The LGBTQ Center and mental health

Majdouline Bakor, Multimedia Journalist

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer folk are typically victims of stigmatization and face discrimination solely because of their identity. Due to this phenomenon, they are more likely to take on worse mental health outcomes compared to those who are cis-gendered or heterosexual.

Those in the LGBTQI community are more likely to develop difficult relationships with not only other people but at certain times themselves. Some of the issues that they might experience are situations with coming out, rejection, trauma, substance abuse, homelessness, suicide, and poor mental health care.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “(LGBTQI) are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.”

Graphic by Majdouline Bakor.

What are the health care disparities that LGBTQI face?

LGBTQI patients have a fear of stigma and discrimination with health care providers. Some have negative past experiences or fear of poor treatment. Providers with little to no knowledge of LGBTQI culture and health also turn patients around from being seen.

What about transgender and nonbinary people?

Provided by the National Center for Transgender Equality:

The Health Care Rights Law, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits sex discrimination, including anti-transgender discrimination, by most health providers and insurance companies, as well as discrimination based on race, national origin, age, and disability. Under the ACA, it is illegal for most insurance companies to have exclusions of transition-related care, and it is illegal for most health providers to discriminate against transgender people, like by turning someone away or refusing to treat them according to their gender identity. Update (6/12/20): While the Trump administration has enacted a rule change that misinterprets​ explicit protections for transgender people in health care by excluding protections from discrimination based on gender identity, it is important to know the following: 

  • You are still protected under Section 1557–a law passed by Congress that is still fully in force–which says that sex discrimination in a health care setting or in an insurance plan is unlawful.
  • This repeal is not in accordance with how courts have repeatedly interpreted Section 1557, namely that transgender discrimination in health care settings is unlawful under Section 1557.
  • There will be multiple lawsuits challenging this repeal.
  • This repeal may embolden certain people to harass or deny care, but such conduct is still illegal. You should continue to report discrimination in health care and seek legal assistance when experiencing discrimination.”

UNF’s non-discrimination policy says that those who identify as LGBTQ are protected. The policy prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation.

Below are some fast facts provided by the LGBTQ Center.

  1. UNF is one of six university-based LGBTQ centers/offices in the state of Florida with a full-time staffed LGBTQ Center (The other universities are UCF, University of Miami, FIU, USF, and UF).
  2. THE LGBTQ Center was established in 2006, thanks in large part to student activism and a campus climate survey.
  3. UNF offers several academic courses that address gender and sexuality and has out LGBTQ and ally faculty and staff in departments throughout the university.
  4. In 2009, the LGBTQ Center moved to a new space in the Student Union.

If you or someone you know is interested in finding a safe space, be sure to check out the LGBTQ Center on campus at UNF in Building 58 East, Room 1111. Their website also offers resources such as current safe space affiliates on campus, getting involved with pride club, and a speakers bureau request for anyone interested in panel presentations on LGBTQ issues for their courses. Below will be local resources provided by the LGBTQ Center.

Local resources on UNF’s campus:

Local resources in the city of Jacksonville:


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