Dermatologists Urged to Take Lead in Advancing Health Care for LGBT Patients

The current and future role of the dermatologist in treating LGBT patients is discussed.

Dermatologists have an important role in improving the overall health care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients, particularly regarding noninvasive cosmetic procedures, sexually transmitted diseases, and gender-specific relevant dermatoses, researchers reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

LGBT patients continue to face substantial challenges to safeguard their health owing to cultural and other factors throughout the world. In China, for example, many mental healthcare workers regard homosexuality as sexual perversion, and about 8.0% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons reported experiencing negative treatment in healthcare settings, according to researchers from the Department of Dermatology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China.

Sexual minorities are more vulnerable to delayed or substandard care, and underuse of health care is primarily caused by stigma and discrimination from healthcare staff, which may be due to the lack of training for clinicians, especially those in psychological medicine, psychiatry, infectious disease, dermatology, and venereology, the research team noted.

“Improving the health of the LGBT community should be a public health priority all over the world,” the researchers wrote. “Healthcare staff have the responsibility to create a safe space to relieve illnesses and concerns of LGBT patients.”

The investigators advocate that government administrators and medical associations should develop rules and regulations for LGBT health care, construct and perfect an LGBT healthcare training system for clinicians, especially dermatologists, and, when possible, include courses on LGBT health care in medical curricula.

“We also urge dermatologists and clinicians in China and the world to take a lead role in respecting the diversity of sexual orientation and behaviors, to work with government officials to establish laws and regulations protecting the LGBT community, and to understand and care [for] LGBT patients in both mental and physical aspects,” the study authors advised.


Zhang H, Tang K, Wang Y, et al. Understanding and caring for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients in dermatologic clinics: A dermatologist’s perspective from China [published online August 4, 2020]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13657