Lesbians face health care discrimination, Equitas study shows

Lesbians face health care discrimination, Equitas study shows


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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