Community health centers provide culturally and linguistically competent care to limited English proficient (LEP) patients, including those who identify as LGBTQI+. Providing care in your patient’s primary language is key to patient-centered care.
In 2021, health centers served more than seven million patients for whom English is not their strongest language. They also served more than 600,000 lesbian, gay, or bisexual patients and more than 80,000 transgender patients.
The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center has a resource for those who are both LEP and LGBTQ. The Health Resources Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care awarded a cooperative agreement to the Center to develop and deliver free training and technical assistance to health centers throughout the country.
Among their resources is a pamphlet for patients called Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Questions: Information for Patients. It explains why health centers may ask about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), what these terms mean, and how the health center will protect their information. The pamphlet is available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, English, Farsi, Haitian Creole, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
The pamphlet also explains that collecting SOGI information helps the provider offer culturally responsive care that focuses on the patient’s specific needs. It explains specific terms like transgender, bisexual, and pronouns. It goes on to assure the patient that the information is confidential and protected by law, just like all health information. Armed with these tools, providers can create a welcoming environment for their LGBTQI+ patients in 11 languages.