In the News

LGBTQ Latinos Need Better Reproductive Care

Monday, June 20, 2011
Sara Ines Calderon
News Taco

A new report from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) finds that cultural and linguistic barriers, among others, affect how LGBTQ Latinos receive reproductive care. An excerpt from the report noted:

Existing research, however, suggests that LGBTQ Latin@s are subject to a number of intersecting barriers to quality health care. For LGBTQ Latin@s to receive adequate health care, providers must be linguistically and culturally competent. However, providers must be culturally competent not only in regards to primary language and ethnic background, but also to the particular health needs and concerns of the LGBTQ community. Finding providers that are adequately competent in all these areas can prove exceedingly difficult. This is particularly important in terms of preventive reproductive health care, such as annual exams and Pap smears.

Latin@s are disproportionately affected by cervical cancer, which can be traced to a lack of access to appropriate preventive care. Research indicates that lesbians may be less likely to receive annual or routine Pap smears, and are more likely to perceive bias by providers than heterosexual women. This perception affects women’s decisions whether to be out to their providers when they do receive care, which can be absolutely crucial to the collection of a full medical history and the provision of all appropriate reproductive health care…

Another important aspect of reproductive health for LGBTQ Latin@s is pregnancy-related care. Though many LGBTQ Latin@s are not able to afford assisted reproductive technologies, those who do seek these services may have difficulty finding providers that will work with them throughout this process. Those who become pregnant otherwise may also find that they lack culturally competent providers for their prenatal care. Similarly, LGBTQ persons might encounter discrimination or culturally-inadequate care for post-natal visits and the subsequent care of their children.

There are several other issues discussed in the report, including the impact of immigration and health care reform.