LGBTQ cultural competency training is widely used and highly recommended for staff working in healthcare settings and social service organizations. Indeed, the federal Department of Health and Human Services encourages new and existing human services programs to include LGBTQ cultural competency curricula, as “the lack of culturally competent providers is a significant barrier to quality health care for many LGBTQ people, particularly those who identify as transgender.” Funding for this project from the AIDS Institute of the NY State Department of Health reflects a similar commitment.
While there is broad agreement that LGBTQ cultural competency training is valuable, there is no standardized definition of what cultural competency training should entail for a culturally competent provider of health and human services. There cannot be a permanent standard of cultural competency, as communities, language and policies shift over time and the requirements for culturally competent care may differ, based on job responsibilities. Despite the inevitability of change, we need to create current standards for “culturally competent care,” even as we understand the limitations of such a designation.