“Before coming to the Comprehensive LGBT Health Center, I hadn’t had a proper checkup in years,” said Christopher Leo Daniels, who lives in Upper Manhattan. “I was one of those people who avoided doctors and hospitals, especially after having to explain my sexuality to doctors who made me feel uncomfortable and judged. The staff at Metropolitan erased any anxiety and concerns I had, and were supportive from the time I arrived to the time I left. For the first time, I felt truly cared for in a medical setting. I felt respected and was treated as a collaborator in my own healthcare.”
So it is a huge and positive boon that the Metropolitan hospital in East Harlem, NY, announced June 5, that they opened a center just for us! Services include men’s health, OB/GYN and women’s health, trans/affirmative care, senior health, HIV screening and treatment, infectious disease risk reduction and prevention, family planning, specialty immunizations, addiction counseling and rehabilitation services, behavioral health services, community-specific support groups, art therapy groups, referrals and other specialty service linkages, as well as LGBT cultural competence organizational training.
Daniels’ reasons for putting off healthcare is understandable and one that many of us in the black LGBTI community can relate to. And yet, not all of us are fortunate to live in a city with access to an LGBTI-friendly clinic or health center. In this video, we learn how critical it is to have affirming and supportive healthcare.
What has been your experience with the healthcare system as a member of the LGBTI community? How did it shape how frequently you seek care?