Discomfort, judgment, and health care for queers

J Bioeth Inq. 2012 Jun;9(2):149-60. doi: 10.1007/s11673-012-9367-x. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


This paper draws on findings from qualitative interviews with queer and trans patients and with physicians providing care to queer and trans patients in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to explore how routine practices of health care can perpetuate or challenge the marginalization of queers. One of the most common "measures" of improved cultural competence in health care practice is self-reported increases in confidence and comfort, though it seems unlikely that an increase in physician comfort levels with queer and trans patients will necessarily mean better health care for queers. More attention to current felt discomfort in patient-provider encounters is required. Policies and practices that avoid discomfort at all costs are not always helpful for care, and experiences of shared discomfort in queer health contexts are not always harmful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bisexuality*
  • Canada
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Women's Health