The de Blasio administration published New York City’s first LGBTQ Health Care Bill of Rights on Tuesday to kick off Pride Month. The Health Department also launched a new “Bare It All” sexual health awareness campaign.
The bill of rights details health care protections on local, state and federal levels and reaffirms that medical care staff has a legal requirement to offer “quality care” regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The bill of rights will be distributed on posters and wallet cards at clinics and health centers across the city.
“Pride Month is not only a time to celebrate how far we have come, but also decide how we are going to move forward together,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The “Bare It All” campaign encourages LGBTQ New Yorkers to talk to their doctors openly about sex, drugs and any other issues that might impact their lives. The campaign also serves to help those in the community to find “health care provider who allows patients to share details of their lives without judgment.”
“We need to empower LGBTQ people with the knowledge that their health matters and with strategies to access the best possible culturally responsive health care,” Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control Dr. Demetre Daskalakis said.
“As an openly gay man and a leader in health in New York City, you would expect that my physician would have made me feel comfortable about discussing my life,” he continued. “When that didn't happen, I had to find a physician that made me feel confident in sharing my personal details.
“Since then, my care has become better and more complete now that I have a doctor with an awareness of who I am and how I can achieve my best possible health. Silence and fear should not be the reason that people get sick.”
The ads will appear on the subway, MTA bus stands and online in both English and Spanish.
Both the “Bare It All” campaign and the LGBTQ Health Care Bill of Rights were designed as tools to make health care services more accessible for and accountable to LGBTQ New Yorkers. For the campaign, the Health Department surveyed local providers to create a directory of over 100 LGBTQ-knowledgeable providers that New Yorkers can access from the NYC Health Map, which is available at nyc.gov, and through 311.
If any New Yorker believes they have been mistreated or denied care or services because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or have witnessed health care discrimination, please contact the New York City Commission on Human Rights to file a complaint by calling 718-722-3131 or 311.