June marks Pride Month! Pharmacists working with patients have a duty to ensure that they can provide inclusive services to LGBTQ+ patients and ensure that they can serve everyone and their healthcare needs. Here are a few of the many things pharmacists are doing to ensure that they provide inclusive and LGBTQ+ competent healthcare to their patients.
Language matters and is constantly evolving. Pharmacists across the country have started incorporating practices to ensure their patients can express their gender identity, such as introducing themselves with their preferred pronouns or wearing a pronoun pin.
Language is also fluid, and the terms deemed acceptable a few years ago might be offensive today. Pharmacists across the nation are administering and attending workshops and training to ensure that they use inclusive language for their patients. Here are some commons terms that pharmacists are incorporating into their practice:
|Heterosexual – describes a person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to people of a different gender; also referred to as straight|
|Bisexual – describes a person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to people of more than one sex, gender, or gender identity; also referred to as pansexual|
|Lesbian – describes a woman who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to other women|
|Gay – describes a man who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to other men; often used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ+ individuals|
|Queer – a term people use to express LGBTQ+ identities|
|Transgender – an umbrella term to refer to people whose gender identity and expression are different than cultural expectations based on the gender they were assigned at birth|
|Cisgender – people whose gender identity and expression align with those associated with their gender assigned at birth|
|Transgender Man – a person who was assigned female at birth and who identifies as a man|
|Transgender Woman – a person who was assigned male at birth and who identifies as a woman|
|Gender Expression – the external appearance of one’s gender identity|
|Genderqueer – people who reject norms associated with static gender identity and embrace a fluid gender identity; also referred to as gender-fluid|
|Gender transition – a process that people undergo to align with the gender they identify with more closely|
LBGTQ+ individuals tend to face more disparities in accessing healthcare services that are inclusive, competent, and accessible. Pharmacists are working hard to address these disparities by:
- Providing resources for prescription assistance programs
- Increasing their knowledge about healthcare conditions that disproportionately impact LGBTQ+ patients and their treatments
- Connecting patients with LGBTQ+-inclusive providers and services in their community
- Creating spaces where LGBTQ+ patients can address their healthcare needs without fear of discrimination, stigma, or violence
Pharmacies and pharmacists are building inclusive places where LGBTQ+ patients can be their authentic selves and get the healthcare they need.
Macomb Pharmacy in Michigan provides LGBTQ+-inclusive care and ensures that their patients know that their pharmacy is an inclusive place. With a dedicated page on their website that includes information on their practices, resources, and partnerships, this pharmacy is a welcoming place in their community.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center has a pharmacy on-site along with medical providers and other healthcare services. This radically inclusive approach ensures that LGBTQ+ patients can meet all of their healthcare needs in an inclusive environment without fear of stigma or discrimination.
Christina Garcia, Pharm.D., and her partner, Patricia “PJ” Nachman, opened TIN Rx Pharmacy in San Francisco after seeing the need for an LGBTQ+-centered healthcare space in their community. They built an inclusive pharmacy from the ground up and provide services to their community in a welcoming and affirming manner.
Want to learn more about inclusive pharmacy practices? Check out these resources:
- Human Rights Campaign: Providing LGBTQ-Inclusive Care and Services At Your Pharmacy
- Human Rights Campaign: Transgender and Gender Diverse Pharmacy Resource Guide
- Drug Topics: Advancing LGBTQ+-Inclusive Care: How Pharmacists Can Better Support Patients
- Pharmacy Times: How to Create an Inclusive Culture for LGBTQ+ Patients at the Pharmacy: A Practical Approach
- AACP: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Education