What are Queer Health Advocates?
Queer Health Advocates are trained volunteers who accompany and advocate for members of the community who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, aromantic, queer, or questioning during medical appointments. Queer Health Advocates help their clients navigate the healthcare system and and get the care they deserve. All our services are free and confidential.
Queer Health Advocates can...
- promote feelings of safety in medical spaces
- find an LGBTQIA friendly provider
- locate physicians that provide gender affirming care
- provide emotional support
- negotiate accommodations that will make healthcare more accessible to you
- make sure your provider addresses your concerns
- provide doula services
- help you seek accountability for a provider that has caused you harm
- provide other services tailored to your specific needs
How do I get a Queer Health Advocate for my appointment?
Contact us in advance of the appointment at our business line (319-335-6001) or on our crisis line (319-335-6000) to request an advocate.
Why does this service exist?
Medical appointments should be something that everyone can navigate safely, without fear of harassment, discrimination, or violence. This unfortunately is not the case for everyone, especially people in the LGBTQIA community.
Here are some facts about LGBTQIA healthcare experiences:
- In the 2015 US Transgender Survey, 23% of respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to due to fear of being mistreated as a transgender person.
- One third of all respondents in the 2015 US Transgender Survey experienced at least one negative experience related to being transgender, such a verbal harassment, refusal of treatment, or having to teach the health care provider about transgender people to receive appropriate care.
- In a 2017 survey by the Center for American Progress, 29% of transgender people and 7% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people said they experienced unwanted physical contact from a healthcare provider such as fondling, sexual assault, or rape.
- In another 2017 study, 80 percent of intersex people have changed healthcare providers due to their providers’ use of insensitive or offensive language. 20 percent of us have had to knowingly use harmful, pathologizing language to refer to and describe their bodies in order to access care (Johnson, et al., 2017)
This program is a community based solution to discrimination and violence in medical spaces. We are not a part of any medical institution, but we work with providers to get better care for our clients.
How do I become a Queer Health Advocate?
Review the program requirements, apply online, and take one of our Queer Health Advocates volunteer trainings.