University Health Service

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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 patients who identify as LGBTQ:

Communication:
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.

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.

If you'd like us to use a "preferred name," you can notify UHS staff. Once our electronic health record is updated with your preferred name, that name would be used in all future communications and visits.

Confidentiality:
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 non-conforming folks:

Although your gender identity may not fit neatly into any "gender" box, many health care practices and insurance benefits depend on how the patient's sex is described in the health record. We recognize that this can be a point of frustration. The sex indicated in your health record may be important in the following ways: 

  • The selection of sex can impact your health care. While you may have legally changed names and/or gender identity, but things such as preventive services (e.g. mammograms and Pap tests, prostate cancer screenings, etc.) are better managed when the medical record represents your biological sex.
  • For billing and reimbursement, your selection of sex in the health record needs to agree with the sex the payer (e.g. health insurance) has on file in order to avoid claim rejections.

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. The UHS Managed Care/Student Insurance Office can help you work with your insurance company. 

At UHS, you can visit the clinic that is appropriate for the issue you want to address and where you feel most comfortable, Here are some 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 Schedule an Appointment.
  • The Medical Clinic is also the best choice for concerns involving the penis, testicles or related sex organs. 
  • If you need an annual physical exam and/or have a concern regarding the vagina, uterus, or related sex organs, 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.

UHS clinicians can provide medical management for patients on stable hormone regimens, however they cannot currently initiate hormone therapy. See below for alternative options. 

If you are considering medical transition, please note: 

Identifying LGBTQ+-affirming therapists

Affirmations Health and Wellness Network is a directory of SE Michigan healthcare providers who affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. 

When looking for a therapist, you could ask: 

Here are some keywords and phrases that you may want to listen for:

  • Humanistic
  • Feminist
  • Multicultural
  • Kink-aware
  • Poly-aware
  • Social justice
  • Empowerment
  • Oppression
  • Identity exploration
  • Diverse
  • Intersectional
  • Ally/advocate

Other campus resources:

University Housing offers Gender-Inclusive Housing.

The Spectrum Center offers education, outreach, advocacy and support to LGBTQ students and others. 

More information:

Brown University Health Education offers information about:

Healthy Bodies, Safer Sex is a booklet for trans/non-binary people and their partners around safer sex, relationships, and overall wellness, from Florida State University.

For additional resources, please visit the following sites: