Coming Out to Your Provider

 

Being open with your healthcare provider about your sexual orientation and gender identity is important in order to receive the best possible care. But many LGBT people are hesitant to share these aspects of themselves with their providers.  Some tips and resources on this important step are:

  • Ask for referrals. Ask friends and healthcare providers you trust about LGBT friendly prociders in your area.  You can also check the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's Healthcare Provider Directory.
  • Ask questions. Call or visit the provider's website to see if the provider has a nondiscrimination policy, displays a pride symbol on their website, or notes areas of interest and expertise in LGBT people and families.
  • Bring a friend. Have a trusted friend accompany you to your appointment, or even be there in the exam room with you if you wish.
  • Choose a good time. Take a few minutes to chat with your doctor while you’re still fully clothed,  before you’re in the exam room, or set aside time during your appointment to specifically talk about issues of importance and concern to you.
  • Come out. If your doctor asks you about birth control, say something simple like, "I'm a lesbian, and I don't have sex with with men." Or, "When I'm with men, I use XX birth control, but with women I use latex barriers."
  • If the issue doesn't come up on its own... tell your doctor that you know how important open communication with a health care provider is. Say something like "it's important that you know I am a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender person. Is there anything else relevant to my healthcare and my sexual orientation/gender identity we should talk about?"
  • Know what to ask. Learn about the specific healthcare issues that affect LGBT people
  • Be a partner in your own health.  Ask what other information you can offer so your healthcare provider can give you the best and most informed care possible.