Discrimination and Health among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People in Puerto Rico

Carlos E. Rodríguez-Díaz, Gerardo G. Jovet-Toledo, Carmen M. Vélez-Vega, Edgardo J. Ortiz-Sánchez, Edda I. Santiago-Rodríguez, Ricardo L. Vargas-Molina, Sheilla L. Rodríguez Madera, José J. Mulinelli-Rodríguez


Objective: To identify the experiences of discrimination among and the perceived priorities for the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people in Puerto Rico (PR). Methods: Data were collected during the 2013 LGBT Pride Parade in San Juan, using a brief self-administered survey that included questions on sociodemographic characteristics, the disclosure of sexual orientation/gender identity, experiences of discrimination, experiences while receiving social and health services, and perceived healthcare priorities and needs. Results: Most participants reported that they had disclosed their sexual orientation to at least one person. Discrimination due to sexual orientation/gender identity was most frequently reported to have occurred in school settings. At least 25% of the sample reported regular or negative experiences based on sexual orientation/gender identity when receiving government services and when looking for support from relatives. HIV/AIDS, mental health, and sexual health were identified as healthcare priorities. In bivariate analyses, mental health services and aging were the priorities most frequently reported among older participants. HIV/AIDS was the main priority only for gay men; sexual health was the main priority for bisexuals; and mental health was the main priority for lesbians. Most participants reported that their preferred modalities for health service provision were support groups and health education. Conclusion: The experiences of discrimination among LGBT people in PR were consistent across age groups and sexual orientation/gender identity. Policies and interventions to address discrimination in different settings are necessary. The findings also suggest the need to prioritize HIV services among gay men and to address mental and sexual health needs among lesbian and bisexual people.


LGBT, Puerto Rico, discrimination, healthcare, CBPR

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