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Health Self-Advocacy

What is Health Self-Advocacy

Health Self-Advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making your own decisions about your health, and learning how to get information so that you can understand things about your health.  It includes finding a healthcare provider who will understand your unique needs and support you in your healthcare decisions.  It includes knowing your rights and responsibilities, problem solving, listening and learning, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship, and learning about self-determination.

Do Ask, Do Tell

Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy brochure

Medical Decision Making - Frequently asked questions about the new federal laws for medical decision making for LGBT persons

Equal Hospital Visitation Rights - Frequently asked questions about the new federal laws for equal hospital visitation rights for LGBT persons

Lifelines - Important documents to protect you and your famil,y including information about medical decision making and power of attorney for LGBT individuals/couples and families

Organizing for Transgender Healthcare - A guide for anyone who wants to change the way community clinics offer care (written for transgender individuals but there are some good ideas for all LGBT people who want to advocate for equal access to healthcare)

Identifying and Fighting Healthcare Discrimination - An overview of what discrimination in healthcare looks like and suggestions for how to report/fight any discrimination you may face (written for transgender individuals, but may also apply to other LGB individuals)

Why is Self-Advocacy Important?

So that you have the knowledge needed to access appropriate health resources and are given the chance to participate in decisions that are being made about your health.  It helps you to decide what is important for your own health and helps to empower you to speak up for yourself.

How Do You Self-Advocate?

  • You need to decide what you want to speak up about
  • You need to plan how you are going to speak up
  • You need to speak up for yourself
  • You need the freedom to be able to make basic choices about your life.
  • You need to be given the authority to be the expert on your life. You are the one who has to live your life so you should be able to make decisions which affect you.
  • You need to have support to make and achieve your goals, the final decision should be yours but it is good to have other people to help you.
  • You need to be responsible for your decisions. You need to try to make the best choices and fix those that did not work.
  • You need to believe you are able to do the things in your life that are not working and work towards the things that are important to you.

Adapted from: and

How to Find an LGBT-Friendly Healthcare Provider

Provider List

Finding a Provider

Coming Out to Your Doctor

Why Come Out to Your Healthcare Provider?

Tips for Coming Out to Your Healthcare Provider

Guide to Coming Out to Your Doctor

LGBT-Specific Health Information and Resources

Adult Immunization Schedule

Schedule of Recommended Health Screenings

HIV/AIDS Testing

Mammogram/Cervical Cancer Screening Programs

Health Issues for Gay Men

Gay Men's Health Fact Sheet

STD Facts - HPV and Men

Syphilis Fact Sheet for MSM

Sífilis y Los Hombres que Tienen Relaciones Sexuales con Hombres

Testicular Self Exam

Top 10 Health Issues for Gay Men

Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Cancer Facts for Gay and Bisexual Men

Top 10 Bisexual Health Issues

Cancer facts for Lesbians and Bisexual Women

Lesbian and Bisexual Health

Breast Self Exam

Health Issues for Lesbians

Top 10 Lesbian Health Issues

Breast Cancer Facts for Transgender Men and Women

General Prevention and Screening for Transgender Adults

MediCal Fact Sheet for Gender Reassignment Procedures

Top 10 Health Issues for Transgender Adults