Healthcare is a pioneering and transforming industry that requires its staff to be continually educated in order to keep up with the advances and industry changes. One such advance is related to the gay and lesbian community. Continue reading for information pertaining to the LGBT community that every person working in the healthcare industry should know.
First, it’s important to understand the terms and their meanings. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. When working with members of the LGBT community, it is essential to use the terms appropriately.
- Gay – A man who is attracted to or sexually active with another man. The term gay is considered an adjective and should be used in that context.
- Lesbian – A woman who is attracted to or sexually active with another woman.
- Same sex partners – Same sex partners are same sex couples in committed relationships such as domestic partnerships, marriage, civil unions or similar relationships that are not recognized by law.
- Bisexual – A person who is attracted to or sexually active with both genders.
- Transgender – A person who does not identify with the gender that was assigned at birth. Often transgender individuals live as the opposite sex.
- Transexual – A person who does not identify with the gender that was assigned at birth, caused by a neurological condition and often requires medical intervention, including gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy.
- Intersex – A person with ambiguous genitalia, a condition that affects sexual development.
- Transvestite – A person who dresses as the opposite gender.
In the past, there have been other commonly used terms to describe members of the LGBT community, but many of those terms are no longer accepted. For example, an intersex person may have been referred to as a hermaphrodite in the past, but that term is no longer used. Another term that is now considered offensive is cross-dresser, a person who dresses as the opposite gender.
There are many resources available to assist healthcare professionals in understanding and providing care to the LGBT community. A selection of these resources are listed below:
- 10 Things Gay Men Should Discuss With Their Health Care Providers, The Body
- A Provider’s Handbook on Culturally Competent Care: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Population, Kaiser Permanente
- Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (GLMA)
- National LGBT Health Education Center
- National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
- Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
- Top Ten Things Lesbians Should Discuss With Their Healthcare Provider, Gay & Lesbian Medical Association
- Health & Well-being for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Understanding and Caring for Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Older Adults, CJE SeniorLife
- World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
Healthcare is dynamic industry that is constantly transforming and advancing. As healthcare providers, we must remain educated and up-to-date regarding the LGBT population in order to provide treatment and care for these patients.