Why am I being asked about my sexual orientation and gender identity?
These questions are asked of all adolescent and adult patients, regardless of age, gender, race, marital status, income level, etc. Like questions about physical and mental health, a patient’s gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual health are also important for delivering appropriate health services. Every patient has unique health needs. Research shows the needs of some groups are going unmet because these groups are often invisible within our healthcare system, e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc.
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is a person’s inner sense of their gender. For example, a person may identify as male, female, as a combination of male and female, another gender or no gender at all (non-binary). Gender identity can also be fluid over time, shifting from one to another.
What does transgender mean?
Transgender people have a gender identity that is not the same as their sex at birth.
- Transgender man (Female to Male)
- Transgender woman (Male to Female)
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation is how a person describes their emotional and sexual attraction to others, for example:
- Heterosexual (straight)
How do I choose the correct information?
There are no right or wrong answers. If you don’t find an answer that fits, you can choose “Not Listed,” or you can talk with your provider.
Who will see this information?
Your provider(s) will see this information, and it will become part of your medical record. In addition, a few other staff will have access to this information. Your information is confidential and protected by law, just like all of your other health information.
What if I don’t want to share this information?
Your provider is asking these questions because it’s an important factor in your medical diagnosis and treatment, however, you have the option to check the box “Choose not to disclose.” Later, your provider may ask you these questions privately during your visit. You can choose whether to share this information at that point, and/or you can ask your provider more questions.
How will this information be used?
Your provider(s) will use this information to help meet your healthcare needs. In addition, gathering this information from all patients allows the health center to see if there are gaps in care or services across different populations. Learning this tells us if we need to improve the care we give to our patients.