Phantazia Washington is the Coordinator of the Bryson Institute, the education and training department of the Attic Youth Center (AYC). Founded in 1993, AYC is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that creates opportunities for LGBTQIA youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults. Phantazia is responsible for organizing and facilitating educational trainings about best practices for working with LGBTQIA youth geared towards professional groups from healthcare providers to corporate communities. They graciously took time out of their schedule to share some thoughts with Carter, a member of the QSPACES team.
What barriers to healthcare do LGBTQIA young people face?
Homelessness is disproportionately prevalent for LGBTQIA youth – if you don’t know what you’re eating for dinner then you’re not going to be worried about if you’ve had a physical in the last year or if you’re getting consistent care for a chronic illness.Further, youth engaging in survival sex or sex work often fear they could face legal ramifications if their healthcare providers should turn that information over to the police.
Finally, many LGBTQIA folks, especially those of trans* experience, have had a previous bad experience within the healthcare system which causes them to avoid seeking treatment in the future. For example, going to the doctor with a cold and being questioned about whether they’ve had bottom surgery or being admitted to the hospital and given a bracelet with an inaccurate gender marker can cause a young person to be forced to choose between their mental and physical health.
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