LGBT Youth Consult

How medical providers can observe LGBT Pride Month


 

Educate yourself

Even when LGBT Pride season is over, the work of promoting the health and well-being of LGBT youth is never done. There are many medical providers who have made it their life’s work doing this. Consider learning more about the role medical providers have played in the health and well-being of the LGBT community, which may serve as an inspiration for your work. The list is long, and includes pioneers such as Ben Barres, MD, PhD, a transgender neurobiologist and physician who transitioned from female to male mid-career and was known for his work on interaction between neurons and glial cells in the nervous system, and Rachel Levine, MD, a physician who became the first transgender woman to serve as Physician General, then Secretary of State, of Pennsylvania.

Other providers have tackled health problems that plagued the LGBT community. Joel D. Weisman, DO, was one of the first physicians to identify the AIDS epidemic and became an advocate for AIDS research, treatment, and prevention, whereas Kevin A. Fenton, MD, PhD, a gay black man, was the director for the National Center for HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; he helped cultivate strategies to combat the HIV epidemic among gay black men.4 Finally, there is Nanette Gartrell, MD, a psychiatrist and researcher who leads the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study. This ongoing, prospective, and influential study was the first to identify that children raised by lesbian mothers had higher levels of social and school/academic competence and significantly lower levels of social problems, rule-breaking behaviors, and aggressive behaviors, compared with children raised by opposite sex parents.5

Dr. Gerald Montano, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and an adolescent medicine physician at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Dr. Gerald Montano

LGBT Pride is a time to recognize the achievements the LGBT community has made in the last couple of decades, and at the same time, it is a reminder that the work to promote health equity for this community remains unfinished. Health care providers have an important responsibility in fostering this work in a responsible and ethical matter. Many medical providers have dedicated their lives to this movement, and even when the LGBT Pride season is over, their mission will continue.

Dr. Montano is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and an adolescent medicine physician at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Email him at pdnews@mdedge.com.

References

1. “Discrimination Prevents LGBTQ People from Accessing Health Care,” Center for American Progress, Jan. 18, 2018.

2. Psychol Bull. 2003 Sep;129(5): 674-97.

3. “How LGBTQ Pride Month became a branded holiday,” Vox, Jun 25, 2018.

4. “Dr. Kevin Fenton stepping down after 8 years,” The Georgia Voice, Dec 7, 2012.

5. Pediatrics. 2010;126(1):28-36.

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