As Dr. Bailey demonstrated with Jasper, fixing your “mistake” and addressing microaggressions you have committed is critical to repairing the provider-patient relationship and re-building trust.
Mistakes are common in all areas of life, including in working with LGBTQIA+ youth. You might use the incorrect name or pronouns or make an assumption that a youth is straight and cisgender, among many other possible mistakes.
If/when a mistake is made, simply correct yourself with a brief apology and move along with the conversation. For example, you might say,
- “Sorry. I meant [insert correct name or pronoun].”
- “I noticed that I used the wrong name earlier. I want you to know I am sorry for that. I recognize your name is [fill in name] and I will do better moving forward.”
If you do not notice the mistake right away, you can still correct yourself!
Do not profusely apologize or justify yourself. Discussing how difficult it is to get someone’s pronouns correct or how difficult it is to do a better job can make some LGBTQIA+ youth feel like their existence burdens you, even if that is not your intention. Justifying yourself may also make LGBTQIA+ youth feel obligated to comfort you, but that is not their responsibility.
If unsure of yourself, ask your patient how you can be a better healthcare provider for them. Giving LGBTQIA+ youth the space to share feedback shows them you care about them and are willing to implement changes to offer improved healthcare services.