How humiliating. I was afraid that if I admitted to being gay with a partner that I might get sub-par care and even have my care and life sabotaged.

“After delaying, I felt I would take the risk and say that my relationship does not fit into one of the boxes on your form. When the nurse looked confused, I confessed that I was gay and that my life partner was in the waiting room. She looked confused again, and after a pause, said, ‘Uh, oh, huh, never heard that before.’ Luckily, that is the worst that happened, but no one should have to go through even that much.”

• Joe from Minneapolis. “I was 36 years old at the time of this story and an out gay man. I was depressed over the breakup of an 8-year relationship. The doctor I went to see told me that it was not medicine I needed, but to leave my dirty lifestyle.”

• Emile in Boise. “I’m a post-operative trans woman who began my gender transition in 2004. After talking about transitioning with my family M.D., she agreed to continue her medical relationship with me. Because she was not experienced with treating a trans person or prescribing hormone replacement therapy, she referred me to a local endocrinologist. When I called to set up an appointment, I was told by the secretary, we don’t treat people like you. I called two other local endocrinologists and was told the exact same thing.”

• Tory from Portland. “I went to visit my school’s health clinic for an annual check-up. While I was filling out my health history information sheet, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sheet indicated both male and female partners, the number of partners, and the type of birth control I used. I thought this was a great example of LGBT-friendly medical facilities. Unfortunately, when I was called into the exam room, the nurse didn’t read the form and proceeded to ask me if I was sexually active and used condoms. “When I replied no and told the nurse that I was a lesbian, she was shocked. After that, the appointment was awkward, and I felt as though the nurse was not willing to touch me because I was a lesbian. The entire awkward conversation and exam could have been avoided if the nurse had only read the information sheet she was given. It just goes to show you that having an LGBT-friendly question form does not make a clinic LGBT-friendly.”

• Lee from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. “Fortunately, my primary care physician is awesome. She takes good care of me and has since I was 15 years old. I am able to completely be out and honest with her. Although we may not always agree on non-treatment-related topics, she is fair and non-judgmental. Unfortunately, I have been

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement