Promising to set new standards of more inclusive health care for GLBTI Victorians, the state’s Ministerial Advisory Group on GLBTI health has launched a ‘best practice’ guide.
The Well Proud guide was launched at the Royal Women’s Hospital by GLBTI Ministerial Advisory Committee chair Rowena Allen in the presence of Health Minister Daniel Andrews, RWH board director Felicity Pantelidis, and Well Proud working group chair Dr Ruth McNair.
The guide sets out standards of best practice for GPs and other health service professionals with recommendations including creating a welcoming environment, educating staff on GLBTI issues and using inclusive language when communicating with patients.
McNair said she hopes the guide will break the silence around sexuality and gender identity when GPs don’t want to offend a patient with questions and patients don’t feel comfortable disclosing.
“Not everyone wants to disclose their sexuality or gender identity, that’s important to note,” McNair said.
“But most people do. Most people will disclose if the environment is safe, and the key concern of a lot of GLBTI people is they want to disclose because it’s relevant to something about their health and wellbeing, but they’re not sure what the response will be.”
OutThere Rural Council deputy chair Jakob Quilligan, 18-years-old and openly gay, spoke at the launch about his experiences with health services.
“At the time [coming out] my doctor, my school and even the local neighbourhood house didn’t have any resources of the kind or even people I could talk to. I didn’t feel comfortable,” Quilligan said.
“I attended a weekend [WayOut] camp, and since that step forward, I’ve never looked back. The opportunity to meet other young people who have experiences similar to my own, and discuss this in a safe, welcoming environment made me discover I wasn’t alone, I was normal and there was still some hope.”
Quilligan said his current GP is “awesome”, however, he knows other people who haven’t been so lucky.
“I was talking recently to a lesbian friend of mine. She’s 18-years-old and said she was so fed up with going to the GP and after every single time he asks her if she’s been sexually active, and she replies yes, he insists on a pregnancy test.”
Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the guide was important to stamp out discrimination in the health sector.
“Negative attitudes and ongoing discrimination and marginalisation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity directly impact on the health and wellbeing of many members of the GLBTI community — and this we have to change,” Andrews said.

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.