LGBT Health Care in Columbia, MD
What is LGBT Health Care?
The goal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health care is to end discrimination in the medical field toward this community by recognizing and embracing the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of every patient in a safe, comfortable manner. The LGBT community is represented by a wide range of individuals of different races, ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic statuses and identities. What binds this community together as social and gender minorities are their common experiences of stigma and discrimination—especially when it comes to healthcare.
Despite the social progress made over the last decade, members of the LGBT community continue to face health disparities due to provider ignorance, homophobia/social stigma and, in some cases, denial of civil and human rights. This is also true for those who are in transition, have had sexual reassignment surgery (either female to male (FTM) or male to female (MTF)) and individuals who are intersex or have gender dysphoria.
In many cases, LGBT patients simply avoid revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity to their physicians out of fear or embarrassment, despite the importance of this information when it comes to receiving treatment. That's why it's important to visit a provider who offers an all-inclusive environment that meets the needs of all people.
The Importance of LGBT Health Care
LGBT healthcare does not mean these physicians treat only LGBT patients—it means they are educated and informed about LGBT health issues so patients feel cared for and comfortable with their health care providers. The most common issues LGBT individuals face outside of social stigma include difficulties in obtaining insurance, naming the next of kin and dealing with certain state laws that might not provide the same rights as their heterosexual peers.
LGBT health care providers believe that everyone is entitled to a positive health care experience, and they provide that by offering every patient the following:
- Equal access to health care services
- Resources for LGBT health issues
- Better, more accurate information regarding LGBT health
- A judgment-free zone where patients are encouraged to participate in their health care decision-making
What's Different about LGBT Health Care?
LGBT providers offer a safe environment where patients can feel comfortable expressing themselves. Given that a patient's personal life has a huge effect on his or her risk of disease or injury, it's best to engage in this conversation instead of avoiding it. Practices that incorporate LGBT values differ from others by creating an all-inclusive environment that includes:
- Confidentiality: Providers encourage openness by making sure their discussions with patients are confidential, removing any judgment or preconceived notions.
- Updated patient forms: These forms offer more inclusive choices for answers to questions and ask more open-ended questions.
- Language and sensitivity: Knowing what to say to patients of all orientations and gender identities makes a huge difference in patients' level of comfort.
- Staff training: The practice's staff is trained to show respect to all people by using their chosen names and referring to them by their self-identified genders.
Another benefit of visiting an LGBT-friendly practice is the training the staff receives to help LGBT-specific patients through the many hurdles of receiving treatment. In addition to clerical assistance, LGBT health care providers offer various health screenings that focus on behaviors and practices rather than a patient's sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of the most common procedures performed include:
- Mental health screening
- Diabetes testing
- Physicals/wellness testing
- Heart health exam
- HIV/AIDS testing
- STD testing
Finding a provider who accepts all patients is crucial to improving personal health. This is especially true for patients who avoid visiting a physician due to fear of discrimination, past negative experiences and/or have the false belief that health screenings are unnecessary.
Request more information about LGBT health care today. Call (410) 204-2254 or contact Dr. Karen Clarke-Bennett online.
A Better You MediSpa & Wellness
Address525 Main Street
Laurel, MD 20707
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm