Coming out for
health in West Virginia

West Virginian's deserve healthcare that pays attention to all of who you are and celebrates your sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ask for referrals. Ask friends and healthcare providers you trust about LGBTQ friendly providers in your area, or use Dr. Rainbow to locate a certified provider.Q

Ask questions. Call the provider or visit their website to see if they have a nondiscrimination policy, display a pride symbol on their website, or note areas of interest and expertise in LGBTQ people and families

Bring a friend. Have a trusted friend or partner accompany you to your appointment, or even be there in the exam room with you if you wish.

Choose a good time. Find a convenient time to come out. If your doctor asks you about birth control, say something simple like, "I'm a lesbian, and I don't have sex with with men." Or, "When I'm with men, I use XX birth control, but with women I use latex barriers."

If the issue doesn't come up on its own... tell your doctor that you know how important open communication with a healthcare provider is. Say something like, "It's important that you know I am a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender person. Is there anything else relevant to my healthcare and my sexual orientation/gender identity that we should talk about?"

Know what to ask. Learn about the specific healthcare issues that affect LGBTQ people. Be a partner in your own health. Ask what other information you can offer so your healthcare provider can give you the best and most informed care possible. 

Why does it matter? Research suggests LGBTQ individuals suffer from health disparities at greater rates than most of the general population due to their literal experience or fear of being discriminated against or stigmatized by healthcare providers.  As lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those who are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, we face unique health challenges. The only way our providers can give us the best care possible is if they are aware of issues impacting us that range from coming out to the desire to raise a family.

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Covenant House of West Virginia is dedicated to working for justice by offering direct services for people in need while creating social change through advocacy and education.

Covenant House is dedicated to social justice through our efforts to eradicate hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Our diverse faith, cultural, and belief traditions unite us in reaching out to those in need, irrespective of race, class, gender, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or national origin.