13% of LGB people have utilized LGBT-specific clinics; 52% would like to in the future

A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that only a minority (13%) of LGB people have utilized LGBT-specific clinics and providers but a majority (52%) expressed an interest in utilizing them in the future.

Researchers examined a representative sample of LGB people in the United States from three age groups—young (18-25), middle (34-41) and older (52-59)—to understand the factors that influenced past utilization of LGBT-specific clinics and providers and interest in using them in the future.

“The discrepancy between past utilization and interest in future use of LGBT-specific providers suggests there is a disconnect between the type of healthcare many LGB people would like to have and what they have access to,” said lead author Alexander J. Martos, former Research Analyst at the Williams Institute. “Younger, Black LGB people and those with lower incomes reported the greatest interest in LGBT community-based healthcare.”


Past utilization of LGBT-specific clinics and providers

  • Utilization of LGBT-specific clinics was associated with better overall sense of health.
  • Men have over twice the odds of utilization as women.
  • Bisexuals have about one-third the odds of utilization as their lesbian and gay peers.
  • Living more than 60 miles from a LGBT clinic reduces the odds of past utilization by two-thirds.
  • The odds of past utilization for young people (age 18-25) was 35% less than older people (ages 52-59).

Interest in future utilization of LGBT-specific clinics and providers

  • Black LGB people were nearly three times more likely to express interest in future utilization as White LGB people.
  • Greater LGBT community connectedness, a stronger LGB identity, and the threat of stereotype in general healthcare were all associated with greater interest in utilizing LGBT-specific clinics and providers.
  • Younger LGB people were 1.4 times more likely to express interest in utilization compared to older LGB people.

“Our study results suggest that LGBT-specific clinics and providers continue to be an important part of the healthcare landscape for LGB people, but they are unevenly utilized,” said study author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “LGBT community health centers grew as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, where they provided unparalleled information and care, but this study shows that they have done less well with attracting younger LGB people, lesbians, and bisexual men and women. LGBT healthcare centers and providers need to explore ways to reach a diverse sexual minority populace.”

About the Study

The report, “Utilization of LGBT-Specific Clinics and Providers Across Three Cohorts of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People in the United States” appears in SSM – Population Health and is co-authored by Alexander J. Martos, Dr.P.H., former Research Analyst at the Williams Institute, Adam Fingerhut, Associate Professor of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University, Patrick A. Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Professor and the Director of the Society, Psychology, and Health Research Lab at Columbia University, and Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute.

Research reported in this report is part of the Generations study, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health, under award number R01HD078526. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The Generations investigators are Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., (PI, UCLA); David M. Frost, Ph.D., (University College, London); Phillip L. Hammack, Ph.D., (UCSC); Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D., (UCSF); Stephen T. Russell, Ph.D. (University of Texas, Austin) and Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ph.D., (UCLA). Co-Investigators are listed alphabetically.

Read the report

December 4, 2019

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