We’ve all heard the horror stories from our friends, if we haven’t experienced them ourselves — women who shag women being told they are being ‘paranoid’ if they request a STI test, or informed that ‘lesbians can’t get cervical cancer’ or ‘AIDS only affects gay men, not women’ etc etc (often as if identities rather than practices are the contributing factors when it comes to the health of one’s lady-parts, and with ridiculous assumptions about what ‘lesbians’ ACTUALLY DO anyway.) And so the women at the Australian Lesbian Medical Association have come up with DocLIST:
‘We are making a list of doctors recommended by lesbians and bi women patients all over Australia. Some of these doctors are themselves lesbian or bisexual, while many are heterosexual but are lesbian/bi-friendly. At the top of the list it clearly state that the doctors on the list are not necessarily lesbian/bi women. ALMA does not guarantee the quality of medical service provided by these doctors. Rather, these doctors have been recommended by lesbian and bi women patients patients as doctors with whom they feel comfortable being open about matters to do with their sexual orientation.
For a doctor to be included on the list, ALMA requires a recommendation from at least one lesbian / bisexual woman (see other criteria below). Once a recommendation is received, ALMA will write to the doctor informing them about the project (without disclosing the person who recommended them) to ask if they consent to be on the list. The list is available online at www.doclist.com.au, where it is updated and maintained by members of ALMA.’
I think it is a bloody brilliant idea, and one which one we should all get behind. If it saves one woman from being denied the services she needs by some bigoted/ill-formed/gormless medico then it’s worth it!
(NB Honestly, I had no idea there was an Australian Lesbian Medical Association, and have just a SMALL problem with their choice of language — ‘for lesbian and bisexual women’ rather than say ‘same-sex attracted’ or ‘women who sleep with women’ or, heaven help us, the inclusion of the word ‘queer’. To me it reads as quite exclusionary, and almost wantonly so, not to include some of the other labels that women-loving-women commonly use to describe themselves. And yes, I DO understand that funding is easier to get etc etc if you use established terms recognised by the powers-that-be etc in your name and project title, but you can at least make a token effort to include some of the other terms in your mission statement etc. Bah! That said, nice work on this project ladies!)