A critical component of LGBTQ+ inclusive practice is building a list of LGBTQ+ competent referrals in light of unique challenges LGBTQ+ individuals face when seeking competent and affirming services. The work your agency has done to ensure a competent, inclusive environment for the youth and families you serve could be undone by a referral to an outside agency/provider that is ill-equipped to serve, or worse, discriminatory, toward LGBTQ+ individuals. Referrals should be made to agencies that are knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ competent practices and have LGBTQ+ inclusive non-discrimination policies.
Tips for creating a helpful, comprehensive referral list:
- Your agency could maintain a separate document for LGBTQ+ competent referrals in various service areas in order to supplement an existing referral list. Or your agency could indicate within its general referral lists which providers are proven to be LGBTQ+ inclusive. Either of these options will signify to your LGBTQ+ clients that your agency is mindful of the need to identify LGBTQ competent referrals.
- Ensure that all clients have access to the LGBTQ+ competent referral list since you may not always know for which clients LGBTQ+ competency is a priority.
- Providing a description or specific information about an agency such as “experienced in gender dysphoria related counseling” could assist clients in choosing providers.
- Continually update the referral list when information about new providers is gathered or relevant feedback is received about current providers listed.
Tips for identifying LGBTQ+ competent referrals near you:
- Foster a relationship with a local LGBTQ+ community center. Center staff can assist in identifying providers that have proven LGBTQ+ competent and welcoming. See CenterLink for information on LGBTQ+ centers in your area.
- Check out any LGBTQ+ specific media in your area (e.g., newspapers, magazines, websites) to see who is advertising in these spaces and/or what information is available via “word of mouth” within the LGBTQ+ community.
- Take advantage of national resources such as the HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index to gauge the environment of local healthcare facilities for your LGBTQ+ clients.
- Use online search tools such as the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s (GLMA) Provider Directory to find LGBTQ+ competent service providers.
- Engage your current LGBTQ+ clients in a dialogue about LGBTQ+ competent providers and agencies.
Click here to download a template referral list to adapt to your agency’s needs.