Bright Spaces, Welcome Places

Understanding and Affirming LGBTQ+ Lives in Healthcare Settings

To ensure quality care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) patients, Fierce Pride has identified five policies and practices that mental health agencies and medical clinics can adopt to make their practice welcoming and inclusive to LGBTQ+ people. Agencies and clinics who have or who adopt two or more of the above stated policies may be added to the Bright Spaces, Welcome Places Online Directory. Individuals looking for mental health and medical health services can search for agencies that have LGBTQ+ affirming polices. Additionally, agencies listed in our directory will be given an LGBTQ+ art print created by a New Mexico LGBTQ+ artist.

5 Policies for LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Healthcare Settings

1) Adopt and post a nondiscrimination policy that explicitly includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Healthcare settings have historically discriminated against LGBTQ+ people, and many LGBTQ+ people do not seek mental health or health care services due to past negative experiences or a fear of negative experiences. It is important for health care organizations to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their nondiscrimination policy. Click here for examples of nondiscrimination policies.

The nondiscrimination policy should be visibly and clearly posted at the facility, in print materials, and online. This creates a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people by ensuring this policy is communicated to patients and their families. Including the nondiscrimination policy in job listings and the employee handbook can help attract and support a diverse LGBTQ+-identified staff.

To further the nondiscrimination policy within inpatient facilities, create an LGBTQ-inclusive visitation policy. Define “families” broadly to include non-married partners, families of choice who may not be biologically related, and parents acting in loco parentis who may not be biologically or legally related to their child.

Nondiscrimination policies are more meaningful when there is a well-defined process for reporting and responding to any discrimination complaints. Clear directions for reporting should be posted with the nondiscrimination policy and communicated to staff and patients.