PLEASANT HILL (KCBS) – A first-of-its-kind survey finds California mental health providers still not embracing certain segments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Thousands of people responded to the survey, coordinated by the LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Project.

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“Providers were more comfortable for example with people who are gay or lesbian versus people who are bisexual. They were less comfortable with bisexual men than bisexual women and then they were less comfortable with people who are transgender,” said Poshi Mikalson of her group’s findings.

Overall, she did recognize some progress in efforts to provide help and support for the LGBTQ community.

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“On the other hand, it’s not happening fast enough for some people,” she pointed out. “There are still people dying, there are still people who are killing themselves.”

According to the survey, a lack of training is a major barrier in providing culturally competent services for the LGBTQ community.

“Many agencies and services ask demographic information,” she pointed out. “So they ask your race, your ethnicity, your age, your gender, et cetera, in order to provide better services. But they don’t ask sexual orientation and they don’t ask gender identity.”

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