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Navigating the Health Care System

LBTI Health Care Concerns

Interviewing a Potential Health Care Provider:

Where to start when interviewing a potential health care provider? Here is what one woman whose partner is female-to-male trangender recommends, based on her experience:

I would suggest that you ask lots of questions when you initially meet with a physician. They will typically offer free “getting-to-know-you” appointments to people searching for providers. Interview them about their experiences with LGBTQ people and their policies about non-oppressive treatment. If you are meeting with the provider fully clothed, you have the option to walk out and not choose them as your doctor. Also, in the area where I live, we have a gender variant health care project. I look to them for suggestions about who may be safe. They helped me to find Eastside Women’s Health, in Olympia, WA. Taking care of yourself means knowing that you are worth defending, so it’s okay to expect the most of your provider.

LGBTI Health Resources


GLBT Health Access Project
A community-based effort to help service providers learn more about our health care needs and create welcoming environments for staff and clients. Check out GLBThealth.org's Trans Access Study to find out about access for transgender people, and their article, "Community Standards of Practice" to find out how providers can create a positive office environment.

Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
GLMA is committed to ensuring equality in health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and health care professionals. The organization’s website includes vital information for our community, including a search engine to find queer-friendly providers in your area.

Lesbian Health Research Center
A site for lesbians and practitioners about health-related topics specific to lesbians.

Lesbian Safer Sex
Valuable information on HIV and sexually transmitted infections among lesbians

Mautner Project: The Lesbian Health Organization
An excellent resource to help providers understand the specific health needs of lesbians; offers training and technical assistance. Also carries fact sheets on LBTI health care issues.

The National Coalition of LGBT Health
The coalition works to improve the health of LGBT individuals through public education and advocacy that focuses on research, policy, education and training.

Family Caregiver Alliance
“Legal Issues for LGBT Caregivers”


Provides website hosting for deaf LGBT organizations


Androgen Insensitivity Support Group (AISSG)
Dedicated to providing information to people and family affected by AIS

Intersex Initiative
A national activist and advocacy organization for people born with intersex conditions

Intersex Society of North America
Working toward systemic change to end shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for people born with intersex conditions


Ambiente Joven
A Spanish-language site for Latino YMSM and Latino/a GLBTQ youth. Peer educators provide information and support on sexual health issues.

Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 
(888) THE-GLNH 
Peer counseling, information, referrals; M-F 4 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sat. 12-5 p.m. EST; toll-free and anonymous

MySistahs: A Project of Advocates for Youth
A site for young women’s health created by and for young women of color

National Youth Advocacy Coalition
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition maintains the nation’s largest resource clearinghouse on information about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people, as well as access to hundreds of LGBTQ youth and youth-serving agencies nationwide.

“Young Women Who Have Sex with Women: Falling through the Cracks for Sexual Health Care”
Health educators often assume that young women who have sex with women are at little or no risk for HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy when, in fact, risk behaviors and barriers to health care put us at risk for all three.


World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)

Creates standards of care (SOC) and ethical guidelines regarding the care of people with gender identity disorders.

International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE)
IFGE advocates for freedom of gender expression, and promotes “the understanding and acceptance of All People: Transgender, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Agender, Gender Queer, Intersex, Two Spirit, Drag King, Drag Queen, Queer, Straight, Butch, Femme, Homosexual, Bisexual, Heterosexual, and of course—You!” 

National Center for Transgender Equality

The National Coalition For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Health
Information on LGBT health; includes Love Your Body! A Transwoman’s Guide to Health and Wellness (.pdf)and Respect Your Body! A Transman’s Guide to Health & Wellness (.pdf).
“Recommendations for Transgender Health Care,” Transgender Law Center
Vital suggestions on how to improve health care for transgender people

Survivor Project
Dedicated to addressing the needs of intersex and trans survivors of domestic and sexual violence

Transgender Aging Network
Advocacy and support for future and aging transgendered individuals, as well as for their friends and family

Started by a group of doctors who were directly caring for the transgender community, this website offers a repository of educational and informational offerings, including information on hormonal therapies, transition, electrolysis, surgeries and general health care issues.


The GLMA-Columbia University White Paper on LGBT Health report, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health: Findings and Concerns” (.pdf).
This report examines the health of lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Healthy People 2010 Companion Document for LGBT Health 
Healthy People 2010, a ten-year federal initiative to improve the nation’s health, includes sexual orientation for the first time. The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association a contract to gather experts to write a companion document. The document addresses access to health care, cancer, smoking, mental health, and more, and sets clear objectives for improving our health and our interactions with the system.

The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding
A 2011 Report from the Institute of Medicine.

Companion Pages:  1  2  3  4  5 

Written by: Shannon Berning
Last revised: April 2005

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