"Who's the Mom?": Heterosexism in Patient-Provider Interactions of Queer Pregnant Couples

Document Type


Publication Date



Internal Medicine

Journal Title

Health Communication

MeSH Headings

Humans; Sexual and Gender Minorities; Gender Identity; Patients; Health Personnel


Previous scholarship has discussed how queer individuals experience discrimination in healthcare settings. This study furthers this area of research by exploring how queer pregnant couples encountered heterosexism within patient-provider interactions. Heterosexism is being used as a framework for the study by looking at how healthcare acts as a power system to promote heterosexual identity. Through using a multiadic analysis, I interviewed 16 couples both together and separately, resulting in 46 total interviews. The analysis demonstrated that the couples experienced heterosexism by providers not understanding who the "mom" is, having to explain sexual identity to providers and providers reinforcing heterosexist expectations. The couples also provided advice for healthcare providers to improve their interactions with future queer pregnant couples.

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