Person Centred Care – Gay Lesbian Transgendered Bi-sexual and Intersexed Population

In the wake of discussions around person centred care and what that means, this seems a good time to talk about acceptance of the Gay Lesbian Transgendered, Bi-Sexual and Intersexed (GTLBI) individuals among us.  Talk is cheap and easy, and personally, I can’t wait until people walk the walk; and walk it with sincerity.

The GTLBI among us already have an uphill battle.  They are a unique, custom fit in an off the rack world.  This isn’t easy.  Acceptance is often only given lip service, and not even that in some strata of society.

Patients who fall into this “category” or demographic find that they are often treated differently by the health care system and our staff within it; sometimes with acceptance, sometimes with discomfort  and sometimes, with outright hostility.  This may lead a GTLBI patient to hide who they are, or not give a full history for fear of how they will be perceived or treated.  This can potentially affect their diagnosis, care and clinical course.  This cannot be allowed to happen.

An acquaintance of mine, when sharing that her son was gay, said:  “John decided to be gay.”  I pointed out to her that John didn’t choose to be gay, it chose him.  Who would choose to ensure an added layer of difficulty in their lives?  Who would choose to have to fight for acceptance, or worse, think they must hide who they really are?  Who indeed?  However, there are many among us, that for them, it is their reality.

One of my brothers and one of my sons are gay.  My life is enriched by knowing so many people in and connected to the GTLBI community.  My wish for others is that they were as fortunate as I to know so many smart and loving people.

Personally and as a society, we must continually strive to accept people as individuals and not judge by sexual orientation, religion, race or culture.  If you find you are only able to love or care for people who adhere to a narrow set of beliefs or have a lifestyle that you have deemed acceptable, you are most unfortunate. To view any part of life, any human being, through a lens of bigotry, is to choose to be truly blind.  Anyone can be a bigot – it is easy and it is a choice.  It is not as easy, and it takes real grace to see the worth and dignity in every life.  This is also a choice.

Life is a beautiful tapestry, full of amazing texture and colour, woven by the lives and stories of each one of us.  The very best of humanity, the many faces of love and hope are  measured not by sexual orientation or the colour of our skin, but in the richness of our souls and the depth of our character. Each unique thread contributes to the beauty of the whole.

We should embrace the good in people, not for whom they choose to love, but because they choose to love.  The GTLBI community has had to cope with scorn and prejudice.  Partly because of that or possibly because of that, I find that my GTLBI friends often withhold judgement and accept the differences of others with an enviable ease and grace; unquestionably setting the standard for the rest of us.