Hearing Highlights Systemic Barriers to Health Care for LGBT Latinos

July 06, 2011

Improved data collection of the Latino LGBT community needed to reduce health disparities

Sacramento, Calif. – Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) held a special informational hearing today to deliberate on the state of Latino LGBT Health. According to the 2010 Census, the Latino population in the United States has increased to 50.5 million, making up 16.3% of the total population. It is estimated that the Latino LGBT numbers have increased to more than four million, yet the LGBT community continues to face disparities in access to healthcare services. A contributing factor to the significant health disparities in the Latino LGBT community can be attributed to a lack of information and data collection.

“Information and data collection is key to improving Latino LGBT health outcomes, “said Assemblymember Lara. “ With information we can begin addressing the specific challenges our community faces and improve our access to care. For example, limited data suggests that 30% of LGBT youth report having been physically abused by their family members because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Now that we know a significant number of LGBT youth are facing physical abuse as a result of their sexual orientation we can begin to do something about it. We can’t treat the ailment if we don’t know the source.”

The LGBT Latino Select Committee of the Latino Legislative Caucus is a new committee created by Assemblymember Lara.  Among the goals of the Select Committee, is to provide sound policy recommendations to the LGBT and Latino Caucuses based on information presented by experts and academics at the informational hearings. Today’s hearing discussed systemic barriers to health access and care for LGBT Latinos and the role of families in fostering mental health.  Presenters included Dr. Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University; Daniel Zingale of the California Endowment; Dr. Octavio Vallejo of AIDS Projects Los Angeles; Roland Palencia of Equality California and Carolina Ramos of the San Diego LGBT Community Center.