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Still more to do to make healthcare safe for our LGBTQIA+ communities

12 Apr 2022

What’s it like to access healthcare as a LGBTQIA+ patient? 

Key points
  • Accessing healthcare as a LGBTQIA+ patient is the focus in the latest Taking care episode..
  • We hear from patients Jasper and Toby about their healthcare journeys and challenges.
  • They offer their advice for others experiencing the same and what practitioners can be doing to better support these communities. 


In this episode of Taking care, we hear from writer and editor Jasper Peach and comedian and writer Toby Halligan about their experiences accessing healthcare as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Jasper, who now has a supportive relationship with their GP, details how this wasn’t always that way and that they received little support from health practitioners on their journey to parenting. They detail their experience attending birthing classes ahead of the birth of their first child.

‘I left that birthing class feeling like I was out of place, that I didn’t belong, and I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing by becoming a parent because that space was not for me. The language wasn’t for me. I felt really like I was a problem.’

Toby’s recovery from a traumatic experience meant he needed additional healthcare support. Despite admitting himself into a mental health facility, he struggled to get safe and respectful care.

‘The overwhelming sense I got was they kinda looked at me, 37-year-old gay dude, and thought okay party dude.

‘As a gay man there was a sense of being invisible. There was, for example, no pastoral care services that were actually appropriate for a gay person,’ Toby said.

Despite all of this, Toby remains optimistic that things can, and are, improving.

‘The way it gets better is … you got to keep on going. And it will be unbearably hard at times but there are people who care, and there are people who will listen.’

For practitioners, understanding how to be an ally of the communities is a huge first step.

Jasper explains that ‘seeing things on the wall like a rainbow tick or a poster or some sort of representation is really helpful. Someone having an ally badge on their lanyard is really helpful.’

Jasper adds that it can’t be on the patient to educate and advocate. Practitioners have a responsibility too.

‘Being up to date with language is just as important … our pronouns. The correct terminology… that’s not who I am, and someone has just told me that’s how they see me, and now I don’t feel safe,’ Jasper said.


Did you know?

The Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest Taking care episode today.

Ahpra releases a new episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking Care’ in your podcast player.

Contact us

  • For media enquiries, phone (03) 8708 9200. 
  • If you have questions or feedback about the podcast, email [email protected]
  • For registration enquiries, please phone 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 9285 3010 (overseas callers).
Page reviewed 12/04/2022