When I go the doctor, it’s important that my GP can address me in an appropriate manner without making assumptions about my sexual orientation. In addition, to recognise any personal issues that I may be struggling with so they may refer me to relevant agencies with confidence.

In the past, it has been difficult going for cervical smears and being asked if I’m using birth control or feeling I need to lie when I’m telling my dentist what I’m doing at the weekend. Being open with my health provider, I am able to discuss personal issues. Pride in Practice training has made my GP more open to dialogue with me as an openly gay woman and more willing to address her mistakes.

I’m sure the more open we are in the LGBT community, the more accustomed to our communities our GPs will become.

Due to my disability, I have been going to the same Podiatrist for 22 years who is aware of my sexuality. As a result, I can speak to her in a relaxed and humorous way whilst sitting through a half hour appointment every month. I am still surprised by some things though.

I did have to challenge my GP about an assumption she had made about my sexual orientation. It makes me think that they still don’t think it is serious as she told me apologetically about using the wrong pronoun for a patient who was in the process of transitioning the week before. My friend’s GP refused to change his name although they were aware he was awaiting an appointment at a Gender Identity Clinic. A member of our LGBT group reported that they have come across a situation where someone has gone to see their GP who didn’t know how they went about supporting someone transitioning or referring that person to a Gender Identity Clinic.

We still need to see more visibility. There is a lack of support for people with learning disabilities too and I feel that something should be done within faith groups. I am speaking from my own perspective as I’m exploring becoming a priest and I am currently on placement at a church where I got talking to a young woman with learning disabilities. I introduced her to my partner and she whispered that she was gay too. We often deny people with learning disabilities a sexuality and I’m sure this is key in GP surgeries. By reconciling, one’s faith with their sexuality can only be a bonus to well-being.

- Nikki, Bury