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In-Practice Advocacy for Sexual Minority Women: A good idea in theory


The study involved in-depth interviews with 33 same sex attracted women (SSAW) and 27 GPs about the patient doctor relationship in relation to sexual orientation.

Almost half of the GPs agreed that they had a role in practice-based advocacy, a commitment ranging from contemplating it occasionally to strongly believing in the role. They distinguished between patient-initiated or ‘passive advocacy’, which felt more comfortable to many, and doctor-initiated or ‘active advocacy’. GPs’ theoretical support of in-practice advocacy with SSAW was rarely enacted because they lacked awareness of social inequalities for SSAW, lacked confidence in the role, or relied on passive advocacy, which was ineffective as SSAW were not aware of this GP role.

We recommend inclusion of sexual orientation in education on health inequalities and specific training for advocacy skills so that doctors can follow Candib’s three-step model with SSAW.

This paper aims to discuss issues that restrict practice-based advocacy with same sex attracted women patients.

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