Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The primary purpose of this research was to examine a sample of sixteen lesbian women regarding the barriers to lesbian health-care. From this information several interpretive findings regarding lesbian health-care are made. Data were gathered via indepth interviews with each individual lesbian. The data suggest that most lesbian women do not reveal their sexual orientation to their primary-care physician for fear of reprisal. Most of the women interviewed do feel they receive adequate health-care from their physician. The women who participated in this project did so confidentially and were assigned pseudonyms. They were asked questions on a variety of topics, which included demographics, physical health-care, mental health-care, general health, dental care, social and political issues, and homophobia. It was assumed that participants from smaller, more rural areas would face more barriers to health-care than participants from larger cities. The data gathered indicate that only three of the participants had, in fact, informed their primary-care physicians of their sexual orientation. Erving Goffman's stigma and social identity theory, feminist standpoint theory, lesbian feminist theory, and feminist theory provided the theoretical framework utilized in the analysis of barriers to lesbian health care. Combining these three theories allows a discussion of how stigma and homophobia combine to make lesbians invisible in the medical community. Health-care systems, like other major institutions, are structured to support traditional society.


Gender and Sexuality | Psychology | Public Health