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  • LGBTQIA+ Information for Providers

    We use the term LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and more) and acknowledge a range of terminology preferences exists.

    Improve access to care.

    Small changes to healthcare office policy, procedure and approaches can reduce barriers to treatment.

    We used focus group feedback from LGBTQIA+ community members to share guidance with you.

    “Hospitals [were] not an option. It was never a haven for me, never safe for me… Other organizations are forwardly LGBTQ, they were welcoming…” – Focus group participant

    Help all people feel welcome in your office.

    Many people’s name or gender differs from their medical chart or ID. Some LGBTQIA+ people may avoid healthcare because of historic or personal experiences of homophobia or transphobia within the medical system.

    Improve name and ID policies.

    Record a patient’s sex assigned at birth, gender and preferred name on intake forms. Ask patients for their pronouns.

    “[The] biggest barrier medically in general for trans people is that sort of disconnect that’s visual dysphoria or [in]congruence between your legal ID.”– Focus group participant

    It’s better to ask.

    Many LGBTQIA+ people choose names that better reflect their identities. For some, it can be traumatic to be called their old name, whether or not they have changed it legally. “Deadnaming” is a reason trans people may avoid healthcare.

    Create a visibly safe space.

    Make a safe space where patients feel free from harassment, judgement or other emotional or physical harm. Show your space is welcoming and safe. These visual cues and symbols can help you do this: 

    “They know it’s safe for them if everyone understands them and understands their language. I’m not going to go in and look at people who don’t understand me. I’ll turn around.”– Focus group participant

    Learn about sexual orientation and gender identity.

    “I think we’re more of a community-oriented people than others. We know how important it is to be together in a group as a community and we want other people to have access to that space and that resource.”– Focus group participant

    Learning About Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) University of Connecticut School of Social Work.

    Take LGBTQIA+ training.

    Work with trans people around informational messages. You can also pay us to write that language for you.”– Focus group participant

    Recommended training.

    American Medical AssociationCreating an LGBTQ+ Friendly PracticeHow to welcome LGBTQIA+ patients.
    The Joint CommissionEffective Communication, Cultural Competence and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the LGBTQ+ CommunityCommunication and care guide for LGBTQIA+ patients.
    Fenway HealthSexual Health History: Talking Sex with Gender Non-Conforming and Trans PatientsHow to discuss sexual health with gender non-conforming and transgender patients.
    OutCare HealthOutCare Health WebsiteResources, trainings and healthcare directories for LGBTQIA+ patients, providers and insurance companies.
    GLMAHealth Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ EqualityLGBTQIA+ focused research, advocacy and education.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesLGBTQI+ Health & Well-beingHealth reports, resources and non-discrimination rights for accessing healthcare.
     The LancetGender inclusive care toolkit for hospitals Recent research on LGBTQIA+ disparities in healthcare institutions and ways to improve them. 

    Connect with local LGBTQIA+ organizations.

    “[We] work[ed] hard to bring vaccines into the community because they’re not readily accessible. Getting a vaccine is not as easy as it is for white, heterosexual folks.”– Focus group participant

    “[I] learned a lot about the vaccine being staff at Utopia. [I] felt safe there and now I had all that information I am going to go forward and get my shots.”– Focus group participant

    Rainbow Center
    2215 Pacific Ave.
    Tacoma, WA 98402
    (253) 383-2318
    Rainbow Center provides advocacy services for LGBTQIA+ people and educational programming to local organizations to promote understanding and inclusivity.

    “I got my first flu shot last year and am going to get it again this year. We know that we have to sometimes be a little uncomfortable to make everyone more comfortable.”– Focus group participant

    Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound
    P.O. Box 6942
    Bellevue, WA 98008
    Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound (DAPS) is a trans and gender diverse-led nonprofit 501(c)(3). We serve the trans and gender diverse people of Washington through direct service programming including support groups, individual and community advocacy, and financial assistance.

    “Being a Pacific Islander trans woman, we like to be around family. I didn’t want to be the reason my nephews and nieces got sick. Protecting myself, my family, my coworkers and my friends. And peace of mind.”– Focus group participant

    UTOPIA Washington
    Main Office
    841 Central Ave. N. Suite C-106
    Kent, WA 98032
    (253) 478-3941
    Creating a safe, welcoming, supportive and vibrant space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
    REACH Center 
    1314 S. L St. 
    Tacoma, WA 98405 
    (253) 383-3951  
    The REACH Center provides individualized case management support for youth ages 12-24 who are living homeless. Our programs include housing, violence prevention, education, employment, and advocacy. 

    More organizations coming soon!

    Interested in learning more about our health equity work?

    Check out our Health Equity page.