Cardiovascular Health for LGBTQ Adults

LGBTQ adults report experiencing high rates of discrimination in health care settings

The majority of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (or Questioning) adults report experiencing discrimination from a health care professional. Here are some highlights of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement published Oct. 8:

More than half of LGBTQ adults and 70% of those who are transgender or gender non-conforming report experiencing some form of discrimination from a health care professional. LGBTQ adults may delay primary or preventive care and lack trust in health care professionals due to fear of discrimination.

LGBTQ adults experience major stressors, including exposure to discrimination and violence, but we don’t yet know how it affects their cardiovascular health.

  • They may face family rejection and anxiety over concealing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • LBGTQ adults in historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups experience higher poverty levels, insecure housing and fewer health care options than their white LGBTQ peers.

The statement recommends adding LGBTQ-related content to health care professional training and licensure requirements and sharing information to spur more research on the cardiovascular health of LGBTQ adults.

LBGTQ Health Glossary of Terms

The glossary below explains keywords and terms used to describe members of the LGBTQ community, including bisexual, transgender, gay and gender non-binary.
Term Definition
Bisexual People who experience sexual, romantic, physical, or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender and toward another gender (sometimes shortened to bi).
Cisgender A term used to describe people whose gender identity is congruent with what is traditionally expected on the basis of their sex assigned at birth.
Gay A term used to describe boys/men who are attracted to boys/men but often used and embraced by people with other gender identities to describe their same-gender attractions and relationships. Often referred to as homosexual, although this term is no longer used by the majority of people with same-gender attractions.
Gender expression The ways in which a person communicates femininity, masculinity, androgyny, or other aspects of gender, often through speech, mannerisms, gait, or style of dress. All people have ways in which they express their gender.
Gender identity A person’s inner sense of being a girl/woman, a boy/man, a combination of girl/woman and boy/man, or something else, or having no gender at all. Everyone has a gender identity.
Gender minority A broad diversity of people who experience an incongruence between their gender identity and what is traditionally expected on the basis of their sex assigned at birth, such as transgender and gender non-binary people.
Gender non-binary A term used by some people who identify as a combination of girl/woman and boy/man, as something else, or as having no gender. Often used interchangeably with gender non-conforming.
Lesbian Used to describe girls/women who are attracted to girls/women; applies for cisgender and transgender girls/women. Often referred to as homosexual, although this term is no longer used by the majority of women with same-gender attractions.
Queer Historically a derogatory term used against LGBTQ people, it has been embraced and reclaimed by LGBTQ communities. Queer is often used to represent all individuals who identify outside of other categories of sexual and gender identity. Queer may also be used by individuals who feel as though other sexual or gender identity labels do not adequately describe their experience.
Sex assigned at birth Usually based on phenotypic presentation (ie, genitals) of an infant and categorized as female or male; distinct from gender identity.
Sex Biological sex characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals); male, female, intersex. Synonymous with sex assigned at birth.
Sexual minority A broad diversity of people who have a sexual orientation that is anything other than heterosexual/straight and typically includes gay, bisexual, lesbian, queer, or something else.
Sexual orientation A person’s physical, emotional, and romantic attachments in relation to gender. Conceptually separate from gender identity and gender expression. Everyone has a sexual orientation.
Straight Boys/men or girls/women who are attracted to people of the other binary gender than themselves; can refer to cisgender and transgender individuals. Often referred to as heterosexual.
Transgender man Someone who identifies as male but was assigned female sex at birth.
Transgender woman Someone who identifies as female but was assigned male sex at birth.

Assessing and Addressing Cardiovascular Health in LGBTQ Adults


Heart health report aims to bolster research, boost care for LGBTQ patients

LGBTQ adults face distinct threats to their heart health – and health care providers can do more to identify and thwart those risks, says a new report that aims to point the way toward better research and care.