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Most information on the CarerHelp website is useful and relevant for carers who are LGBTIQA+. This page highlights some additional considerations for carers who are LGBTIQA+ or are caring for someone who is LGBTIQA+.
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Many LGBTIQA+ people have prior negative experiences that have left them feeling wary about engaging with the health system. Issues of discrimination, judgement or ignorance surrounding LGBTIQA+ status can be a result of inexperienced health professionals or a lack of training in working with LGBTIQA+ communities. For example, many intersex people have trauma from invasive, non-consensual medical procedures in the past that make hospitals feel unsafe. Additionally, transgender people can find navigating the healthcare system challenging as assumptions are made about their pronouns.
Health care practitioners can make a range of assumptions around the role a carer plays in a person’s life. It is common for practitioners to make assumptions that a person’s carer is a friend or relative instead of acknowledging them as a partner.
This can result in patients and carers feeling that their individual needs are not being met. We all have the right to quality healthcare that caters for individual need and choice.
Carers are an important part of our healthcare system and have the right to feel supported and respected. If a health professional has treated you or the person you are caring for in a discriminatory or disrespectful way, or is not meeting your needs, you have the right to:
It is a personal choice to disclose any details of your relationship, sexual orientation or identity to health professionals.
Regardless of what you want to communicate, you should feel safe to be able to make this decision for yourself and be supported by the health care practitioners you engage with.
LGBTIQA+ people can experience negative responses from their family of origin around their identity and life decisions. This can often result in a breakdown in family relationships.
As a response to this, LGBTIQA+ people often recognise the concept of ‘chosen family’ – that is, people who are not related by blood who nevertheless are close, meaningful family connections.
Sometimes estranged biological family members can suddenly reappear in people’s lives at the end of life. This can cause stress and conflict for the carer as well as the person who is being cared for. Questions and conflict can arise over who gets to make health related decisions, who is privy to healthrelated information, who is the primary carer, who plans the funeral and what happens to the person’s estate after death. Sometimes there are issues around who knows about the person’s LGBTIQA+ identity or about a person’s relationship. The best way to ensure that the person’s end of life preferences are carried out is to have conversations early and document any decisions.
Formal documentation may include:
It is important that you feel like you can celebrate the person’s life in the way that is most meaningful to you and the person you are caring for.
This may include:
Carer Gateway has a list of organisations that provide support for LGBTIQA+ carers