Nursing Advocacy for LGBTQ+ Populations
ANA Position Statement
Effective Date: 2018
The purpose of this position statement is to reinforce the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) recognition that nurses must deliver culturally congruent care and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ+) populations. The “+” designation in this position statement is used for inclusivity, to encompass other sexual and gender minorities not captured within the acronym LGBTQ. ANA is committed to the elimination of health disparities and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression within health care. LGBTQ+ populations face significant obstacles accessing care such as stigma, discrimination, inequity in health insurance, and denial of care because of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity (Kates, Ranji, Beamesderfer, Salganicoff & Dawson, 2017). In the United States, adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or queer make up about 4.1% of the general population, which is an estimated 10 million adults (Gates, 2017). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there are 1.7 million youth of high school age who identify as LGBTQ+ (Kann et al., 2016). Because many individuals within LGBTQ+ populations have confronted intolerance from providers, many avoid treatment or delay care due to experiences of bias and/or bigotry. The lack of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of this population contributes to ongoing health disparities and discrimination. The nursing profession must consider the needs of LGBTQ+ populations in the areas of policy, practice, education, and research (Keepnews, 2011).
Statement of ANA Position
American Nurses Association condemns discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression in health care and recognizes that it continues to be an issue despite the increasing recognition and acceptance of LGBTQ+ populations. Many LGBTQ+ individuals have reported experiencing some form of discrimination or bias when accessing health care services. Persistent societal stigma, ongoing discrimination, and denial of civil and human rights impede individuals self-determination and access to needed health care services, leading to negative health outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality. Nurses must deliver culturally congruent, safe care and advocate for LGBTQ+ populations.