In Recognition of Pride Month, State Department of Health Releases Health Disparities Report On LGBTQ+ New Yorkers

More Than 8 Percent of New York Adults Identify As LGBTQ+

Increased Health Challenges Including Access to Health Care Providers, Mental Distress, Depressive Disorders, and Alcohol Use Identified Among LGBQ, Transgender, and Gender Non-conforming Adults

Distributed to NYSDOH Partners and Networks, Report Informs Solutions to Advance Health Equity for LGBTQ+ Population

To Further Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Racial Disparities, Governor Hochul's 2023 Enacted Budget Includes an Additional $7 Million to Address LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Needs

Read the Report here

Albany, N.Y. (June 7, 2022) – In recognition of Pride Month, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) today announced the release of a new report highlighting the LGBTQ+ population and the unique health disparities facing New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. As part of NYSDOH's commitment to identifying and reducing health challenges experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Department has made this report publicly available. The report is also distributed to local county health departments, community-based organizations, and health service networks that can use these insights to inform and optimize their outreach and programming – creating more inclusive and more sensitive LGBTQ+ affirming health and human services.

"As we celebrate Pride Month, the Department is doubling down on our commitment to identifying and improving the health challenges facing New York's LGBTQ+ community," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "Through the Department's innovative data collection and analysis, we have new data to inform the Department's ongoing efforts, and those of our partners, to reduce barriers to health care access and target the services needed to best care for LGBTQ+ community members – building a more compassionate public health and health care system in New York."

The report, designed and developed by NYSDOH, is based on the New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an annual statewide telephone survey conducted by NYSDOH among New York State adults ages 18 years and older, which has been used since 1983. The report's findings are based on a unique analysis by NYSDOH to focus on adults who identify as LGBTQ+ based on data for 2019 through 2020. This is only the second time a population-based report on the LGBTQ+ community has been issued by the Department using the BRFSS.

For the purposes of this reporting, 'LGBO' includes adults who report identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or something else/other sexual orientation. Key findings from this year's report include the following:

  • In New York State, an estimated 1 million adults, or 7.9% of the state's adult population, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other sexual orientation, excluding heterosexual (LGBO) and 0.5% identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.
  • Percentages are higher among younger adults who are 18 to 24 years old, with 15.6% identifying as LGBO and 1.5% identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming.
  • Indicators of health care access limitations, such as having no health care provider and having no health insurance, are experienced at higher rates among the LGBTQ+ adult population in comparison to the State's overall adult population.
  • LGBO adults and transgender adults are more likely to report not having a regular health care provider (24.4% and 27.5%, respectively) compared to the general adult population (20.5%). LGBO and transgender adults are also more likely to report not having health insurance than the general population (14.3% and 18.9% vs. 12.3%).
  • Compared to New York State's overall adult population, the occurrence of mental health conditions is more common among LGBTQ+ adults. While an estimated 12.3% of adults report frequent mental distress, the rate among LGBO adults is double, at 24.8%, and is even higher (30%) among transgender adults.
  • Over 31% of LGBO adults and 37.8% of transgender adults report having been diagnosed with a depressive disorder, compared to only 16% of all New York adults.
  • Approximately 22.9% of NY adults who identify as LGBO and 21.5% of NY adults who identify as transgender report binge or heaving drinking, compared to the state rate of 17.4%.
  • LGBTQ+ adults represent a larger segment of demographic groups that are more likely to experience negative health outcomes due to social determinants and structural inequities. This includes adults without a high school education (10% LGBO, 1.3% transgender), adults living in households earning less than $25,000 a year (10% LGBO, 1.3% transgender), adults who are currently unemployed (11.7% LGBO, 1.3% transgender), adults living with disability (10.7% LGBO, 1% transgender), and adults who identify as Hispanic (10% LGBO, 0.9% transgender).
  • Adults who identify as LGBO make up a higher percentage of residents in New York City (9.2%) compared to the rest of the state (7.0%).

These findings will directly impact the programming NYSDOH prioritizes in the year ahead. This includes the work of the Department's LGBT Health and Human Services (LGBT HHS) initiative, which aims to eliminate disparities in health care access by increasing the availability of quality health care services and supports for underserved populations.

In New York State's Enacted FY 2023 Budget, an additional $7 million dollars in funding is specifically allocated to supporting these needs, enabling NYSDOH to redouble its efforts. The new investment will address urgent and emergent LGBTQ+ health challenges, including expanding provider capacity statewide, targeting underserved LGBTQ+ populations in need of health care, and expanding resources such as equipment, technology, supplies, staffing, and cultural competency training.

Additionally, in response to the tobacco's industry disproportionate targeting of the LGBTQ+ community, the Department's Tobacco Control Program (TCP) also has a Prevention Agenda goal designed to decrease cigarette smoking by individuals who identify as LGTBQ+ from 19.3% in 2014 – 2016 to 14.9% by 2024 using evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches. This includes decreasing tobacco initiation among younger New Yorkers, motivating adult smokers to quit, and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke – all of which directly impact short and long-term health outcomes for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.

The report is led by NYSDOH's Bureau of Chronic Disease Evaluation and Research, part of the Department's Center for Community Health, in collaboration with the NYSDOH AIDS Institute's Office of LGBTQ Services and the Office of Program Evaluation and Research. The Office of LGBTQ Services is comprised of grantees that provide health and human services. This includes programs that improve access to health care, provide support services, reduce stigma, and increase the number of providers trained to furnish sensitive and affirming care to individuals, their families, and communities.

About the Report

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an annual telephone survey of adults developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and several US Territories. The New York BRFSS is administered by the New York State Department of Health to provide statewide and regional information on behaviors, risk factors, and use of preventive health services related to the leading causes of chronic and infectious diseases, disability, injury, and death. Data from the BRFSS are useful for planning, initiating, and supporting health promotion and disease prevention programs at the state and federal level, and monitoring progress toward achieving health objectives for the state and nation.

New Yorkers can read the report here.

For more information about NYSDOH's Office of LGBTQ Services and their initiatives, visit or e-mail

For more information about the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), visit