Augusta's LGBT Populace
The LGBTQ community is ubiquitous throughout society--transcending race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status. About 3.5% of Georgia's population identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and 0.3% identify as transgender. According to the William's Institute analysis of the 2010 US Census, there are 5.9 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in Georgia.
In addition, the proportion of homeless youths who identify as LGBT is approximately 30%, and these individuals face even steeper challenges when seeking healthcare.
A stunning 56% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual patient report personally been refused care, blamed for their health status, physically abused by a provider, verbally abused by a health care professional, or refused to be touched by medical staff, an amongst transgender patients that statistic rises to an appalling 70%. The same study found that LGBT patients were reluctant to seek care for a variety of reasons (Figure 1). Additionally 50% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual patients and 90% of transgender patients were concerned that health professionals would have adequate training to provide care for LGBT-specific health needs. Searches of national and state databases for LGBT-competent physicians yield no providers in the CSRA (glma.org, thehealthinitative.org).
Fear of discrimination and lack of skilled providers are further compounded by an increased likelihood of LGBT people to lack the resources to access care. Same-sex couples are less likely to have insurance than opposite-sex couples due in some part to lack of extension of employee benefits to unmarried partners (Ard, 2012). Nationally, same-sex couples and single LGBT adults are, in general, more likely to live in poverty than their heterosexual/non-LGBT counterparts; furthermore, same-sex couples in rural and small metropolitan areas are at an over three times increased risk of poverty than lesbian and gay couples in large cities (Badgett, 2013).