Lesbian and bisexual women want good doctors and mental health professionals who are caring and competent. We want to be respected by our doctors and mental health professionals, and we want to feel that our consultations with a doctor or mental health professional are a place in which we are safe and are not judged. We want our doctors and mental health professionals to demonstrate that they are comfortable with our sexual orientation, and have some knowledge of how our sexual orientation impacts our health issues. We want them to be aware that sexual orientation is not just about our sexual behaviour, but about who we love, how we identify, and with whom we interact socially.
Some lesbian and bisexual women patients are not open about their sexual orientation with their doctor or mental health professional. Some feel it is not important for their doctor or mental health professional to know what kind of relationships they have or what communities they belong to, while others are not ‘out’ to their doctor or mental health professional because they cannot guarantee a positive response. Other women have found a doctor or mental health professional that they can be ‘out’ to, and this can mean they get better health care because they don’t withhold information about the important relationships in their lives.
What is ALMA?
ALMA is the Australian Lesbian Medical Association. ALMA was formed in 1999 and is an organization for same-sex attracted doctors, medical students, and their partners. ALMA runs an annual conference for members and also works to advance the visibility of lesbian doctors and lesbian health issues. ALMA administers the Lesbian Health and Research Grant which supports research and education in relation to lesbian, bisexual and same-sex attracted women’s health. ALMA has around 100 members.
Why did ALMA create the DocLIST?
ALMA created DocLIST in 2010 in response to many requests from lesbian and bisexual women asking us if we could recommend lesbian-friendly and bisexual-friendly doctors in various parts of Australia. We decided to set up a website listing doctors recommended by lesbian and bisexual women. We later added mental health professionals and dentists to DocLIST.
How does DocLIST work?
DocLIST is an online list of doctors, dentists and mental health professionals recommended by lesbian, bisexual same sex attracted and queer women patients all over Australia. Some of these health professionals are themselves lesbian or bisexual, while most are heterosexual and are lesbian/bi-friendly. At the top of each state/territory list it is clearly stated that the clinicians on the list are not necessarily lesbian or bisexual people themselves.
ALMA does not guarantee the quality of the service provided by these professionals. Rather, they have been recommended by lesbian and bisexual women patients as health professionals with whom they feel comfortable being open about matters to do with their sexual orientation.
For a doctor or mental health professional to be included on the list, ALMA requires that they meet at least one of the following two criteria:
- the doctor or mental health professional is recommended by at least one lesbian or bisexual same sex attracted or queer woman who has consulted them professionally (meaning they have seen them as a patient / client / consumer),
- the doctor is a member of ALMA
Once a recommendation is received, an ALMA administration worker contacts the recommended professional, informing them about the project (without disclosing the person who recommended them) and asks if they agree to be listed on the DocLIST website. Health professionals are only listed if they agree to be added to DocLIST.
The list is available online here, where it is updated and maintained by members of ALMA.
Recommendations can be made /here, on our Contribute page.
What kind of health professionals can be listed on DocLIST?
Most of the professionals on DocLIST list are General Practitioners, however we are also listing specialist doctors (such as gynaecologists, obstetricians, physicians and surgeons) and mental health professionals (such as psychologists) as well as dentists.
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Is there a similar resource for gay and bisexual men, or one for trans and gender diverse people?
We are not aware of many other resources similar to DocLIST for other groups within the LGBTIQA communities, however there are some other lists and resources available, and there are many organisations who can advise on LGBTIQA-friendly health services and LGBTIQA specialist health services in specific regions of Australia.
- RAD Australia aims to connect LGBTIQ people to accurate, safe, respectful and comprehensive health care
- Reachout provide a list with some LGBTQI support services.
- A list which provides some clinics and services which specialise in transgender health.
- On our NSW DocLIST page we link to a large list of gay-friendly GPs in Sydney provided by ACON.
If you know of other lists of LGBTIQA-friendly health professionals which we could list here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can health professionals recommend themselves for DocLIST?
We do not list health professionals who have asked to go on DocLIST, unless we have a recommendation from a lesbian, bisexual, same-sex attracted or queer woman who has seen them as a patient. If you are a health professional wanting to be listed on DocLIST please contact us at email@example.com as we can send you some postcards to put in your waiting room, which let your patients / clients know how they can recommend you or your colleagues should they wish to do this.
Why are there very few health professionals listed on DocLIST in some states and territories?
DocLIST is a resource which in many ways is created by the lesbian / bi / same sex attracted women’s community. ALMA has promoted DocLIST through many channels in each state and territory over many years. In some states and territories we have not received many recommendations from community members. Also, some of the health professionals who are recommended for DocLIST decline to go on the list (for various reasons). If you are (or you know) a lesbian, bisexual or same-sex attracted woman who lives in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory or Tasmania you could help us build DocLIST in those states and territories by recommending some lesbian-friendly or bisexual-friendly health professionals for DocLIST using the online form on the Contribute page.
Why do some health professionals recommended for DocLIST never get added to the DocLIST website?
Some of the health professionals recommended for DocLIST let us know that they are not able to be added to DocLIST for a range of reasons. They may already be so busy that they are not taking new patients. They may have privacy or safety concerns around having their clinic details listed in the public domain. They may believe they don’t have enough specialised knowledge about lesbian/bi/same-sex attracted/queer women’s health. Some health professionals who have been recommended never respond to the request from the DocLIST team. Not all recommendations will lead to a new entry on DocLIST, however the more recommendations we get, the bigger and more useful DocLIST will be.
Is DocLIST still needed in 2018 and beyond?
There are still thousands of women accessing the DocLIST website each year so we are reasonably confident it is still useful to many community members. We would like to know the views of members of the community on whether DocLIST is still needed / useful. If you are a lesbian, bisexual, same-sex attracted or queer woman living in Australia please complete our new survey (on our homepage) to give us your opinion on this topic.