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CEO Perspective

Addressing the Health Needs of LGBTQ People is a Public Health Priority

“Vital Strategies’ vision is that everyone should be protected by a strong public health system. Stigma, discrimination and the denial of civil rights are drivers for poorer health outcomes for LGBTQ people. They face a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS, certain cancers, HPV infections, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies and mood disorders. Addressing the unique health needs of LGBTQ people and the negative social drivers that influence them is an important public health priority.

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, leading to six days of riots and igniting the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States. To those who participated in Stonewall, fighting for basic human rights and the freedom to live without police harassment, this moment 51 years later might have seemed impossible: the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Equality means equality and this decision will protect LGBTQ rights in workplaces across the U.S. 

Pride Month gives us a moment to reiterate that we stand for equity and dignity at the center of health care to enable LGBTQ people to experience healthy and empowered lives. It is also a moment to be motivated by the brave advocacy over a generation that has made this possible, a movement that started in many ways in New York City and has spread worldwide.