How to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community with Inclusive Intake Forms

How to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community with Inclusive Intake Forms

There are various barriers that LGBTQIA+ individuals face within the healthcare system. One of these barriers includes a lack of understanding from healthcare professionals on their lived experience. Every healthcare professional should take the time to reflect upon where they work and determine if the space and culture is welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Determining if the intake forms at your facility are inclusive may be a helpful place to start as they are often the first place that client’s disclose information. There are certain areas on an intake form that can be improved upon. As you’ll see below, when updating these areas, it is important to provide options, allow people to write in their answers, and use inclusive language.

Name

Many individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who do not change their given name to a preferred name. It is respectful to call someone by the name that they desire. Although it may be necessary to have someone include their legal name on documentation, all inclusive intake forms should have a place where they can write their preferred first, middle, and last name. If a client includes a preferred name on their intake form, this is the name that you should refer to them.

Gender

When asking clients to disclose their gender, it is important to provide various options for them to choose from. Gender is a social construct and it is not limited to male and female. Some individuals may identify with multiple genders while others are non-conforming. Since gender is fluid and can change with time, it is also helpful to have clients update their forms occasionally. Here is an example of what this question could look like:

What is your current gender identity?
My current gender identity is: __________________
Alternatively, you may also check of all that applies from the list below:

  • Female
  • Transgender Female/Transgender Woman/MTF
  • Male
  • Transgender Male/ Transgender Man/FTM
  • Two-spirit / Gender Queer / Gender Fluid
  • Non-binary/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Additional category (please specify): ______________
  • Decline to answer

Allowing clients to write in their gender identity as well as check off as many identities that applies to them is a small adjustment that can demonstrate that a facility is a safe space.

Sex

A person’s sex refers to the “male” or “female” label that was used at the time of their birth by a doctor in order to describe their genitals/reproductive system. Since gender and sex are different, asking a client to disclose the sex they were assigned at birth is important. This question could look like the following:

What sex were you assigned at birth?
The sex assigned at birth is: ___________________
Alternatively, you may also check of all that applies from the list below:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Intersex
  • Additional category (please specify): ______________

Pronouns

Using specific pronouns is another way that people can describe their identity. It is important to ask clients what their preferred pronouns are because you cannot assume what pronouns people use based on their appearance. Here is an example of how to ask this question:

What pronouns do you use?
I use the following pronouns: ________________
Alternatively, you may also check of all that applies from the list below:

  • She/her/hers
  • He/Him/His
  • They/Them/Theirs
  • Ze/Hir
  • Additional pronouns (please specify): ______________

Sexual Orientation

Asking questions about sexual orientation on an intake form may help healthcare professionals serve the LGBTQ+ population better. This question could look like the following:

What is your sexual orientation?
My sexual orientation is: ___________________
Alternatively, you may also check of all that applies from the list below:

  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Heterosexual
  • Bisexual
  • Pansexual
  • Asexual
  • Questioning
  • Additional sexual orientation (please specify): ______________

Relationships

Inclusive intake forms recognize that people’s relationships may be diverse. If it is important to your practice, you may ask questions about a client’s relationships. Using a variety of language and allowing people to write in their responses demonstrates that your practice recognizes the lived experiences of many. There are a variety of ways these questions could be asked, but here are some examples:

What is your current relationship status?
My current relationship status is: ___________________
Alternatively, you may also check of all that applies from the list below:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Partnered
  • In a committed relationship
  • In a civil union
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • Additional relationship status (please specify): ______________

Within the past year, were/are your sexual partner(s) (check all that applies):

  • Female
  • Transgender Female/Transgender Woman/MTF
  • Male
  • Transgender Male/ Transgender Man/FTM
  • Two-spirit / Gender Queer / Gender Fluid
  • Non-binary/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Additional category (please specify): ______________
  • Decline to answer

If you’re unfamiliar with some of the terms used in the intake form questions, it may be helpful to review an LGBTQIA+ specific glossary or enroll in various educational opportunities to expand your knowledge.

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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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