Healthcare providers

Creating a welcoming environment

Creating a welcoming and effective healthcare environment goes well beyond medical care. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (trans) and queer (LGBTQ) clients often “scan” an office for clues to help determine whether they can safely and comfortably be “out” to and share information with healthcare providers and clinic staff.

Everything — from the restrooms to the manner in which the telephone is answered to the posters on the walls and the magazines on the racks — provides clues to potential LGBTQ clients about the kind of care and treatment they can expect to receive. They may avoid care in settings that suggest that healthcare providers aren’t familiar with their communities or health issues.

The good news is that it can be relatively easy to make a medical practice more LGBTQ friendly: cultural competence is a learnable skill! In this section of the website, we provide some suggestions for creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ clients. In particular, we focus on: