Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide


378 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8379-X
DDC 362.1'086'64




Reviewed by John Stanley

John Stanley is a senior policy advisor in the Corporate Policy Branch
Management Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario.


The health of gays and lesbians came into the public eye with the advent
of the AIDS crisis, but caring for this population involves far more
than dealing with HIV. The authors of this handbook, both Ontario
doctors, are fully aware of the relevant issues; health practitioners of
all specialties will find their work an invaluable resource.

Although it is clear from research that gays and lesbian have specific
health risks, traditional practitioner education has offered little
formal training in serving the gay and lesbian communities. As a result,
many health professionals lack the attitudes and skills to provide the
care necessary to meet patient needs. Caring for Lesbian and Gay People
is a guide to such needs and how to address them.

Specific chapters deal with health issues specific to lesbians, gay
men, young people, gay “ethnoracial” groups, Aboriginal gay people,
older populations, disabled and rural gays, bisexuals, married gays and
lesbians, and transsexual and transgendered individuals. The authors
derive most of their information from Canadian, American, and British
sources, as well as the occasional Australian study.

The volume is comprehensive, covering such areas as sexually
transmitted diseases, HIV, mental health, substance abuse, and body
image; it even discusses the importance of relationships and legal
issues. Furthermore, this mountain of information is presented clearly.
Each chapter begins with a few examples and contains charts presented in
an easy-to-follow point form. While medical jargon (e.g., “presents to
her doctor,” “lifetime history”) and professional terms (e.g.,
“coitarche”) may challenge lay readers, Peterkin and Risdon are to
be congratulated for making the information so accessible.

Caring for Lesbian and Gay People is a must-buy for libraries of all
sizes, and all health practitioners would benefit from having it at
their workplace.


Peterkin, Allan D., and Cathy Risdon., “Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,