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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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D.C. Council proposes LGBT sensitivity training for health care workers

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Grace Gannon.

The D.C. Council proposed a bill Tuesday that would require city health care professionals to receive LGBT sensitivity training.

At-Large Council member David Grosso and Ward 7 Council member Yvette Alexander introduced the bill that would amend current laws and require health care practitioners – including doctors and mental health specialists – to complete training in “attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enable a health care professional to care effectively for patients who identify as LGBTQ”, according to a copy of the bill.

The trainings would also teach health care workers to use appropriate terminology with LGBT patients, understand risk factors for their health, and train support staff to also work with LGBT patients and maintain their confidentiality, according to the bill.

Alexander, who is the chair of the Council’s health and human services committee, said she hopes to hold a hearing on the bill soon. Nine Council members co-signed the bill during the legislative meeting Tuesday, the Washington Blade reported.

Grosso said in an interview that the bill would help eliminate stereotypes about LGBT people and teach health care workers to interact with the patients sensitively. There are 66,000 individuals who identify as LGBT in D.C., Grosso said.

“All we’re saying is that we think they deserve to have medical professionals who are sensitive, too, and knowledgeable about the unique health needs of their community,” Grosso said in a phone interview.

LGBT people who struggle to access resources are at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Grosso added.

Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a press release that mandatory training is crucial to reducing disparities in health care for LGBT people.

“LGBT people face substantial systemic discrimination in health care due to a lack of understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by the community,” Warbelow said in the release.

About 56 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 70 percent of transgender people say they have faced some type of discrimination in health care, causing some to postpone seeking help when they are sick, according to the release.

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