Health and identity-related interactions between lesbian, bisexual, queer and pansexual women and their healthcare providers

Aleta Baldwin, Brian Dodge, Vanessa Schick, Debra Herbenick, Stephanie A. Sanders, Roshni Dhoot, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Disclosure of sexual identity among sexual minority women is related to better outcomes and improved quality of care. The existing literature on sexual minority women’s experiences of identity disclosure and related interactions with healthcare providers draws little distinction between different groups of sexual minority women, despite the different barriers, stigma and health outcomes that exist between them. This paper presents factors influencing identity disclosure and describes the characteristics of interactions that sexual minority women have with their healthcare providers around sexual identity and health. Using a mixed-methods approach, both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered using an online survey. The sample included lesbian, bisexual, queer and pansexual women from across the USA. Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed concurrently, and qualitative themes were quantified and integrated into quantitative analyses. Identity disclosure, reasons for disclosing identity and characteristics of interactions with providers varied by identity, but often overlapped. Bisexual and pansexual participants were significantly less likely to disclose identity than lesbian participants. There were no significant differences related to age or ethnicity. Findings from this study have the potential to inform ethical medical practices and improve healthcare quality among sexual minority women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1196
Number of pages16
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017


  • Lesbian
  • bisexual
  • clinician-patient relationships
  • disclosure
  • pansexual
  • queer
  • self-identity
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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