Celebrating Pride by ensuring inclusive medical care
Celebrating Pride is something we do year-round, though the month of June brings us all together to collectively advocate for and support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The College’s Access to Medical Care Without Discrimination practice standard is clear that discrimination in the provision of medical services is prohibited in British Columbia under the BC Human Rights Code, which ensures protection for individuals who are actual or perceived members of certain groups, such as those classified by characteristics or protected grounds, including gender and sexual orientation.
Registrants have an obligation to uphold the principles of inclusivity, respect, and non-discrimination when caring for patients from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. This extends beyond providing medical treatment; it includes creating safe and welcoming spaces where individuals can feel comfortable and supported in their health-care journey.
The College encourages registrants to consider the following:
- Education and awareness: Stay informed about the unique health needs and disparities faced by 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, including the challenges they may encounter in accessing health care and how to address them appropriately. Organizations like Qmunity, Trans Care BC and other reputable sources can provide valuable resources and guidelines.
- Inclusive language: Use inclusive language and terminology that respects and affirms individuals' gender identities and sexual orientations, including using gender-neutral language when appropriate, asking for pronouns, and avoiding assumptions based on appearance or stereotypes.
- Safe environment: Create an inclusive and safe environment including displaying visible symbols of 2SLGBTQIA+ support, such as rainbow flags or inclusive signage. Office staff should be respectful and supportive and understand the importance of confidentiality and maintaining patients' privacy.
- Cultural competency: Cultivate cultural competency and sensitivity to the diverse experiences within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Recognize that identities and experiences can intersect, and individuals may face multiple forms of discrimination. Be open to learning and adapting to address each patient's unique needs and concerns.
- Patient-centered care: Provide patient-centered care by actively involving 2SLGBTQIA+ patients in their health-care decisions. Respect their autonomy and involve them in developing treatment plans where possible.
- Referral networks: Establish a network of trusted 2SLGBTQIA+-friendly health-care providers and specialists to whom you can refer patients when necessary. Collaborating with professionals experienced in providing gender-affirming care can help ensure comprehensive and appropriate treatment options.
- Policy and advocacy: Advocate for policies that protect the health and well-being of 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals. Support initiatives that promote equality, non-discrimination, and access to health care for all. Engage with local organizations and participate in Pride events or community initiatives that celebrate diversity and raise awareness.
By embracing these principles and incorporating them into practice, registrants can contribute to a more inclusive health-care environment and help advance the cause of equality and dignity for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Health Standards of Care Version 8 (2022)
Canadian Medical Protective Association, Treating transgender and non-binary individuals (2023)
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Promoting 2SLGBTQI+ Health Equity (2021)