When we provide education on diversity competent care to patients, clients and residents of a certain community such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) communities, it is important to keep in mind that diversity exists between and within these communities. This means that individuals belonging to one (or more than one) of these communities will understand and express their gender and sexuality differently from each other.
The process of understanding and expressing one’s gender and sexuality is a deeply personal experience that is made more complex by all the ways that patients, clients and residents may be diverse (e.g., race, ethnicity, ability, age, nationality/citizenship, sex). Thus, we must emphasize the importance of person-centered care – asking each individual patient, client and resident what is needed to respect their gender and sexuality, and, generally, what is important to them during the caregiving process. Additionally, it is important to recognize that one of the most important elements of providing diversity competent care is to understand our own dimensions of diversity, how these shape our values and beliefs, and accordingly, how these shape the way we provide care to our patients, clients and residents.