Finding a caring care provider sensitive to our community

By Dustin Woods
Visionary Columnist

Do you think much about your health? March is LGBTQ+ Health Awareness month which is a reminder to consider our health and how we take care of ourselves. Health issues we need to be aware of as LGBTQ+ people are just as varied as those our straight friends have, but with a few extra considerations.

Topics regarding LGBTQ+ health issues aren’t limited to the lurid topic of the diseases that are spread through sex, even though it seems to be the most common topic I encounter as a gay man. One of those extra consideration’s LGBTQ+ people must consider when it comes to our health awareness is finding a doctor who understands our specific concerns and doesn’t judge us for our lifestyle.

I know that doctors take an oath to do no harm, but I have heard my fair share of horror stories about doctors whose personal moral judgments have impacted their ability empathize with and understand the needs of their patients, to put it as nicely as I can.

In our society some people wish to keep our community a permanent second-class, excluded from being treated equally. It was just under four years ago that we got the right to marry. With that in mind, it isn’t a surprise that many LGBTQ+ people don’t actively engage in common activities like going to the doctor.

Finding a doctor we’re comfortable with is still a hurdle we need to overcome and I think instead of each of us running that race alone I think we could turn it into a relay race where we pass the baton of knowledge onto those who come next.

The LGBTQ+ community is an already small minority of the overall population. Those with health coverage have blazed the trail to find a sympathetic doctor, but the path they create is not an easy one to follow or even find. This search seems extra daunting to those introverts in the community who aren’t as socially connected and able to obtain word of mouth types of knowledge. The search is an absolute luxury to those who don’t even have health insurance coverage and can’t afford to pay the full cost of going to the doctor.

So how do we increase health awareness in our community? First, and most obviously, we need medical coverage for everyone, if you can’t afford to go to a doctor, you’re likely to never have any preventative treatment. Secondly, we need to have access to the knowledge of which doctors are best capable of handling our specific health concerns or at least are accepting of our way of life.

If you have a doctor that you know is accepting of our community and capable of addressing our health issues, I have a few asks of you. First, spread the word to your friends this March, post on social media that you have a great doctor and implore your friends to go to that doctor.

Secondly, ask your doctor to actively participate in advertising to the community so that it is known that your doctor is willing to put his advertisement dollars where LGBTQ+ people are. We need to know your doctor cares about our community so that we can care to support them with our health care dollars.

Copyright The Gayly – March 20, 2019 @ 7:20 a.m. CDT.