In the box below you can record your reflections on the issues arising from this scenario. What would you do if faced with this situation in your job, or how might you advise someone you manage? After submitting your reflections, you will be able to print them out for future reference and read Stonewall’s advice and guidance on this topic.
Stonewall Scotland’s Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health research found that one-in-six gay and bisexual men (15 per cent) said that in the last year, healthcare professionals had assumed that they were straight. A third (34 per cent) have had a negative experience related to their sexual orientation.
Similarly, our Prescription for Change research found that just three in ten lesbian and bisexual women say that healthcare workers did not make inappropriate comments when they came out, and just one in nine felt that their partner was welcome during consultations.
Many LGB&T people feel that in certain situations, it’s easier to fit in with assumptions rather than run the risk of negative reactions from staff at services. In this situation, Chris chose to come out to the receptionist after initially not mentioning his sexual orientation. The receptionist assumed that Chris was in a mixed-sex relationship – referring to him as ‘the man’. Embarrassment leads to an abrupt end to the phone call.
Posters for healthcare
Stonewall have produced posters for healthcare organisations to display in their waiting rooms and other patient areas to encourage lesbian, gay and bisexual people to access health services and to advise them of what to do if they've had a bad experience when accessing treatment. These can be ordered directly from Stonewall Scotland.