Should Doctors Ask Patients About Their Sexual Orientation?

Is the Topic Too Personal?

Doctors ask their patients a lot of highly personal questions. They’ll tackle serious topics such as domestic violence and depression, and have no problem asking their patients potentially embarrassing questions about bowel movements and menstrual cycles.

But when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, many doctors avoid the topic.

“They’re worried that asking about someone’s sexual identity is too personal and won’t be perceived as clinically relevant,” says Liz Margolies, executive director of the National LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Cancer Network, who conducts cultural competency training sessions for doctors. “They are afraid to ask because they think it will be too intrusive.”

But here’s the thing, Margolies says. “We want to be asked.”...continue reading on Medscape