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LGBT+ Individuals’ Perceptions of Healthcare Services in Turkey: A Cross-sectional Qualitative Study


When accessing healthcare services, LGBT+ individuals are often exposed to segregating and marginalizing discourses. Knowledge about how such experiences are reflected in the moral world of LGBT+ individuals living in Turkey is limited. This study examined LGBT+ individuals’ lived experiences when utilizing healthcare services. The findings are discussed in terms of moral discourses related to LGBT+ individuals’ gender identity and sexual orientation. A qualitative field study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with fifty-five LGBT+ individuals from Turkish cities who were in contact with various non-governmental organizations that conduct studies on gender identity and sexual orientation. A questionnaire was administered with items on participants’ demographic information, experiences, behavioural patterns, and knowledge regarding healthcare services. The data were analysed thematically. The findings were evaluated within the framework of “access to healthcare service” theme related to “healthcare service demand” context. Additionally, the “interaction with physicians” theme was addressed in the context of “physician–patient/counselee relationship.” LGBT+ individuals state that they are exposed to stigmatizing and segregating discourses by healthcare professionals, which might pose an obstacle for adaptive health-seeking behaviours. These results suggest that physicians’ professional approach has a considerable influence on LGBT+ individuals’ capacity for utilizing healthcare services.

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  1. The protocol number assigned to participants was coded as followed: “Abbreviation of sexual orientation/gender identity, year of the interview, sequence number of the interviewee.” Abbreviations for sexual orientation and gender identity were arranged as follows: L: Lesbian, G: Gay, BW: Bisexual woman, BM: Bisexual man, MtF: Male to Female, FtM: Female to Male.


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Correspondence to Şükrü Keleş.

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Keleş, Ş., Kavas, M.V. & Yalım, N.Y. LGBT+ Individuals’ Perceptions of Healthcare Services in Turkey: A Cross-sectional Qualitative Study. Bioethical Inquiry 15, 497–509 (2018).

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  • Moral discourse
  • Thematic analysis
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health-seeking behaviour