Finding a queer health care provider
Finding a queer health care provider can be a journey in and of itself. Resources on the internet, asking queer friends or family, or seeking out resources from your local/online LGBTQ resource centers can help you find health care that fits you.
Use search engines to find health care providers
The internet is a great place to search for a queer-friendly health care provider. Curate your search online for providers who specify they work with queer people or identify as queer or LGBTQIA themselves. For example, you could google "LGBTQ primary care providers near me" or "gender-affirming providers."
If you’re considering telehealth, you'll still want to search within your state for affirming clinicians or health care professionals. While telehealth is an excellent tool for connecting you to providers who are far away or in major cities, providers must be licensed in your state to provide telehealth care. For more information on telehealth regulations, you can always check with the provider before scheduling a virtual health care appointment. You can also visit the American Telehealth Association (ATA) website for updates on federal and state telehealth policy and legislation.
There are several queer databases available to search for LGBTQ-friendly providers. You can find LGBTQ health services listed by state on the CDC website. Additionally, the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) has an interactive map with LGBTQ-friendly facilities.
GLMA, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, has an LGBTQ+ Health Directory. You can search for primary care, trans and nonbinary health, PrEP, and more. Type in what kind of care you need and your zip code, and be directed to affirming providers near you. Out Care also has a directory to find LGBTQ providers by specialty and state.
Affirming mental health providers
You can also find affirming mental health providers on the Psychology Today website. It's a fairly user-friendly directory that allows you to search for therapists in your zip code. You can search by price, "issues," insurance, sexuality, and more. Under "Issues," there is an option for "Transgender." Under "Sexuality," there is an option for "LGBTQ+." Selecting the right search filters can connect you with the right therapist.
Additionally, check out Facebook groups to find LGBTQIA+-affirming mental health clinicians. Find a Facebook group for networking for mental health professionals in a particular state and make a post focusing on the traits of the therapist you desire. For example, if you are seeking a therapist of a similar gender (or no gender), insurance is accepted, or special areas of expertise (like LGBTQIA+ or trans health and well-being). Note that some groups only allow other therapists to join, so be sure to check the group rules.
For queer people of color, having a queer therapist of color might feel important. Studies show BIPOC LGBTQ folks experience more significant psychosocial stress. White therapists may not understand the full impact of racial microaggressions people of color experience. One directory of queer-competent and queer-identified therapists includes the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN).
Provider search tips:
- Search within your state
- Consider telehealth
- Consider nearby towns/cities in your state
Ask a trusted provider or your queer friends
If you already have a PCP (primary care provider) but want to work with an LGBTQ-affirming health provider, ask your existing provider for recommendations. Most clinicians want what is best for their clients and will happily help with a referral. For example, FOLX clinicians and care teams help members find LGBTQ-affirming resources and providers near them.
You can also ask your LGBTQ friends and family for recommendations for queer-affirming providers. Often, clinics and queer-centered health care facilities are in larger cities, but they're sometimes in smaller towns, too. If you're able, visit your local LGBTQ center to get more information about queer-friendly clinics nearby.
How can you tell if a practice or provider is queer-friendly?
Aside from queer flags and listings as LGBTQ-friendly, how can you really tell if your future clinician is an ally and advocate? Check if they highlight queer, trans, nonbinary, or transgender health in their specialties. Do they have current (or previous) associations with LGBTQ centers, advocacy groups, or professional organizations? You can also check if they are familiar with WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) guidelines if you are looking for transgender-knowledgable care.
A lot of the time, you may have to test the waters before knowing if your provider is queer-friendly. Read reviews online before making an appointment with a prospective health care professional. You can always ask a few questions to the front office staff before making an appointment to do a temperature check.
Questions to ask before an appointment to see if a doctor's office is LGBTQ-friendly include:
- Do you work with transgender or gender-diverse patients?
- Are you familiar with prescribing hormone therapy, including gender-affirming hormone therapy?
- What training(s) have you or your staff completed to better understand working with queer people?
- What would you do if I shared something you weren't familiar with or educated on regarding LGBQ or transgender issues?
- What would you do if I shared something you needed to be educated on that part of my identity or experience?
When you go for a visit, assess if you feel respected and comfortable. Make sure your provider uses your correct pronouns, your chosen name, and takes your health issues seriously.
Is it better to have an LGBTQ health care provider?
Having a health care provider who shares an identity with you has been linked to a better health care experience and is known as concordant care. The definition of concordance means "in agreement." Concordant care is based on a shared cultural identity.
Feeling seen and heard by a clinician often creates stronger and more meaningful patient-clinician relationships. Folks are more likely to engage with their provider and follow through on their care plans when the care is collaborative and aligns closely with their goals as a patient.
Over 80% of FOLX clinicians identify as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. All are trained specifically in providing LGBTQIA health care. Many FOLX clinicians have published peer-reviewed articles on LGBTQIA health. Our clinicians present at national LGBTQ conferences, including WPATH, on trans health and gender care, and are leaders within the LGBTQIA+ community.
Benefits of an LGBTQIA or LGBTQIA-affirming provider
- Understands the additional health needs of being queer
- Familiar with discrimination for identity
- Aware of the societal implications of having to come out
- Competent in gender diversity and gender-affirming care
Expert LGBTQIA health providers are well-versed in the unique needs of LGBTQ folks. This means more effective screenings, education, and non-judgemental counseling. It feels better to get care from a provider you can trust, and from someone who understands your experience, inside and out.
FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!