Best Practices in Supporting LGBTQ+ Communities

At The Summit on Cancer Health Disparities 2024, in the session titled “Best Practices in Serving LGBTQ+ Communities,Nakita Venus (they/them) and Elle Brooks (she/they) from Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, delved into the importance of understanding health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community, and subsequently best practices.  


This begins by employing non-gendered language and creating a gender-affirming space within organizational settings, mainly focusing on healthcare environments catering to the LGBTQ community. This approach advocates for the utilization of gender-neutral language, such as using “they/them” pronouns and non-specific salutations like “Mx.” instead of “Mr.” or “Ms.” It emphasizes addressing individuals by their names to prevent assumptions about gender. It extends to modifying intake forms and training staff to ensure that every client feels respected and valued, emphasizing the use of visual aids and guides, as well as providing access to LGBTQ-specific resources. 


These practices are part of a broader initiative to make health services more inclusive and affirming, reflected in the scenarios provided for training purposes. These scenarios help staff practice gender-affirming language when addressing health concerns, ensuring that their language and actions do not inadvertently cause discomfort or perpetuate stigma. 


The presenters also touched on their organizational mission, which promotes self-determination, liberation, and joy among the LGBTQ community. This mission underpins the array of services offered, from health services to community programs, all designed to support the diverse identities within the LGBTQ spectrum. Overall, the presentation emphasized the importance of inclusive practices in fostering an environment where all individuals can feel safe, respected, and cared for, aligning organizational operations with the core values of respect and inclusivity.  



Omair Syed, MD, MPH, is a PGY3 Internal Medicine resident at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA, and future chief resident, who will be applying for Hematology/Oncology fellowship.  



No disclosures or conflicts of interest


Sign Up for our Newsletter

Coverage of the latest in oncology news and patient-centered care sent to your inbox.

All Categories...

In same category