Are Patients Ready for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Family Physicians - A Croatian Study
Discrimination and harassment of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) physicians from their colleagues and superiors are known. However there is little knowledge about the patients’ attitudes and discrimination toward physicians. A cross sectional Internet survey was conducted in urban Croatian regions. The participants were asked to answer questions regarding their socio-demographic status, the Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gay Men Scale (ATLG), and whether they would refuse to see a LGB physician and, if so, why. Of the 1004 participants, 8.8% said they would refuse a male GB physician while 7.9% would refuse a female LB physician, and 7.3% would refuse both. The two most common reasons for discriminating were: “disaccord with political or religious beliefs” and “fear of being sexually harassed”. A logistical regression model showed that male sex, higher ATLG score and higher age were associated with more refusals of male GB physicians. Also higher age, higher ATLG score were associated with more refusals of female LB physicians, while personal contact with LGB people was associated with less refusals of both groups. The observed prevalence of discrimination is significant. The results suggest that discrimination is based on emotional reasons and stereotypical beliefs. Educational efforts should be directed towards changing misconceptions about LGB people.