LGBTQ+ Patients: How to Connect With a Caring Doctor
Mar 28, 2023 Lisa Fields
People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBTQ+) are more likely to experience chronic disease and depression than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. They’re also more likely to experience barriers to receiving healthcare.
Seeing a physician you trust for preventive care and screenings may improve your overall health and quality of life.
Patients want competent, caring providers—those who understand their constellation of unique healthcare needs while creating a safe and therapeutic space"
Dr. Stephanie Tran
- Make corrections: If your provider is not offering care that is gender-affirming or pertinent to your sexual health practices, correct them. This can include being misgendered or deadnamed, as well as not being offered preventive health screenings appropriate for your sex designated at birth or for your risk factors based on various sexual practices. “Being addressed in an appropriate and affirming manner makes patients feel more welcomed, so they are able to open up with their providers,” says family medicine physician Stephanie Tran, MD.
- Ask questions: If you’re unsure why your provider asks about particular practices, habits or bodily functions and wants to perform an exam, find out. "A lot of providers were taught to ask questions, but not all of them may elaborate on why," Dr. Tran says. "Gaining this clarification enhances the therapeutic relationship."
If your physician isn’t culturally competent or doesn’t provide judgment-free care:
- Ask friends or community members for referrals to LGBTQ+-friendly providers and organizations that provide inclusive care.
- Look online for keywords such as “inclusive," "LGBTQ+-friendly" and "gender-affirming care," Dr. Tran says.
- Call the office in advance and ask whether the practice provides inclusive care for LGBTQ+ health.
"Patients want competent, caring providers—those who understand their constellation of unique healthcare needs, while creating a safe and therapeutic space." Dr. Tran says.
We recently opened the Cedars-Sinai LGBTQ+ Center, which is dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of our community. This welcoming, multispecialty office, minutes from West Hollywood at 8820 Wilshire Blvd., offers services ranging from primary care to transgender surgery. Cedars-Sinai strives to offer inclusive, state-of-the-art care at its hundreds of locations and affiliates throughout the region.