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    5 ways to let LGBTQ patients know that respect awaits them at your office

     

    [1] Start with two fundamental questions that you have on your intake forms. Here they are:

    ·      What is your current gender identity? Check all that apply:

    o Male 

    o Female

    o Female-to-male (FTM)/transgender male/trans man 

    o Male-to-female (MTF)/transgender female/trans woman

    o Genderqueer, neither exclusively male nor female 

    o Additional gender category/(or other), please specify

    o Decline to answer, please explain why

    ·      What sex were you assigned at birth on your original birth certificate? Check one:

    o Male 

    o Female 

    o Decline to answer, please explain why

    You will need to do basic preventive screenings based on the person’s assigned sex at birth. This means that a person who had been assigned male gender at birth and who now identifies as a transgender woman still needs to have the health of their prostate monitored. Likewise, another person assigned female gender at birth and who now identifies as a transgender man will need to have pap smears done.

    Other physical exams and tests may be called for depending on whether or not the person has had surgery as part of their transition, and the stage of any such surgery. Find out about these matters from your patient and proceed accordingly.

    [2] Deal swiftly with the issue of how to address the patient. “The biggest thing healthcare providers don’t know about is what to call these patients,” says Iroque-Malize. Ask the patient what pronoun they prefer–he/she/they/ze or some other pronoun. (“Ze” is one of several relatively new pronouns. It is preferred by some transgender people and by some who consider themselves neither male nor female, and therefore find “he” and “she” inappropriate and hurtful.)

    Next: Taking the time to respect sensitivities 

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