Finding the Healthcare Resources You Need as an LGBTQIA+ Person

If you’re an LGBTQIA+ person, you may have likely faced challenges finding a safe, affirming healthcare provider: one who sees and understands you for who you are. There are many great resources out there for queer and trans people looking for new providers, but they’re not always easy to find.

And making sure you find the right-fit provider is important to your long-term health goals. A lack of expert care for members of the LGBTQIA+ community can cause negative health outcomes, especially for trans and gender-diverse people, who face higher incidences of poor physical and mental health compared to cisgender people. Transgender people also face an increased risk of discrimination in healthcare settings, which has led many trans patients to avoid seeking needed healthcare.

Regardless of your identity or experience, you deserve expert care from a provider who hears and sees you. While many obstacles still exist, there are a few key tips and strategies to keep in mind as you begin your search for a provider for your personalized healthcare. Below are some tips to help you find an affirming provider who’s educated on your specific needs as an LGBTQIA+ individual.

There are many reasons you might seek out a provider for LGBTQIA+-related care.

  • Find a primary care doctor who regularly treats queer and/or trans patients,  
  • Begin hormone therapy for a gender transition,  
  • Find a provider who understands your needs as an intersex person 
  • Learn more about fertility treatments and other family-building options, 
  • Start the HIV-prevention medication PrEP, or,
  • Seek many other forms of care, whether for your mental or physical health. 

Tip 1: Research Before You Book an Appointment

It’s possible that the only information you can find about a healthcare provider’s experience working with LGBTQIA+ patients might be a rainbow icon on their website or a flag on their door. This is a great start—but learning more about their offerings will help you connect with the right provider for your specific care. Do your research ahead of an in-person or telehealth appointment to make sure that the provider will meet your needs for affirming care. 

Here are some ways to start that research:

Our Gender Wellness Program helps transgender and gender-diverse individuals exploring their gender identity or need behavioral health support around their social or medical transition—reach out to them by phone or email address with any questions or concerns. 

  • Search online reviews by previous patients for mentions of the care you’re seeking. Do any mention that the clinic worked with queer potential parents on IUI treatments, for example, or have a history of offering hormone therapy to trans patients during their gender transition?  
  • Ask other LGBTQIA+ peers in your area where they’ve received excellent care. Word-of-mouth from a trusted source can speak volumes when looking for an affirming provider. This can happen in person among friends and family or online in social media groups, like Facebook or Reddit, dedicated to seeking recommendations from others in LGBTQIA+ communities. 
  • Check the website of your provider—or call the practice directly and ask! A provider genuinely dedicated to safe, affirming care should have someone available at their practice to answer specific questions about the care they offer underneath the LGBTQIA+ banner.  

“A trans or gender-diverse person should call before they make an appointment and ask: ‘Do you work specifically with trans folks? Do you offer hormone treatments?’”                – Dr. Brett Herb, DSW, LCSW.

Tip 2: Check the Directories 

Providers with training in providing personalized care to LGBTQIA+ patients are often listed in professional directories that promote high standards of care for queer and trans patients. These directories are usually free and available online, making them easy to check.

Some of these organizations and directories include:  

  • The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH): WPATH’s mission includes promoting evidence-based care in transgender health, and they maintain standards of care for patients with gender dysphoria. A WPATH member provider will be familiar with these standards of care. ChristianaCare has several providers who are members of WPATH.  
  • GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (GLMA) is a national organization committed to ensuring health equity (which means that everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their highest level of health) for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. They maintain the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Directory, a free healthcare database of providers who understand the unique health needs of LGBTQ+ people in the United States and Canada.  
  • Healthcare Equality Index (HEI): Produced by the Human Rights Campaign, the HEI measures healthcare facilities’ policies and practices regarding equity and inclusive treatment of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. ChristianaCare is proud to have earned a perfect score of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” from the HEI for eleven years in a row. 
  • PrEP Services Locator: Maintained by PleasePrEPMe, an organization that connects patients with providers offering lifesaving HIV-prevention medication, the PrEP Services Locator allows patients to search by zip code to find a place to receive consultation for a prescription.
  • You can find other HEI-rated facilities by using this interactive map. 

“I want patients to have all the resources they need to get what they need out of the healthcare system.”                          – Alex Waad, MA, NBC-HWC.

Tip 3: Utilize Patient Relations  

As an LGBTQIA+ person, you may have already had bad experiences with non-affirming or under-educated healthcare providers in the past. If this happens to you again, know that you have options—and that large networks and individual providers alike both want to hear from you about your experience. 

You deserve a healthcare community that understands your medical needs and can treat you with expertise, kindness and affirmation, whether you’re going in for an annual checkup or seeking specialized care. Your care team is here to help. 

For large medical groups, like a university medical center or other organization: If your first appointment doesn’t meet your needs or you have an issue to report, find out if the center has a Patient Relations team, like the one at ChristianaCare. Patient relations specialists are trained as advocates who can assist patients with communication and conflict resolution. They can also help you find a new provider in the group if your previous provider wasn’t the right fit 

For private providers or small practices without an affiliation to a large medical group: If your first meeting with a solo provider isn’t the right fit, the best next step is to return to Tips 1 and 2. Use the WPATH listings, HEI rankings or LGBTQ+ Healthcare Directory to see what other options exist in your area and check out their online reviews or word-of-mouth. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also let your provider know why the interaction wasn’t a good fit for you. 

ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Hospital and Christiana Hospital have been named Leaders in LGBTQIA+ Healthcare Equality since 2012.


Dr. Brett E. Herb, DSW, LCSW (he/him) is the program manager for the Gender Wellness Program at ChristianaCare. He has been in clinical practice for over 25 years.  

Alex Waad, MA, NBC-HWC (they/he) is a health equity program manager and clinical health coach at ChristianaCare and a graduate research assistant in health behavior science and promotion at the University of Delaware.