Lesbians face health care discrimination, Equitas study shows

Lesbians face health care discrimination, Equitas study shows

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Equitas Health Institute recently released its first research study on the unique health care needs faced by lesbian patients. Rachel Epperson, a certified clinical medical assistant at Equitas Health, said she didn't see a doctor for four years after a bad experience explaining her sexual orientation to medical staff.

Rachel Epperson didn’t see a doctor for four years because she had such a negative experience telling a local practitioner her sexual orientation.

Epperson, a 36-year-old lesbian, lives on the West Side with her wife of 11 years.

When she came out to a doctor she was seeing for the first time six years ago, the doctor excused herself to pull a nurse in the room. Later, the nurse laughed out loud when Epperson asked about the possibility of spreading HPV to her partner.

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“We get into offices and say, ‘I identify as a lesbian’ and it’s turned into almost this kink,” Epperson said. “I could immediately tell when I said I was a lesbian, the air in the room shifted. It was uncomfortable.”

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Jenny Oslen

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