Let’s Talk About LGBT Health Disparities and Civil Rights
On October 4, 2011, on “The View” television show, Herman Cain, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. President, commented on his previous statements that “being gay is a choice” by saying: “You show me the science that says that it's not. [I] could be persuaded. Right now it's my opinion against the opinion of others who feel differently. That's just a difference of opinion." In response to Mr. Cain’s remarks, Hector Vargas, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, issued the following statement:
“In their LGBT policy statements, America’s leading health associations cite ample scientific evidence showing that sexual orientation is not a choice. The science also indicates that LGBT individuals experience high rates of health disparities, including mental health issues, tobacco use and substance abuse, violence, and higher risk of certain forms of cancer. LGBT individuals also have less access to healthcare, especially high quality healthcare.
“Discrimination, stigma and bias play a central role in the inadequate assessment, treatment and prevention of LGBT health problems. Improving the health and well being of LGBT individuals, side by side with core issues of equality—equal opportunity in the workplace, the freedom to marry, safety in schools—are the issues Americans should focus on and discuss when it comes to LGBT people.”