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Queer Phenomenology, the Disruption of Heteronormativity, and Structurally Responsive Care

Searle, Jennifer, BSc, BScN, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000258
Section: Culture, Race & Discrimination

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) health disparities persist and reflect larger structural inequities that negatively impact the health of historically marginalized communities. By way of using queer phenomenology, the author analyzes a personal experience that was harmful to her as a lesbian patient who required emergency medical attention. Also a registered nurse, the author draws on her lived experiences to reveal heteronormativity as a prevalent, but largely unacknowledged, source of structural harms for LGBTQ patients. This aims to bring about an appreciation among nurses and other health care professionals to locate themselves within systems of privilege and oppression and gain an awareness on how they might better respond to ongoing structural harms that are disproportionately experienced by vulnerable patient populations.

School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Correspondence: Jennifer Searle, BSc, BScN, RN, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, 5869 University Ave, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H4R2, Canada (

The author thanks Drs Megan Aston and Lisa Goldberg, Dalhousie University, Dalhousie School of Nursing, Nova Scotia Health Research Fund, Canadian Institutes of Health Research. I dedicate this to the love of my life, my tender-hearted Krista, who is at my side and in my heart forever.

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