Some people still make assumptions based on outdated stereotypes so I don’t exactly come out to people; I let them figure it out by talking about my wife.
At a previous practice, a GP referred to my wife as my husband. That made me respect him less and definitely put me off going back. I don’t want to be enlightening anyone when I am sick or need help.
My wife and I are looking into fertility treatment so we want our health care providers to be mindful that the biological father of our child is not in the room, and not to ask my wife inappropriate questions!
There is a lot more information at GP’s fingertips now - when I ask about fertility treatment, I expect my GP to know what questions to ask me.
By seeking conception advice from my GP, I hope that someone at some point will be able to see what the prevalent LGBT issues are and be able to address them.
Holistically, I think it’s important to know your patient’s psycho-social situation. A certain attitude or a look can put barriers up and make you feel less likely to engage. If I have any specific issues relating to my identity, how would anyone know how to address them with me if they think that I’m straight?
I’ve never had a problem telling healthcare professionals about my sexual orientation. I have some prior experience around cervical screening so I book in as soon as I get the reminder - and that eliminates any potential ‘gay vagina’ embarrassment I may have! I think in my own small way I can affect positive change, by ticking the ‘lesbian’ box on registration forms. If people are frightened of ticking that box then the practice will think that there are no LGBT patients and therefore cannot provide relevant care. It’s a minor action but can go a long way towards accurate monitoring and provision. When a person talks about their life, then you get to know them and their priorities.
I think being open and honest aids compassion. I can laugh with my GP about our respective wives’ snoring! It helps them to understand my life, which will ultimately help them to help me.
Defining someone by who they like to have sex with or what they may or may not have between their legs isn’t always the most important thing. I’d much rather be known as ‘Tina who makes cakes’, than ‘gay Tina’.
- Tina, Stockport