One of the ways you can get the best health care possible is to be open and honest with your doctor. Coming out is always a personal choice, but it can actually improve the care you get from your doctor.
Do I have to come out to my doctor?
Being as open and honest as possible with your doctor, nurse, or counselor about your sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual behaviors can help them know what’s needed to give you the best care possible.
If you’re under 18 and are concerned about privacy, it’s ok to ask your doctor about confidentiality before you share any information with them. The things that you and your doctor talk about during your visit will generally be completely private, unless there’s a situation where they feel you may be in danger of hurting yourself, hurting others, or being hurt by someone else.
Here are some tips for being open with your doctor:
Get referrals. Ask LGBTQ people in your area who they see. Planned Parenthood provides high-quality health services to all patients — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Your local LGBTQ center probably has a list of LGBTQ-friendly places, too. You can also check out the GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality Provider Directory.
Bring a friend. If you’re feeling nervous about coming out to your doctor or talking about your sexual orientation or gender identity, bring along a trusted friend or support person.
Ask ahead of time if your doctor has experience with LGBTQ patients. You can ask this on the phone before you give your information.
Ask questions. Make a list of questions (about your health, staying safe, support services, etc.) you want to ask ahead of time so you won’t forget anything at your appointment.