Women’s Empowerment for Change (WE-Change) embarked on research, as a part of the Stonewall’s Out of the Margins project, to respond to the chasm in studies on health in the LGBT community by calling attention to the health-seeking behaviours of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women with regards to their sexual and reproductive health. WE-Change engaged one hundred and thirty (130) queer women in Kingston, Jamaica about their ability to access (the availability of services relevant to their context, the ability to use these services without judgement, the existing factors that may prevent achieving satisfactory care) sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. From the data collected, WE-Change found that queer Jamaican women preferred to seek out services from more expensive private health facilities for the purpose of comfort and safety; medical and health professionals lacked the information and competency to respond to distinct LBTQ health needs; pervasive sexism by male doctors who dominate the field of gynaecology has pushed them to seek out female doctors or not use services at all. The information shared by these women demonstrated a deficit in the healthcare system in Jamaica to provide adequate, inclusive and acceptable patient-centred care for LBTQ women. This project presents an opportunity for government officials and policymakers to re-examine national health strategies on sexual and reproductive health. It further opens up the conversation about Caribbean queer women’s health outside of the lens of HIV prevention and the necessity in documenting this as Caribbean activists to inform our activism on the global stage.
In an effort to increase access to LBTQ-friendly health services for LBTQ women, WE have put together a database of providers in Jamaica. If you are a LBTQ-friendly health service provider or have had positive experiences with a particular service provider in Jamaica, please contact WE. This database will be continuously updated.