Wednesday, June 8, 2011

LGBT Healthcare

It is important to know your patients. It is important that they feel comfortable enough to tell you everything relevant to their health history. This is a quote from Dan Savage, co-founder of the It Gets Better project.

The first adult authority figure that I came out to who wasn't a member of my family: my pediatrician. I'd been seeing him since I was a child and he was still my doctor. After my third or fourth visit about "a small skin blemish," he asked me what I was really worried about. I remember what I said to him: "I'm gay and I don't want to have AIDS." I don't remember what he said to me, but I'll never forget the look on his face. It was this combination of pity, panic, disappointment, and judgement. I never saw him again.
This is unacceptable. This encounter occurred in 1981, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and attitudes have mostly changed since then. Nevertheless, queer people still feel uncomfortable going to the doctor. New York City Health Department has put together a video to help train physicians on the importance of understanding sexual orientation and gender identity, how these identities affect the health of those people who claim them, and how important it is to help these under-served populations feel comfortable to seek the healthcare they need.

This video helps to put a human face on LGBT people. I think everyone should watch it.

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