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LGBTQ+ Considerations in Healthcare

What is LGBTQ+ stand for?

This acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and
beyond. Basically, this is any person who does not fall under traditional gender identity and/or
sexual orientation.
Why is this important?
The LGBTQ+ community, just like any other subculture or group, has special
considerations that need to be taken into account when providing care for them. These
considerations are basic guidelines, although each patient may have more or less specific needs.
There is also a long-term history of anti-LGBTQ+ bias in healthcare which has impacted
the way that this community views healthcare, and how likely they are to seek medical attention.
Why is this important for St. James Mercy Hospital?
St. James Mercy Hospital is one of very few hospitals situated near 2 local colleges;
Alfred State and Alfred University. Both of these campus promote diversity and house clubs such
as Kaleidoscope Coalition, Rainbow Union, and Spectrum, which are dedicated to promoting
tolerance and diversity among the student population and community. Because St. James Mercy
Hospital cares for these student populations, it is important to recognize and understand the
needs of this specific population.
What do these and other terms mean?
This is a list of some common terms used by the LGBTQ+ community and what they
mean. There are many more terms for gender identity and sexual orientation, and some may be
used in combination.
Gender Identity - A persons sense of being masculine, feminine, or other gendered.
Sexual Orientation - The desire for intimate emotional and/or sexual relationships with
people of the same gender/sex, another gender/sex, or multiple genders/sexes.
Sexuality - A persons exploration of sexual acts, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, and
Cisgender - Describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and
gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.
Lesbian - Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically,
erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.

Gay - 1. Term used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males
in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Not all men who engage in homosexual
behavior identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution. 2. Term
used to refer to the LGBTQI community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for
anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.
Bisexual - A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and
females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and
there may be a preference for one gender over others.
Transgender - A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based
on anatomical sex. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.
Transsexual - A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one
to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies
hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex.
Queer - A gender variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is
between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.
Intersex - A person whos External Genitalia cannot be identified as either binary sex. A
combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, gonads, and/or
genitals differs from one of the two expected patterns.
Asexual - Person who is not sexually attracted to anyone or does not have a sexual
Pansexual - A person who is sexually attracted to all or many gender expressions.
Androgyny - Person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a
gender either mixed or neutral.
What special considerations do we need to follow?
Never Assume
Never assume someones gender, or sexual orientation. This can lead to awkward, and
embarrassing moments for both you and the patient. It is best to keep an open mind and maintain
a non-judgmental tone when conversing with patients about their sexual identity, health, and
Use Correct Name and Pronouns
If a patient wants to be called by an alternate name to their given name, or use different
pronouns than their anatomical gender, it is important to address the patient by proper name and
pronouns as requested in order to establish and maintain a trusting relationship with the patient.

Example: Female Pronouns (She/Her), Male Pronouns (He/His), Gender Neutral (Ze/Hir) or
Avoid Personal Opinions
Unless asked for a personal opinion, members of the LGBTQ+ community arent seeking
your approval, just your help. Personal opinions should be disregarded when caring for these
patients and they should be treated with the same level of respect and dignity as any other
patient. Just as with any other conflict of interest, if you feel that personal feelings and opinions
will detract from your ability to provide care for these patients, you should ask to be reassigned if
Avoid Stereotypes
There are no LGBTQ+ specific diseases. However, because of health disparities among
this group, they may be more susceptible to STDs, substance abuse, and suicide.
Just because someone is Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual etc., dont assume that they are attracted
to you or anyone else. Just like everyone else, they have their own type, standards and morals.
How can we make the hospital environment friendlier to the LGBTQ+ community?
Intake forms can be revised to be
inclusive of a range of sexual orientations
and gender identities. Patients may feel
safer discussing their health risks and
behaviors once such information has been
disclosed. Information on sexual
orientation and gender identity permits
providers to identify, and thus better meet
the health needs of their LGBTQ+ patients.
Non-Discrimination Policies
Health care settings can develop
and prominently display nondiscrimination policies that include sexual
orientation and gender identity.
Staff Training
All staff, including receptionists, medical assistants, nurses, and physicians, can be
trained to deal respectfully with LGBTQ+ patients, including using patients preferred names and
Patient Education

Educational brochures on LGBTQ+ health topics can be made available where other
patient information materials are displayed.

The most important thing that can be stressed about this topic is:
If you arent sure, dont assume; ASK!

For more information, you can visit the following:


LGBTQ+ Considerations in Healthcare

What is LGBTQ+ stand for?
Why is this important?
Why is this important for St. James Mercy Hospital?
What do these and other terms mean?
Gender Identity
Sexual Orientation
What special considerations do we need to follow?
Never Assume
Use Correct Name and Pronouns
Avoid Personal Opinions
Avoid Stereotypes
How can we make the hospital environment friendlier to the LGBTQ+ community?
Non-Discrimination Policies
Staff Training
Patient Education

LGBTQ+ Considerations in Healthcare

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