June is Pride Month, a time for all of us to be aware and sensitive to the needs of our LGBTQ friends. You may not realize this, but many LGBTQ people feel marginalized and excluded from traditional healthcare.
Think about the current environment in the following scenarios:
Our new patient paperwork has checkboxes for “male” or “female.” Which box does a patient check if they do not identify as either? Or if their gender doesn’t match what’s on their insurance card? How do they prefer to be addressed? What are their preferred pronouns?
If a transgender male has not had gender-confirming surgery but identifies as male, he may have difficulty finding a healthcare provider who understands this dilemma. He may be particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a pelvic exam.
The LGBTQ community has a higher rate of substance use, intimate partner violence, and behavioral health issues, often triggered by a lifetime of emotional trauma and feeling unaccepted by their loved ones and community. How do we signal that they are safe and accepted?
These are some of the topics I’m discussing with Dr. Alex McBath this week. You may remember Alex from his interview last year. He is finishing his Ob/Gyn residency this week and embarking on his career. He has a special interest in LGBTQ healthcare and has taught me so much about how to be inclusive in my own practice. I hope you’re inspired by Alex and his partner Tri to seek opportunities in your community to reach out and help.
- You can follow Alex on Instagram here.
- And his partner Tri right here.
- National Center for Transgender Equality 2015 survey.
- UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health resources page: https://prevention.ucsf.edu/transhealth/resources
- GLMA Cultural Competence Webinar.
- Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center resources: http://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/resources/
- World Professional Association for Transgender Health – Standards of Care: https://wpath.org/publications/soc
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