What Should I Look for in a GBTQ-friendly Healthcare Provider?
An important part of maintaining your health is having an open and trusting relationship with your doctor. According to our research however, a sizeable chunk of GBTQ men report barriers in accessing healthcare due to their fear of being open with healthcare providers, and a general lack of knowledge surrounding GBTQ men’s health issues.
Kevin Moroso, a columnist at the Daily Xtra, chronicled his search for a healthcare provider in a recent editorial. Seeking a professional that he felt like he could be honest with about his frequent unprotected sex habits was his initial concern. After he discovered he could be honest with his own physician without judgement, however, he realized that judgement-free healthcare was not enough to meet his needs as a sexually active gay man. “As good as my doctor was, he likely wasn’t going to pick up on all the particular sexual health issues that gay men have,” Moroso described, “So I sought out a new doctor, one who is very knowledgeable about gay men’s health issues.” Moroso reports that his current doctor provides him with antibiotics before he goes on trips where sexual activity will likely be high, increases Hep C screenings when he reports bottoming more, and happens to be part of a kink scene, decreasing the likeliness of any judgement. While a doctor you feel comfortable with is important, doctors “must meet you where you’re at — not where they’d like you to be,” and be suited to provide you with healthcare suited for you.
We have identified room for improvement in the accessibility of GBTQ-specific healthcare in Toronto. While many services are available catering to GBTQ healthcare needs, healthcare professionals lack knowledge of these services, and as a result aren’t likely to refer patients to them. It is one of our goals to help bridge the gap between healthcare providers and GBTQ healthcare services through outreach and distribution of awareness-raising resources. Keep coming back to our site for more updates!