For World Health Day, Queerist is highlighting the inequalities in Queer healthcare and sharing how LGBTQ+ inclusive doctors offer better care to their patients so that others may take action to make their practices more inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.
Well-being requires a thorough consideration of the entirety of a person. Society at large, and the healthcare system, in particular, neglects to care for LGBTQ+ patients. The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center indexes these barriers to care as limited access, negative experiences, and lack of knowledge. To overcome this systemic gap, doctors and health care providers can take strategic actions toward creating LGBTQ inclusive care. While the benefits to Queer medicine are many, here are five crucial areas in which LGBTQ+ inclusive doctors provide better care to Queer patients.
Affirmation of Queer Identity
LGBTQ+ people share a fraught history with the healthcare system, and LGBTQ inclusive medicine may alleviate these wounds. One method of repair is access to LGBTQ-identifying or Queer-friendly doctors. Simply having a team of health care providers who reflect or affirm one’s identity and compassionately support concerns can instill hope and comfort, impacting overall well-being.
A Network of LGBTQ Doctors & Inclusive Care
Navigating the healthcare system is a daunting challenge in itself, and finding a Queer-friendly provider is an even bigger one. LGBTQ Inclusive healthcare providers are beneficial to LGBTQ patients by understanding current needs and providing much-needed referrals to additional support, community, and resources.
Trust, Safety, and Honesty in LGBTQ+ Healthcare
LGBTQ-identifying and Queer-friendly doctors who disclose their status and inclusive practices with directories, networks, and LGBTQ patients open the potential for connection—possibly deepening trust, calming nervous systems, improving attitudes toward the field of medicine and its evolving relationship with the LGBTQ community, and humanizing the physician working within a system. A relationship of trust allows for more honest conversation, which can lead to better care.
Improved Self Image and Care
Many LGBTQ patients have a history of insufficient care and invalidation. Access to Queer medicine that views LGBTQ people as worthy, diverse, and capable can be life-changing—sparking a positive shift in how a patient regards themselves, their future care, and the care of others.
Mutually Beneficial Relationships for LGBTQ+ Doctors and Patients
Learning to build relationships with mutual trust and security enables LGBTQ patients to heal from negative encounters with healthcare providers and society at large. In this vein, LGBTQ doctors and patients may seek clarity and strength from each other, and Queer-friendly doctors may gain a better understanding of care from the openness of their patients.
While gaps in healthcare for LGBTQ patients persist, organizations like Included Health, Plume, and Folx Health search for LGBTQ and Queer-friendly healthcare providers efficiently. The CDC offers additional resources for finding an LGBTQ or Queer-friendly healthcare provider.