In commemoration of Pride month this month, we wanted to highlight a population within society, but particularly in the field of global surgery, that is often left behind. The LGBTQ+ community has experienced high rates of discrimination and ostracization resulting in higher rates of mental illness, suicide, and even drug use. Further, LGBTQ+ patients encounter a very unique set of barriers within healthcare globally. For example, in many countries, significant others/partners of LGBTQ+ are not recognized as legal unions. This lack of legally legitimate status can pose issues when healthcare proxy decisions need to be made. Further, LGBTQ+ may have decreased number of children due to society and logistical pressures not experienced by heterosexual counterparts. This leads to a lack of access to needed elder care in regions where children and offspring predominantly handle elder care. Lastly, access to “luxury treatments” such as hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery is extremely limited around the world leaving many transgender patients without access to potentially life-saving medications and surgeries.
It is the job of clinicians to treat all patients fairly and with respect. Fair, does not necessarily mean the same, however. Recognizing how to interact with, respect, and support people of all backgrounds is essential as human beings. Putting ourselves in the shoes of other people brings new perspectives and insights. Join us in this special episode with Dr. Steven Orr as we highlight implicit bias within the surgical realm, the promotion of diversity and inclusion in surgery, and how to encourage the health and safety of all patients – regardless of sexual orientation or gender.