Research: Closing the Gap (2018)
From One Colorado’s founding, LGBTQ+ Coloradans have been at the center of our work. As the organization has grown and changed, remaining community-focused and community-informed continues to be a core tenant and commitment. This commitment shows up through One Colorado’s health equity programs via comprehensive community research, to deepen our understanding and elevate the current needs and concerns that impact LGBTQ+ Coloradans and our families.
In 2018, One Colorado Education Fund (OCEF) conducted a multi-method survey of the health needs and experiences of more than 2,500 LGBTQ Coloradans, who shared their individual health stories and experiences. Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health serves as a comparison to the data collected and reported on in 2011 in Invisible: The State of LGBT Health in Colorado. It summarizes the findings from the 2018 survey to shed light on the many obstacles faced by LGBTQ Coloradans and their families, as well as provides recommendations to continue to advance their health. The study found that while the LGBTQ community has made many advancements towards legal equality in the last few years, there is still much more work to do. Similar to their heterosexual and non-transgender peers, LGBTQ people still have difficulty in obtaining quality and affordable care. However, issues remain with finding providers who are knowledgeable about LGBTQ issues, their specific health needs, and who are respectful and affirming. Transgender Coloradans continue to experience worse health outcomes and greater disparities compared to their LGBQ counterparts, particularly in regards to discrimination, mental and behavioral health issues, and the high cost or potential denial of care due to insufficient insurance coverage. Improved health outcomes for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families is achievable. This report offers actionable recommendations for policy makers, health systems, health care providers, as well as the LGBTQ community and community organizations, to reduce disparities and create a more fair and just Colorado for all.
Highlights from Closing the Gap
- More LGBQ+ Coloradans are insured with rates dropping from 10% reporting being uninsured in 2011 to 5% in 2018.
- Similar trends were reported for Trans Coloradans as uninsured rates dropped from 27% to 5%.
Decreasing Barriers to Care
- Concerns about community fear, bias or dislike of LGBTQ+ people decreased from 68% to 62%.
- Not having enough adequately trained health professions decreased from 63% to 58%
- Concerns around privacy fell from 57% to 45%.
Increasing Barriers to Care
- Needing to travel long distances to LGBTQ+ competent facilities increased from 27% to 32%
- Not having transportation to get the care I need increased from 11% to 17%
Social Determinants of Health
- Respondents were more likely to say they lacked companionship, felt left out, and felt isolated.
- The percentage of LGBTQ+ community members who had experienced verbal harassment motivated by homophobia increased from 55% to 65%.
- Those who experienced sexual harassment motivated by homophobia increased from 21% to 26%.
One Colorado’s health equity program remains dedicated to continued research, a data-driven approach, and staying connected to the statewide LGBTQ+ community’s needs. We are exploring opportunities to research the understanding of the needs of our community. Currently we would like to explore the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ Coloradans, as well as the impacts of the current socio-political climate on transgender and gender-diverse communities. Please contact the health equity team if you are interested in financially supporting this aspect of our work.