Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Health
We know that visiting a health care provider can be stressful for anyone, but for some of us, that feeling can be magnified because of fear of discrimination or being misunderstood.
UHS works to provide affirming health and wellness services, so you can be treated well and stay well. We continue to educate our staff, plus improve systems and communications, to better welcome and serve all students and other visitors, no matter their needs and concerns.
On this page:
Tips for students and other visitors to UHS who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer
We invite you to talk openly and honestly with UHS staff. When you make an appointment, we will ask you questions that will help us match you with a clinician and ensure that you will have enough time during your visit to get your needs met. We hope you will feel comfortable to disclose enough information to our appointment schedulers so they can help you best.
During your visit, you may be asked questions that could be hard to discuss, so you may want to prepare in advance to answer questions that are relevant to your reason for visit, which may include your family health history and your own health history and behaviors, including use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, sexual behavior, and domestic violence. The clinician's request for sensitive information is part of the UHS experience for all patients/students when establishing a professional working relationship, regardless of an individual's sexual orientation/gender identity, in order to provide the best services and care for each person.
All UHS services are confidential by law. See Confidentiality for details.
Choose a clinician:
We recommend that you find a clinician with whom you feel comfortable working and then return to see that clinician for future health care. The clinician can get to know you, and, by developing a relationship, you can optimize your health care and feel safer discussing any concerns. (Of course, you can change clinicians at any time.) Feel free to ask friends or an appointment scheduler for a recommendation. You can request a clinician by name or by gender. See Clinician Profiles for a list.
Prepare for your visit:
Lots of people get nervous and their minds go blank in health care situations, so it may be helpful to prep a little. You can make the best use of your time by writing down questions and bringing them to your visit. Also, you may want to learn about health issues that you as a person who identifies as LGBTQ may face -- see More Information for good resources.
Keep your own documentation:
Maintaining copies of your health information is a good way to take ownership of your body, health and health care. Keep a record of what happened at each visit plus anything you want to follow up on.
Give us your feedback:
We hope that you have a good experience when you come to UHS. We invite you to tell us about your experience, because feedback provides us an important learning opportunity and helps us determine ways to improve our services and procedures. We address all complaints, and the more specific you are, the better we will be able to fix the problem. If you choose to include your name and a means to contact you, we will follow up with you. Please use any of the routes on the Feedback webpage. Your feedback will be shared with appropriate staff.
Especially for Trans and gender-queer folks
Although your gender identity may not fit neatly into any "gender" box, many health care practices and insurance benefits depend on how the gender box is marked. We recognize that this can be a point of frustration; please understand that UHS must operate within industry standards and practices, specifically:
- The selection of sex can impact your health care. You may have legally changed names and gender identity, but things such as lab reference ranges --which often differ for males and females -- and appropriate preventive services (e.g. mammograms and PAP smears, prostate cancer screenings, etc.) are better managed when the medical record represents your biological sex.
- For billing and reimbursement, it is important to understand that your selection of sex in the medical record needs to agree with the sex the payer (e.g. health insurance) has on file in order to avoid claim rejections.
At UHS, you can visit wherever it is appropriate for the issue you want to address and where you feel most comfortable, and here are suggestions:
- Regardless of your gender identity, if you are having a general health issue such as a sore throat, headache, or mental health issue, your needs would be best served in the Medical Clinic. See Get Health Care at UHS.
- If you need an annual physical exam and/or have a concern regarding "male" organs (penis, testicles, etc.) please schedule an appointment in the Medical Clinic.
- If you need an annual physical exam and/or have a concern regarding "female" organs (vagina, uterus, etc.), you can go to either the Medical Clinic or Women's Health Clinic. There are clinicians in both the Women's Health Clinic and the Medical Clinic who can perform a pelvic exam and address most gynecologic issues, so choose the place where you will feel most comfortable. The Women's Health Clinic shares a waiting area with Psychiatry and Audiology Clinics, so the waiting area is used a variety of patients.
If you are transitioning medically (through hormone therapy and/or surgery), you may need to work with your insurance company to document changes so they will cover benefits.
UHS clinicians can provide medical management for patients on stable hormone regimens, however they cannot currently initiate hormone therapy.
If you are considering surgical transition, please note:
Other campus resources
University Housing offers Gender-Inclusive Housing.
The Spectrum Center offers education, outreach, advocacy and support to LGBTQ students and others.
Brown University Health Education offers information about:
For additional resources, please visit the following sites:
Go Ask Alice! Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, or Questioning Home Page
YouthResource.org - A project of Advocates for Youth
Trans Health Online Magazine
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Gender Education and Advocacy