Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication Studies


Heather Carmack


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals have encountered barriers in accessing healthcare. Barriers to accessing medical care can stem from discrimination within healthcare, which includes the medicalization of homosexuality. Literature demonstrates that both providers and LGB patients recognize that there are inefficiencies in the current healthcare system for LGB patients. This thesis sought to find how LGB individuals navigated the disclosure of their sexual identities with their providers and what types of communication barriers existed between them. Qualitative, in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 LGB identified participants. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a constant comparative method. Four themes were found including: influences on disclosure, identity vs. practice, heterosexism, and barriers and consequences. The thesis concluded that how a LGB individual viewed their sexual identity impacted their choice to disclose to his or her provider and the communication barriers that occurred when a provider was discriminatory towards his or her LGB patient. In order to combat these discriminatory issues within healthcare, providers should undergo training on how to care for LGB patients.