Happy Pride Month!
Regardless of what specialty you are in, you will have patients who are part of the diverse LGBTQ+ community. Treating these patients includes understanding that they come from various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds and have a wide range of experiences. Learning about LGBTQ-centered care can be an asset in any practice and help your patients receive phenomenal healthcare.
There are many ways to make your practice more welcoming for LGBTQ+ patients. Here are some ideas:
- Expand your own knowledge – take the time to learn about sexual orientation, gender identity and LGBTQ+ definitions and terms. The more versed you are in these topics and this language, the better you will be able to treat LGBTQ+ patients and understand important definitions in a clinical context.
- Use inclusive and gender-neutral language – from history taking to intake forms make sure that the language your clinic uses is inclusive. Changes on a form can be as simple as including a line for “preferred name” or multiple options and a blank space for gender identification and a place specifically asking for pronouns. When introducing yourself to a patient, include your own pronouns to normalize this process. Language is important in LGBTQ-centered care.
- Create a welcoming space – Does your clinic have unisex bathroom available, show symbols of inclusivity such as a rainbow flag or the transgender pride flag, and have health education material with diverse images and inclusive language? Your clinic should also have a visible nondiscrimination policy. These changes might seem simple, but they help your practice show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The women’s health work group is passionate about advocating for our LGBTQ+ patients and are currently working on the following initiatives:
- Fighting the numerous anti-Transgender bills that are surfacing in states all over the countries. Many of these bills are targeting trans youth and criminalize providing proper healthcare to trans youth.
- Advocating for ways to make your practice inclusive and to be aware of the type of language you use in both practice and in medical records
- Partnering with external organization to advocate for LGBTQ+ patients and to understand the complexities between sexual orientation, gender identity, racial/ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic background