Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 149–160

Discomfort, Judgment, and Health Care for Queers

Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11673-012-9367-x

Cite this article as:
Harbin, A., Beagan, B. & Goldberg, L. Bioethical Inquiry (2012) 9: 149. doi:10.1007/s11673-012-9367-x


This paper draws on findings from qualitative interviews with queer and trans patients and with physicians providing care to queer and trans patients in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to explore how routine practices of health care can perpetuate or challenge the marginalization of queers. One of the most common “measures” of improved cultural competence in health care practice is self-reported increases in confidence and comfort, though it seems unlikely that an increase in physician comfort levels with queer and trans patients will necessarily mean better health care for queers. More attention to current felt discomfort in patient–provider encounters is required. Policies and practices that avoid discomfort at all costs are not always helpful for care, and experiences of shared discomfort in queer health contexts are not always harmful.


Queer health Transgender health Discomfort Family physicians Cultural competence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.School of Occupational TherapyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.School of NursingDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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