Hospital Receptionist Insists On Calling Woman’s Same-Sex Partner Her ‘Friend’

A pioneering report reveals how doctors and nurses really treat LGBTQ women.

A new report analyzed the experiences of LGBTQ women in health care. The study, led by researchers in the U.K., spanned eight years, and its findings are disturbing, to say the least.

Many women in the study reported that they were treated differently by healthcare professionals after they revealed their sexuality or gender identity. For example, one trans woman reported waking up in a male ward after surgery. Other women said that their same-sex partners were never acknowledged properly.

“[The receptionist] refused to put down my partner’s name and partner/next of kin, kept saying, ‘I’ll just put friend,'” one participant said. “I said, ‘No, I want you to put partner,’ and she looked at me all lips pursed and said, ‘I’ll just put friend.”

Another woman who accompanied her partner echoed a similar experience: “The locum first ignored my introduction as ‘partner’ and continued to call me ‘friend’ for the rest of the session.”

The study’s lead author, professor Catherine Meads of Anglia Ruskin University, says that the report uncovers a “worrying lack of knowledge” of LGBTQ women.

“These studies found significant barriers to sexual minority women, highlighting the need for explicit and consistent education for healthcare professionals on the issues facing these women,” Meads said.

Meads added that this is the first review to explicitly focus on LGBTQ women’s experiences in health care in the U.K.


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