Basic principles for professional service providers who work with LGBTIQA+ people who experienced violence:

  • Recognizing and understanding that sexual orientation and gender identity are distinct and not necessarily connected constructs and being able to differentiate them when working with LGBTIQA+ people.
  • Respecting self-identification is crucial. Professionals should not interpret or seek specific elements that “justify” sexual orientation and/or gender identity. A person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity should not be assumed on the basis of appearance or gender expression. Professionals should not assume and ask information about a trans person’s anatomy (sex characteristics). 
  • Understanding that gender is not binary but rather allows for a wide range of gender identities and that a person’s gender identity may not align with what they were assigned at birth. A person’s gender identity may or may not conform to the gender binary. Professionals should not use any names or pronouns other than the ones the individual suggests in alignment with their self-identification. Professionals should not insist on using the name and pronoun written in someone’s official papers.
  • Professionals should not consider any expression of sexual orientation or fluidity of gender identity to be symptoms of disorders or indication of psychopathology. Gender dysphoria is not a mental disorder. Feelings of gender dysphoria should also not be considered as a common experience for all trans people. Professionals should never recommend that a trans and/or intersex person should proceed with medical procedures that are not necessary for their health, if they do not wish to do so.
  • Recognizing that stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence affect the health and well-being of LGBTIQA+ people, as well as the effects of institutional (systemic) barriers on the lives of LGBTIQA+ people.
  • Creating a supportive and affirmative environment where LGBTIQA+ people are able to explore their sexual orientation and their gender identity.  
  • Professionals should recognize their limitations concerning LGBTI people and their families, and seek consultation or make appropriate referrals when indicated.
  • Everyone should recognize and respect LGBTIQA+ relationships, regardless of their legal recognition.
  • Understanding the ways in which the family of origin may react to a person’s sexual orientation, their being trans or intersex. This may have an impact on their family of origin and their relationship with them, mainly because of widespread LGBTIQA+phobia in our societies. 
  • Recognizing the challenges related to multiple and often conflicting norms, values, and beliefs faced by LGBTIQA+ people who might also be members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Learning about intersectional approaches to discrimination helps improve one’s understanding of these multiplicities.
  • Recognizing the unique problems and risks that exist for LGBTIQA+ youth (e.g. the extent and consequences of homophobic bullying in schools and other settings). 
  • Understanding (structural) discrimination in the workplace and other social settings.
  • Increasing knowledge about sexual orientation and gender identity through continuous education, training, supervision and consultation.
  • Recognizing the necessity and benefits of an interdisciplinary approach when providing care to trans and gender-nonconforming people and striving to work collaboratively with other service providers.
  • Promoting social change that reduces the negative effects of stigma on the health and well-being of trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.
  • Acknowledging that LGBTIQA+ individuals might share common experiences, but are unique personalities with different needs and lives. It is crucial to recognize these differences and the different ways in which they experience discrimination and stigma. Every individual and every identity represented in the acronym (as well as all other identities that are not specifically mentioned but included in the LGBTIQA+ spectrum, such as non-binary people) has their own needs and realities.

You can find more recommendations and guidance in our publication: LOOK WIDE Guide for Professionals.