Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Q. WHY AM I BEING ASKED ABOUT MY SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY?
Learning about the sexual orientation and gender identity of our patients helps us to better understand the populations we are serving. Is also allows us to offer culturally responsive care that focuses on a patient’s specific needs.
Q. WHAT IS GENDER IDENTITY?
Gender Identity is a person’s inner sense of being a girl/woman/female, a boy/man/male, something else, or having no gender.
The term “transgender” describes people whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not correspond based on traditional expectations.
- Transgender woman/female describes someone assigned male at birth who has a female gender identity.
- Transgender man/male describes someone assigned female
Additional gender identities includes, but are not limited to:
- Gender fluid describes someone whose gender identity is not fixed.
Genderqueer/non-binary describes people whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary of either girl/woman/ female or boy/man/male.
Q. WHAT IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION?
Sexual orientation is how people describe their emotional and physical attraction to others.
- Heterosexual (straight) describes women who are primarily attracted to men, and men who are primarily attracted to women.
- Gay describes people who are primarily attracted to the same gender as themselves. The term “gay” most commonly refers to men attracted to men.
- Lesbian describes women who are primarily attracted to other women.
- Bisexual describes people who are emotionally and physically attracted to both women/ females and men/males.
- Some people use other terms, such as queer, to describe their sexual orientation.
Q. WHAT IF I’M NOT SURE HOW TO ANSWER?
You can talk with your provider.
Q. WHAT IF NONE OF THE CATEGORIES DESCRIBE ME?
There are many sexual orientations and gender identities. Unfortunately, it is not possible to list them all. If your sexual orientation is not listed you can choose “Something Else” if your gender identity is not included, you can choose “Other” and you can use the terms you prefer to describe yourself.
Q. WHAT IS I DON’T WANT TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION?
You can “Choose not to disclose”. Later, your provider may ask you these questions privately, and you can ask your provider questions. You never have to answer if you do not want to.
Q. WHO WILL SEE THIS INFORMATION?
Your health care providers will see this information, and it may become part of your electronic health record. If a staff member enters the information into your health record, that person may also see your answers. If you have concerns, please talk with your provider.
Q. HOW WILL MY INFORMATION BE PROTECTED?
Your sexual orientation and gender identity information is confidential and protected by law, just like all of your other health information. If you are under 18 years old, your parent/guardian may have access to this information. Talk with your provider if you have concerns.
Q. HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE USED?
Your provider(s) will use this information to better understand and meet your health care needs. In addition, gathering this information from all patients allows us to identify if there are gaps in care or services across different populations.
Q. WHY WOULD MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS OR HOSPITAL ASK ABOUT PRONOUNS?
Pronouns are the words people use when they are referring to you, but not using your name. Examples of pronouns include she/her/hers, he/him/his and they/them/theirs. Asking about pronouns helps staff to correctly refer to patients. Otherwise, staff need to make assumptions, which can lead to embarrassing and disrespectful situations.
You can update your personal gender information and sexual orientation using FirsthHealth’s MyChart. Go to Account Settings, Personal Information. You can quickly update your Details About Me section.