Positionality is the lens through which we see the world and it is shaped by many factors. These include fixed factors: gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. As well as contextual or subjective factors: life history, personal values, etc.
Positionality can impact implicit biases and lead to microaggressions. One’s social position in the system will influence their experiences and opportunities, as well as their perceptions of other people.
Here are some examples of how positionality and implicit bias may impact the delivery of healthcare:
- Assuming all patients are heterosexual and cisgender: Asking a female patient, “do you have a boyfriend?” vs “are you in a relationship”?”
- Implicit biases about LGBTQIA+ people being sexually promiscuous, and using harsh and disapproving tones and body language toward LGBTQIA+ patients.
3. Assuming any healthcare complaint for transgender people relates to their gender identity.