New Democracy Maps

Obstacles & Opportunities: Health & Wellness for LGBT Families

The Bottom Line

As many as two million children living in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families face significant challenges accessing basic healthcare and may suffer from health disparities due to inequitable laws and social stigma. Obstacles and Opportunities: Ensuring Health and Wellness for LGBT Families outlines how LGBT families face substantial obstacles as they seek access to a range of health services, health insurance, and equitable tax treatment. The report finds that LGBT families have reduced access to health insurance, face restrictions on caregiving and medical decision-making, encounter unwelcoming healthcare environment, and have increased health disparities.

This brief, based on content from All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families, was produced in partnership with the National Coalition for LGBT Health and co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), Family Equality Council and the Center for American Progress.

Recommended citation: 
Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, and Center for American Progress. March 2012. Obstacles and Opportunities: Ensuring Health and Wellness for LGBT Families. (date of access).

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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