When working in sexual health services, it’s important to demonstrate an inclusive process, where the wellbeing and comfort of all can be assured. This helps the service to become better trusted in the community but is it enough to just think that you are inclusive? What do you do to actively promote this concept?
Many LGBTIQ+ community members still face barriers to health care access and this can have a negative impact on their overall health long term. Many report experiencing homophobia, whether overtly or more subtly and this can put them off seeking advice and help for medical matters, particularly with regards to their sexual health. Recognising a person’s gender, sexuality and relationships is integral to their general health and wellbeing. For those feeling unable to access in-person healthcare, there are options available such as Home STI kits Bexley. For more information on Home STI kits Bexley, visit a site like Bexley Sexual Health.
So, what steps can be taken to ensure a more inclusive environment?
Educate Yourself – There are an increasing number of resources available now that can shine a light on the issues faced by the LGBTIQ+ community. It is vital to comprehend the barriers faced in order to improve access to services. Software is now available that can improve the way an organisation records sensitive patient information. It is able to differentiate in recording a person’s sex at birth, their gender and their gender expression. This also means that transgender and gender diverse individuals don’t have to feel forced to log their details in a false or misrepresentative way.
Audit To Consider Inclusion – An audit of an organisation’s data collection can often provide opportunities to amend how questions are asked and to review what information really needs to be collected from patients. Be careful of being too intrusive and only collect information that is required. You want patients to feel they can offer information if they wish to but are not forced to. Remember that systems should fit the patients and not the other way round.
Consult – Asking for help is a great way of showing your commitment to inclusivity. There are training courses, consultants and tailored workshops that can be arranged to help educate staff and promote action towards encouraging LGBTIQ+ individuals to feel welcome.
Advertise Your Inclusion Efforts – If you want the community to know about your inclusive efforts then be sure to tell them about it. Once you have done the research and feel empowered, put out a supportive statement on your social media channels and website, for example. Include preferred pronouns on staff badges and email signatures. Support local and national LGBTIQ+ events and perhaps create a safe space and all gender bathroom, for example.
Listen And Learn – Always be open-minded and open to feedback and criticism. When you come across transphobia or homophobia, even if they present in forms of microaggressions, call them out. Be willing to learn and change, adjusting your behaviour to ensure a more inclusive environment for all.