Pronouns meant little to me even just one year ago, but their proper use means everything to me and my family now. I still stumble and misgender my son, but not as much as I did initially. It takes practice, and we appreciate anyone who tries. A quick apology without dwelling on the mistake is most effective. I am so proud of my kid and amazed that he can know himself and express himself the way he has. I know how fortunate he has been to have access to resources and support that many do not have.
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Explore This IssueJuly 2021
I told my son about my patient encounter and how much I appreciate what he has taught me. He has given me permission to share my thoughts with you.
Please join the effort of inclusivity by using your pronouns when you identify yourself to your patients, sign your emails and sign in to Zoom meetings. This will deconstruct the notion that gender can be assumed and de-stigmatize those who have pronouns that don’t align with their names or appearance. This will make us better doctors.
- Gender Pronouns: A Provider’s Guide to Referring to Transgender Patients
- Patient-Centered Care for Transgender People: Recommended Practices for Health Care Settings
Compared with heterosexual youth, LGBTQ young people are more than twice as likely to feel suicidal and over four times as likely to attempt suicide; the rates may be especially high for bisexual teens. According to one study, a third of transgender youth have seriously considered suicide, and one in five has made a suicide attempt.1-3
- Kann L, Olsen EO, McManus T, et al. Sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, and health-related behaviors among students in grades 9–12—United States and selected sites, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2016 Aug 12;65(9):1–202.
- Marshal MP, Dietz LJ, Friedman MS, et al. Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: A meta-analytic review. J Adolesc Health. 2011 Aug;49(2):115–123.
- Reisner SL, Vetters R, Leclerc M, et al. Mental health of transgender youth in care at an adolescent urban community health center: A matched retrospective cohort study. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Mar;56(3):274–279.
Belinda Birnbaum, MD (she/her), is a rheumatologist with Bryn Mawr Medical Specialists Association, Pennsylvania.