Greater access to information in a digital age, combined with more positive media images contributes to data suggesting that LGBTQ individuals are coming out at a younger age than previous generations. Dominion Hospital, a recognized leader regarding equity and inclusion of LGBTQ patients, visitors, and staff, is proud to provide care that is affirming and inclusive. Dominion’s specially trained staff draw on knowledge and skills enabling effective work with LGBTQ individuals, critical to improve patient outcomes and quality or care.
Although most LGBTQ individuals are physically and mentally healthy, some are at elevated risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, obesity, substance use disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders and other body image-related concerns, peer bullying, and family rejection. These individuals may also avoid seeking healthcare due to fear of discrimination, and even when in care, may fear disclosure of sexual orientation or gender identity, and resultantly withhold important context from their healthcare providers (Hadland, Yehia, & Makadon, 2016).
Dominion Hospital recognizes the diverse backgrounds and needs of our patients, and strives to foster an inclusive environment through the provision of competent, considerate, and respectful care. Individuals engage in a safe and supportive setting that fosters their comfort and dignity, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Tips for Families:
- Engage with your family member...Ask questions, listen, empathize, share, and just be there for them.
- Go back to school...Get the facts about sexual orientation and gender identity. Learn new and correct language and terminology to communicate effectively.
- Get to know the community...What resources are available? Is there an alliance at school? A community center nearby?
- Explore the Internet...There is a growing amount of excellent information that connects people with supports and materials.
- Find out where your local Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meets...Finding another person you can trust to share your experience with is invaluable.
- Don’t make it all there is...Just because someone has come out as LGBT does not mean that their whole world revolves around sexual orientation or gender identity. It will be a big part, but it is vital do encourage and engage in other aspects of life such as school, work, sports, hobbies, friends, etc.
- Ask your family member before you “come out” to others on their behalf...Be respectful of what they want. Don’t betray trust!
- Praise your family member for involving you in discussions...Encourage them to keep you “in the know.” If they are sharing personal information, you must be doing something right! You are askable. You’re sending our consistent verbal and non-verbal cues that say, “Yes, I’ll listen. Please talk to me.”
- Find out what kind of support, services, and education are in place at your child’s school...Do they have an anti-discrimination policy? Is there a LGBT support group?
- Educate yourself on local, state, and national laws and policies regarding LGBT people. Consider educating yourself and finding out if you are interested in becoming an advocate yourself.
*Adapted from http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index