LGBT Healthcare Training Video: "To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am"

to treat me you have to know who I am I identify as Latino lesbian mother to treat me you have to know who I am I identify as a transgender man to treat me you have to know who I am I identify as a gay man I was diagnosed with anal cancer and what I'm dealing with something medical it's extremely important that they know who I am every doctor I've been to and there were seven all of the nurses all of the assistants everyone treated me with respect it is as important to know somebody's sexual orientation but even more than that what their sexual scenario is as it is to know if they're getting a good night's sleep or if they have a good appetite or if their bowel movements are normal it's all part of basic bodily functions that are required for a maximum quality of life it's important to have an open and honest relationship with your patient and so if you do not know what their sexual orientation is or how they identify that patient is not going to feel safe telling you everything that they need to tell you for their proper medical care but knowing a patient's gender identity and sexual orientation helps a practitioner to care appropriately for that patient we see a lot of patients come in who may not be comfortable disclosing that information and routine testing or screening may be missed for that patient when I was about 15 years old I remember going to the doctor's office and my doctor was very warm and very welcoming she was asking all the questions that she's supposed to ask to an adolescent and I remember telling her when she asked about my sexual activity if um you know if I use condoms or anything like that and I said no I'm I'm gay and I just remember her face changed very much and hurt her warm tone a voice turned very harsh and it seemed as though she was rushing me out as quickly as possible as a lesbian unfortunately when I've been involved with the health care system it's usually hasn't been very welcoming it's usually assumed that I'm heterosexual and so the questions go along that line asking me about the need for birth control and then I fill out forms that asked me if I'm married single divorced or widowed and none of those boxes apply to me I think it's very important to know that what people write on forums does not represent necessarily their reality and it does not take the place of a provider opening the door to ask questions and you need to ask those questions in an open and thoughtful and caring way many times the patient a client want to talk about their sexual health but fear that they would be discriminated against or stigmatized there are a lot of ways that a provider could ask me questions that would make it more likely for me to disclose the fact that I'm gay than not so I'd rather them ask me if I am in a significant relationship if I have a partner and then I'd like them when they talk about other issues to not make an assumption that because I'm gay I don't want to talk about having kids or that I don't want to talk about relationship issues My partner and I and our children were on a family vacation and my older daughter became sick she got stomach pains and we had to go to the local emergency room and we get to the hospital and they asked who was my daughter's parents and I said well she has two moms and they were like well she can't have two moms only one of you can go in my daughter was traumatized by that we were traumatized by that it's not about sensitivity it's about respect is about humanitarian response to a human being in general but my partner was hospitalized recently a very severe aortic aneurysm when he was being moved from intensive care to a hospital bed the nurse in charge would not let me accompany him I asked if I would have been allowed to accompany him if I were part of his family and she looked the other way what needs to happen when a patient is admitted to a hospital is that the care providers think about the fact that the patient might have different sexual orientation or different gender identity than the care provider throughout my pregnancy I was very much genderqueer and I did tell them about my pronouns which ones I preferred that I preferred gender neutral or masculine pronouns but the people who were dealing with me throughout my pregnancy primarily my midwife and the nurses associated with them were not responsive to my identity and didn't actually respect it certainly I felt that my healthcare has been impacted I feel less genuinely listened to and I feel like there's a huge discrepancy between the care I get versus other people who have gone to the same provider and report a very different experience you need to empathize with the patient you're talking to give them an understanding that you care to understand who they are that's all you need to do you don't have to use the right words just be open to being educated on what right words to use and care I just transitioned about four years ago to start living as a man when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I found that my breast surgeon was unable to call me even to give me my biopsy results he did tell me very frankly and overtly that he had problems with my transgender status and upon meeting me and learning of my transgender status he decided that his first impulse was to refer me to psychiatry I used to work at it this Health Center that did a lot of care for transgender patients and there was a lot of discrimination towards those patients there was a discomfort in talking to them I am myself had some discomfort because I didn't have much training on how to work with transgender the other day a patient came into the office and his insurance cards identified him as Adam although he signed the register as Emily after being called multiple times by his birth name he left the office I do think the LGBT community has special needs I think the LGBT community has a specific special need which is to be treated the way non-lgbt people have been treated for ever which is to be asked about their sexuality to be asked about their quality of life what their home situation is what their work situation is what their friend situation is without the person asking the questions being afraid of what the answers might be recognizing the differences of human beings and being able to address the issues and not using one ruler to measure someone else's existence or purpose in life my greatest hope for LGBT patients in the healthcare system is that when they go for treatment whoever they're going to see accepts them for who they are then having the people that we choose to be our families be accepted to have them be a part of the healing process and the healthcare system can take care of us just like anybody else so that we can keep ourselves well and get the information that we need to treat me you have to know who I am I identify as a lesbian to treat me you have to know who I am I identify as a genderqueer biracial Latino parents to treat me you have to know who I am and I identify as lesbian our lives depend on your capacity to care you


  1. I have been a nurse for 22 years and I can not believe this lack of compassion and empathy is still out there. It enrages me. I loved the last response in the video: "Our lives depend on their capacity to care". I took an oath to do this and it is in my practice to treat everyone with respect.

  2. I am not insensitive towards this issues. I do apologize for being crass. However, as a person of Color (I despise the term), I don't expect any different medical treatment or request for an Hispanic doctor. I don't expect to be treated any differently. All patients, of whatever stripes, should be treated with respect and compassion. Your identity should not used for preferential treatment. Many blessings to this community, and I hope all of you flourish and find happiness in this life.

  3. Anatomy, anatomy, science, science. Gender is just an after thought. Penis=male; vagina=female. The rest are different degrees mental illness. I love gays.

  4. lol stfu
    to treat me, you need to know what's between my legs, because that will decide a lot. Trannies are just butthurt because they face the brutal reality that they're not what they think they're when it comes to medicine.

  5. Sexual orientation is IRRELEVANT when diagnosing illness.

    What matters is your BEHAVIOR and LIFESTYLE.

    Doesn't matter what you "identify" as. You're a HUMAN.

    You are NOT a separate species. And to the doctors, having an attraction towards the same sex does NOT mean you automatically have certain diseases.

  6. I've been at the clinical bedside for twenty years now and have taken care of literally hundreds of LGBT patients without any special training. I've never once had difficulty relating to them or caring for them in any way. This bullshit video is just another grasp at their 'specialness' that doesn't exist. Sorry, LGBT people. You're just patients. Nothing more, nothing less. A gay kidney stone is no different than a straight kidney stone, and a gay pneumonia is not treated any differently than a straight pneumonia. Get over yourselves. You're not special. You want equality. And that's what I'm giving you.

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