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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022

The United States is now sharply divided on many important questions, and physicians are part of the dialogue. We asked physicians for their opinions on 10 controversial social issues that Americans feel strongly about — where they stand, their relative importance, and how each issue has affected their work lives and families.

At a time when most Americans support equal rights for all, a growing percentage identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning). Physicians need to be attuned to ways in which LGBTQ+ issues can influence both patient care and staff interactions.

Over 2340 physicians in more than 29 specialties gave their takes on LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace.

(Note: Some totals in this presentation do not equal 100% due to rounding.)

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

Why are physicians younger than 45 years old more likely than older physicians to rank LGBTQ+ rights as important?

"LGBTQ people are an underserved community. I think an essential part of care for the transgender community, in particular, is establishing very frank and open communication," says Aleksandr Shteynberg, MD, FACS, a double board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City.

Shteynberg says that he ensures that patients who are considering body-changing procedures have realistic expectations and an understanding of the changes that will come with them.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

Male and female physicians have essentially similar views in how they prioritize LGBTQ+ rights. And of 10 social issues in our survey, it was last in being chosen among physicians' overall most important, trailing gun control, domestic violence, and climate change, among others.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

There is no statistical difference among regions in how physicians rank LGBTQ+ rights as an important social issue.

"For many years, I was working in New York City and saw disparities even there. Now I see it more and more in Pittsburgh where I currently work. I cannot even imagine what happens in smaller rural areas," says Viktoria Kazlouskaya, MD, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Dermatology who treats many LGBTQ+ patients.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

Although about one third of physicians overall think LGBTQ+ patients receive a different level of medical care, those under age 45 are more likely to say so.

"I think that many providers are not actually trained to work with the LGBT population and do not even know how to address the patient at times," says Kazlouskaya.

"Sometimes we have misconceptions that LGBTQ+ patients are more prone to certain conditions (eg, HIV, sexually transmitted infections) and tend to lean to some diagnoses more easily, sometimes ordering additional tests based on that."

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that state legal bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

About three quarters of physicians say that they support the court's decision. Female physicians take that position more often than their male counterparts.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

LGBTQ+ rights personally affect just over one tenth of all physicians or their family members. This aligns, as a 2021 Gallup poll reported that 5.6% of US adults identify as LGBT, up from 4.5% in 2017.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

About 9 out of 10 physicians believe that people who identify as LGBTQ+ should have the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Similarly, a 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 9 out of 10 people surveyed said it should be illegal for physicians to refuse to treat people because they are LGBTQ+. And 85% thought it should be illegal for insurers to refuse to pay for health services for people who are transgender.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

The leading response by physicians who are highly concerned about LGBTQ+ rights is to donate money. Women physicians are more likely than male physicians to volunteer, attend protests or rallies, and post on social media about LGBTQ+ rights.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers an LGBTQ+ healthcare toolkit, which includes resources for science, education, and advocacy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides tools and resources to help pediatricians who are interested in improving sexual healthcare for adolescents and young adults.

The American Psychological Association lists dozens of resources for advancing knowledge of gender identity and sexual orientation to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association [GLMA]) holds an annual LGBTQ health conference. This year's conference takes place October 19-22, 2022, in San Francisco.

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Physicians' Views on LGBTQ+ Rights Issues Report 2022: Strong Emotions, Contrary Opinions

Jennifer Nelson | August 9, 2022 | Contributor Information

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