We’re back at Casa de Luz today working with our partner ORAM in the amazing LGBTIQ shelter in Tijuana.
After spending some time in the shelter, we became aware that many of the residents had some minor health problems and were in need of a quick check-up with a medical professional. Good oral and eye health is important for overall health and well-being while they wait to cross the border.
Access to LGBTIQ-sensitive health care and dental services becomes particularly challenging for LGBTIQ asylum seekers during their journey to safety. Many either choose not to visit medical care or to conceal their sexual orientation and gender identity for the fear they might be targeted and marginalized. For some, they had never sought care for oral and eye health issues.
While recognizing the specific medical needs of LGBTIQ asylum-seekers, CM365 and ORAM decided it was crucial to offer and provide these residents a place to go with verified LGBTIQ friendly health services. Five residents needed to see a dentist; two needed a dental implant replacing missing teeth, one resident needed someone to look at his cataracts and another resident was in need of more testing as her HIV medication was not working properly. So we found a local LGBTIQ safe clinic where the group of residents could go and have a check-up.
Being able to address their medical concerns makes this journey much easier on the residents. As Irving, one of the house members, told me, “They have beautiful smiles but sometimes they try to hide them because they don’t feel comfortable. It is important for them to feel themselves.”