The 2009 Health and Social Needs Assessment of LGBT Queens Residents
Download full report -> QPH LGBT Needs Assessment 2009
In 1999, QPH conducted the first needs assessment specifically for LGB residents of Queens County and found lack of awareness of available services and the perceived absence of services to be the main barriers to accessing health and social services. One decade later, the 2009 Needs Assessment presents findings on the health and social status of LGB Queens residents, the health and social service needs of LGB Queens residents, consumer and provider perspectives on barriers to accessing services in Queens, the characteristics of LGB appropriate services, as defined by LGB residents and service providers in Queens, and the organizational capacity of agencies to provide LGB appropriate services.
Though there is a dearth of information on the health and social needs of LGBT persons, findings confirm previous studies that demonstrate health disparities related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, the unique needs of Queens LGBT communities are visible in the intersections of race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality status and other demographic factors. Emphasizing the dynamism and diversity among LGBT communities, findings affirm differences by gender and nationality status. For example, there were differences by gender on services considered most important to be specifically designed for LGBT individuals, such as couples counseling and HIV testing.
While LGBT persons present health, social, and cultural needs similar to those of heterosexual and gender normative individuals, there are barriers to meeting health and social needs, such as discrimination, lack of health provider sensitivity, and outright hostility. For example, LGBT individuals often report experiencing discrimination when attempting to access health care services, and among LGBT Queens residents, 13.8% of participants reported having been treated inappropriately by health care providers based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (QPH09). Moreover, issues of cultural competency cause many LGBT individuals to avoid or delay care or to receive inappropriate or inferior care. QPH09 Needs Assessment data confirmed that a considerable percentage of individuals do not disclose their sexual orientation to their primary care physician as a standard practice, particularly among lesbian, bisexual or queer women (36%) (QPH09).
Findings from this needs assessment indicate health and social service areas for improvement and further research, as well as opportunities to improve quality of life and health outcomes for LGBT Queens residents. For example, this report identifies gaps in access to health services that address risk factors for leading causes of premature death and life threatening situations, e.g., suicide prevention, nutrition, and HIV testing. Additionally, services found to have high levels of unmet need among LGBT Queens residents were the same services more likely to be accessed outside Queens, e.g., mental health services, legal services, couples counseling and HIV/STI testing. It is a goal of QPH that these findings provide a starting point for developing community standards of practice to serve Queens LGBT individuals and an opportunity to enhance the quality of life and health outcomes of LGBT persons by providing evidence-based research upon which further advocacy and policy development can be grounded.
This project was made possible by a grant from the New York State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Human Services Network as well as support from New York City Council Honorable Members Helen Sears and John C. Liu, members of the Health Committee.
Castellanos, Daniel, Millery, Mari, Shoener, Sara, Sullivan, Erica, Hsu, Eustace, Kwong, Jason, Nicholson, Joey, Urbina, Briana, Lowrey, Sassafras. (2009). The health and social needs of LGBT Queens residents. New York: Queens Pride House.