Many Americans refrain from talking about sexual orientation and gender identity or expression because it feels taboo, or because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. This glossary was written to help give people the words and meanings to help make conversations easier and more comfortable. LGBTQ people use a variety of terms to identify themselves, not all of which are included in this glossary. Always listen for and respect a person’s self-identified terminology.
A primary objective for health care professionals is to establish solid, trusting relationships with patients in order to promote healthier behaviors. As with other minority groups, when working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) patients, it is especially important to build rapport as a way to counteract the exclusion, discrimination, and stigma that many have experienced previously in health care. Despite our best intentions, however, internal --or implicit--biases may affect the way we talk to and behave with patients. For health care professionals, biases can lead to inequitable care, either through biased clinical decisions, or through communicating bias in conversation with patients.During these exchanges, a clinician or other staff person may say something or use body language that communicates a stereotype or antagonistic message about LGBTQ people. Sometimes called “microaggressions,” these kinds of actions and statements often determine whether a patient follows medical advice or returns for care. Furthermore, a constant stream of negative messages can become internalized, adding to an LGBTQ person’s stress and contributing to worse behavioral and physical health outcomes
National LGBT Health Education Center. (2018). Learning to Address Implicit Bias Towards LGBTQ Patients:
Case Scenarios . https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Implicit-Bias-Guide-2018_Final.pdf
Hudson, K. D., & Romanelli, M. (2020). "We Are Powerful People": Health-Promoting Strengths of LGBTQ Communities of Color. Qualitative Health Research, 30(8), 1156-1170. 10.1177/1049732319837572 [doi]
Medicine, I. o., Populations, Board on the Health of Select, Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps,and Opportunities, & Staff, Board on the Health of Select Populations. (2011). The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. National Academies Press. 10.17226/13128
Morris, M., Cooper, R. L., Ramesh, A., Tabatabai, M., Arcury, T. A., Shinn, M., Im, W., Juarez, P., & Matthews-Juarez, P. (2019). Training to reduce LGBTQ-related bias among medical, nursing, and dental students and providers: a systematic review. BMC Medical Education, 19(1), 325-3. 10.1186/s12909-019-1727-3 [doi]
National LGBT Health Education Center. (2018). Learning to Address
Implicit Bias Towards LGBTQ Patients: Case Scenarios . https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Implicit-Bias-Guide-2018_Final.pdf.