Lesbian and bisexual women patients want good doctors and mental health professionals. We want 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 or mental health professional to demonstrate that they are comfortable with our sexual orientation, and have some knowledge of how our sexual orientation impacts on our health issues. We want them to realise that sexual orientation is not just about our sexual behaviour, but about who we love, how we identify, and with whom we socially interact.
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. Some women patients 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?
The Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) is a network of around one hundred lesbian doctors and medical students from all over Australia. ALMA is contacted frequently by women patients wanting recommendations of a lesbian/bi-friendly doctors and mental health professionals in their area. In response to this need, a group of ALMA members decided to start the DocLIST project.
How does DocLIST work?
We are making a list of doctors and mental health professionals recommended by lesbians and bisexual women patients all over Australia. Some of these clinicians are themselves lesbian or bisexual, while most are heterosexual but are lesbian/bi-friendly. At the top of the list it clearly states that the clinicians on the list are not necessarily lesbian/bi women. ALMA does not guarantee the quality of the service provided by these professionals. Rather, they have been recommended by lesbian and bisexual women patients patients as doctors or mental 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 a recommendation from at least one lesbian / bisexual woman (see other criteria below). Once a recommendation is received, ALMA will write to the recommended professional, informing them about the project (without disclosing the person who recommended them) to ask if they consent to be on the list.
The list is available online at here, where it is updated and maintained by members of ALMA.
The process for doctors or mental health professionals to be put on the list is outlined here, on our Contribute page.
What kind of doctors and mental health professionals are we looking for?
We expect that most of the professionals on the list will mainly be General Practitioners, but we are also interested in listing specialist doctors (such as gynaecologists, obstetricians, and surgeons) and mental health professionals (such as psychologists).
To determine which doctor or mental health professional makes it onto the list, we have decided on the following criteria:
- the doctor or mental health professional is recommended by at least 1 lesbian or bisexual woman who has consulted them professionally,
- the doctor is a member of ALMA
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