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Queer Women Select Health Care Access as #1 Priority

October 22, 2023

Summary: A new poll finds that queer women, asked for policy priorities, most often named universal health care at the top, following by climate change. Health care for all is a critical, central, and motivational component of progressive priorities.

Queer women are prioritizing climate and health issues over LGBTQ+ rights, new poll shows
The 19th
October 20, 2023
By Orion Rummler

Expanding health care access, addressing climate change and protecting reproductive rights all matter more to queer women polled in a recent survey than furthering LGBTQ+ rights. These issues need to be reflected in LGBTQ+ rights organizations, researchers and advocates say.

The survey captured the experiences of thousands of queer women, as well as the experiences of anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who has previously identified as a woman and who centers their emotional, sexual or family life around women. It encouraged transgender men, as well as gender-fluid people, to share their views.

Respondents were asked to write in their own answers about their top policy priorities, their various gender identities and favorite things about being queer, and what kind of accessibility barriers they face to reach LGBTQ+ services.

When the survey asked queer women for their top three policy priorities, respondents were not given a list to choose from; they were asked to write in their own three core issues. Still, clear trends emerged.

More accessible health care was the most commonly prioritized. Forty-five percent said in the survey that more affordable or accessible health care – which they also described as universal health care or Medicare for all – is their top concern. Universal health care means that health insurance coverage is available to everyone and is provided by the government or private companies, or a combination of both. Medicare for all, a separate policy, would expand Medicare to replace other public and private health insurance plans.

Meanwhile, 37 percent of surveyed queer women said combating environmental and climate change is one of their top three priorities, Thirty-six percent listed reproductive justice, abortion access and bodily autonomy as one of the issues that matter most to them.

Comment by: Don McCanne & Jim Kahn

It might be expected that queer women would experience socioeconomic pressures that might make them a valuable resource on what policies might improve the status of their group and thus, by extension, the status of everyone. It is instructive and encouraging that, without being given a list to choose from, they spontaneously selected accessibility to health care as their most important priority with the environment (which some progressives rank as first) and reproductive health (a leading political advocacy issue) ranking as second choices.

Once again, we have a group which has had reason to give considerable thought to these important issues and has concluded, as we have, that affordable, accessible, universal health care – Medicare for All – is their most important priority. Implied in that is sharing an affordable health care system that serves all of us equitably, and they so astutely remind us that “equitable” includes all individuals, regardless of sexual preferences.

This has potent implications for political alliance and synergy. Movements for gay / bisexual / transgender rights, against racism, to reduce economic inequality, to protect democracy, and for universal health care align in the broad rubric of preserving and advancing human rights. Access to health care is something everyone wants. The more we recognize the links among these social causes, the more effectively we can work powerfully together.

About the Commentator, Jim Kahn

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Jim (James G.) Kahn, MD, MPH (editor) is an Emeritus Professor of Health Policy, Epidemiology, and Global Health at the University of California, San Francisco. His work focuses on the cost and effectiveness of prevention and treatment interventions in low and middle income countries, and on single payer economics in the U.S. He has studied, advocated, and educated on single payer since the 1994 campaign for Prop 186 in California, including two years as chair of Physicians for a National Health Program California.

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