“I am not sharing this story to say that all doctors are closed-minded, because I know that is far from the truth…”-Anonymous
Identifying as a lesbian has definitely impacted my mental health, and I think that is the case with many of the LGBTQ+ people I know. But I also think that increased risk of developing mental health conditions are one of the more obvious and talked-about health concerns associated with our community. What people do not talk about as much is how difficult the process of finding culturally competent care. During a recent trip to the gynecologist, the doctor asked me if I was sexually active. I answered openly and honestly: yes. I was not offended or shy about this question because it is an important one to ask in the context of sexual health. What offended me, however, was that after disclosing that I was gay, the doctor began assuming that I had multiple partners.
“Are you sure you only have one partner?”
“Well I would hope so, I have been in a committed relationship for about two years now, and my girlfriend would kick me to the curb if she found out I was cheating.”
They looked at me with an uncomfortable grin, and rushed through the rest of the visit without making much eye contact. I am not sharing this story to say that all doctors are closed-minded, because I know that is far from the truth. I am sharing this story because it is important to increase transparency. After all, how is it possible to address problems if people do not know they exist?