Building an LGBTQ+ friendly practice

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How can healthcare providers provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ patients?

During the month of June, many businesses show their support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community by flying rainbow flags in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, but what happens during the rest of the year? How can healthcare providers demonstrate their allyship by providing a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ patients to seek care and receive care without judgement?

According to a Gallop poll, about 6% of US adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. This estimate is up from 4.5% in a previous Gallup’s update based on 2017 data. Gallup’s research also shows that younger generations are more likely to identify as LGBTQ+, with more than one in six Gen Z respondents identifying as something other than heterosexual.

This population is growing, and it’s important for healthcare providers to be prepared to create an LGBTQ+ friendly practice to respond to an expanding need for care.

Søren Estvold, MD, MPH is a 2018 graduate of the University of Medicine and Health Sciences and is currently working in a Family Medicine residency at Augusta University Medical Center in Georgia. Dr. Estvold specializes in LBGTQ+ medicine and serves on the board of the Equality Clinic, an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers serving the under- and uninsured LGBTQIA+ community of Augusta, Georgia and the surrounding areas.