General Practitioner Katey Yeowart is passionate about working with people who may experience challenges accessing health care. She’s found her home within Travis Medical Centre, a practice that champions LGBTQIA+ advocacy for their patients.
“The data suggests that rainbow and trans- patients experience discrimination in healthcare settings. There’s a fear among the LGBTQIA+ community that they will face that discrimination at their doctor or other health care provider which then reflects on lower attendance rates, and not getting their needs addressed,” Katey said.
Creating an LGBTQIA+ safe environment in general practice doesn’t need to be difficult. At its core, a safe environment is about showing respect, listening and encouraging a dialogue with your patients.
Here are some of Katey’s tips for creating a safe environment for rainbow patients:
- PRONOUNS AND NAMES “Use the right pronouns and name for your patients. At Travis Medical Centre, we have an alert that shows up when someone’s pronouns are different to what they were assigned at birth. To support this, we make sure we ask all new patients their pronouns and preferred name.”
- DÉCOR “We have the Progress Pride Flag in every room. It’s a way of saying ‘we see you – you’re safe’. We also have rainbow posters from All Right and we shared our participation in the recent Sweat with Pride activity.” “Another thing we do is that our toilets aren’t gendered. Samples and sample containers are given and received in such a way to be discrete for the patient.”
- POLICIES AND PROCESSES “We have the policies in the background to support the patientfacing approach to creating a gender-safe space. We have a robust policy around recalls to ensure that those patients who need cervical smear or mammography recalls are contacted, even if their gender isn’t female.”
- BE KIND “For people who are worried about experiencing discrimination, it can be as simple as being friendly and openly using the correct name and pronouns. We’re talking about a marginalized group of people who may be marginalized in the workplace or have experienced bullying in school. Be open, encourage a dialogue. Affirming someone’s gender by using the right pronoun can make a real difference in their day.”