that despite some progress, transgender Coloradans in particular experience significant barriers.

The report analyzes the health care-related experiences of LGBTQ Coloradans based on a number of indicators ranging from access to health coverage, health care, and LGBTQ-competent providers. The report also finds disparities in health outcomes for LGBTQ Coloradans compared to their heterosexual counterparts, and that some of these disparities have increased since 2011. According to the report, LGBTQ Coloradans are more likely to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depressive disorder and the percent of LGBTQ individuals in Colorado who report feeling down, depressed, or hopeless, or who report having little interest or pleasure in doing things, has increased since 2011. Furthermore, the report finds that 18 percent of LGBQ individuals and 41 percent of transgender individuals have contemplated suicide, compared to just 6 percent of the general public.

Experiences of discrimination by LGBTQ individuals impact health and well-being. The report finds an increase in the incidence of verbal harassment as a result of homophobia and transphobia since 2011, and that nearly one in five LGBTQ Coloradans report that someone (such as a counselor, therapist, or religious advisor) has tried to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The recently issued proposed rule from the Trump administration that would roll back protections for LGBTQ individuals under the Affordable Care Act would open the door for increased discrimination in health care settings and decreased access to comprehensive health care for LGBTQ individuals. In light of this new threat, and of the work still to be done in Colorado highlighted in the report, it is more critical than ever to ensure that Colorado protects and promotes the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals. The OCEF report offers a number of recommendations for policymakers, community members, and others to combat discrimination, reduce disparities, and advance the health and well-being of LGBTQ Coloradans. Click here to read the OECF report.

Sarah Barnes

About Sarah Barnes

Sarah serves as the Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2014, Sarah taught middle school English and worked as an Interventionist at Pioneer Charter School in Denver. She was a 2011 Teach For America corps member. Prior to teaching, Sarah worked as an attorney in Denver in the areas of venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and business law, and commercial transactions. Sarah earned a BA in English from Midland University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.