Japan: Why it is important for you as a medical or welfare worker to understand LGBT needs

Only recently, the term LGBT has entered the vocabulary in Japan. There is nothing special about LGBT individuals. They are ordinary people who go to school or work daily, shop at a local supermarket with many others, and use medical institutions. Still, many people think they have never met a person who is LGBT, or LGBT individuals don’t live in their community.

Have you ever thought of why you, the user or worker of medical or welfare services, don’t “see” any LGBT individuals? LGBT individuals are invisible in Japan because the majority of them find it difficult to assert what their needs are.
Without understanding the needs and problems unique to LGBT individuals and their concerns for their future wellbeing, medical providers may experience miscommunication or non-communication with their clients, leading to treatment interruption and decreased quality of life (QOL). For the provider or servicer, such individuals may be puzzling users for whom treatment or support is difficult. However, this cycle can be changed, if only the typical ethos is applied: “Each individual should be respected.”

On a fundamental level, nothing will change by whether or not your client has come out to you. To respect sexual diversity such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender also means to respect those who don’t identify as LGBT. This is what we want to convey in this booklet.  Read more the report here