Dismantling Health Inequities of LGBT Coloradans
On a national level, Americans face the adversity of attaining access to affordable, quality health care. Even more so, those that identify as LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer-Questioning). It has come to conclusion that challenges that the LGBTIQA community face in relation to affordable health care are discrimination, harassment, and victimization. The unjust practices occur in the home, school, work, streets, restaurants, doctor’s visits, churches, and government facilities. To address this, public health nonprofits have organized to take-action against these measures by expressing the inhumaneness of this matter.
In 2011, a nonprofit called The One Colorado Education Fund initiated a statewide health survey to study the impact of health on LGBT Coloradans. Next, they yielded another survey to study the healthcare beliefs, needs, and experiences of LGBT Coloradans. They recognized that these same unjust practices occurred with LGBT Coloradans and those that identified as LGBT and People of Color were more vulnerable. In an effect to combat this systemic nature, the One Colorado Education Fund works to secure protections and opportunities for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. They accomplish this via educational programming on LGBTQ issues, conducting health policy research to understand public opinion, mobilize a community of LGBTQ people and straight allies, and develop campaigns to build public support for fairness and equality.
As an African American Gay Colorado Male, I knew that the lack of access to affordable health care prevented people from attaining their requisite medication needed to combat disease especially those of Color and LGBTIQA. This is where I became interested in working with The One Colorado Education Fund to address this issue. When I first got to the office of this nonprofit, I didn’t know what to expect. I felt like any other activist and felt like I would come right in and make a difference right off the bat. However, that was not the case. I failed to realize that first you have to become accustomed to the nonprofit and understand what the organization is doing in its entirety.
At first, I came on as a marketing intern because I felt that if people were more aware of this health barrier issue amongst the LGBTIQA community that more people would want to discuss it and then it would lead to change. Yet, that is only a mere piece of an entire puzzle and more impact could be made through health policy. In the process of this internship, I have had to develop an outline of what is the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act enacted by President Barack Obama? How does this health care act correlate to United States of America Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s health care plan?
After explicating these plans, I had to develop a health policy brief that expressed both plans in a didactic manner. Currently, I am working on understanding how the Affordable Health Care Act has influenced LGBTIQA Coloradoans? How Paul Ryan’s health care can influence LGBTIQA Coloradoans? I will create more health policy briefs regarding this matter. This information will then be used by The One Colorado Education Fund to nuance a better understanding of health in retrospect to the LGBTIQA community.
In summation, I am thankful that I was granted the DU Pioneer Leadership Program Passport Fund. When it comes to addressing social justice issues, it revolves around the nonprofit sector. Yet, conducting work in this field is rather difficult because there is a lack of funds to do this type of work and majority of times it is deemed as volunteer work. This fund has enabled me to explore my ambitions of health policy while having a paid internship. I am a Senior at the University of Denver and I am looking towards pursuing a graduate degree in Health Policy and Management. Now, I have more background experience in this field and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Passport Fund.
Post written by: Rory Moore
This project was made possible through the awarding of a Passport Grant made possible by the generous contributions of PLP Alumni and Friends. Thank you to all who empower PLPers to do amazing things!