Broward has more same-sex couples or households than any other county in Florida. As our community and LGBTQ+ population continue to grow, issues arise and become more complex. The issues that affect Broward residents acutely affect LGBTQ+ residents.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, LGBTQ+ residents were already more likely to lack health insurance, adequate access to health care, and sensitivity from medical providers, especially among those who are transgender, people of color, or low income. Now the coronavirus pandemic has shown that addressing the health care needs of LGBTQ+ populations is critical. Because many LGBTQ+ individuals have underlying health conditions and face challenges with health care services, they are more vulnerable to contracting the virus.
According to HealthyPeople.gov, eliminating LGBTQ+ health disparities and enhancing efforts to improve the health of LGBTQ+ residents are necessary to ensure that they can livelong and healthy lives. Therefore, LGBTQ+ individuals’ health requires specific attention from health care professionals to address a number of disparities.
As we look to improve health outcomes for LGBTQ+ individuals, the Foundation understands that the social determinants of health and emotional wellness are hurdles to achieving full access and inclusion for LGBTQ+ community. To promote good health for all LGBTQ+ individuals, it is important to balance economic stability, education, social and community context, neighborhood and environment as well as health care issues.
To unite our diverse community to ensure equality, justice and inclusion of our LGBTQ+ neighbors throughout Broward.
The spirit of our community must always be one that accepts people for who they are. This includes the LGBTQ+ community. For more than 35 years, the Community Foundation of Broward has invested in a better quality of life for all in Broward.
The Foundation hosted a series of listening sessions where we learned LGBTQ+ residents feel confined and seek inclusion and acceptance within the entire community. But the broader community lacks sensitivity to their unique needs. As a result, LGBTQ+ residents will hide their LGBTQ+ identity rather than seek help from a non-LGBTQ+ social service organization. Without inclusion and acceptance built into the culture of non-LGBTQ+ social service organizations, LGBTQ+ residents will not receive equal and fair treatment and/or have equal opportunities in employment, housing and health care. For full inclusion and acceptance to manifest in all areas of society, straight and gay people must unite.
The Foundation seeks to create institutional culture change within all organizations to openly welcome and include LGBTQ+ residents. Since the launch of Broward Pride, we have seen great traction with our previously supported projects when a mainstream organization works collaboratively and in tandem with an LGBTQ+ organization to implement and create sustainable change.