In this exhibition, you can find stories from the consulting room. Stories of people who, due to shame, ignorance and prejudice, do not always receive the care they need. Meet people who, no matter how different they are, have one thing in common: they are all looking for proper healthcare.
When you visit a healthcare provider, such as a GP or a psychologist, you want to get the best help possible and receive care that fits you. As a patient, it is vital to share information so that the care provider knows what makes you unique. The healthcare provider must be sufficiently knowledgeable about the diversity of care issues and aware that everyone is different. Yet, as the stories in this exhibition show, this is not always the case in the consulting room.
Our healthcare system was originally based on research into the body of a white heterosexual man. We now know that many factors influence our health and that this historical knowledge does not always apply to everyone. After all, there are many ways in which we differ from each other: we are men, women, or do not want to be labelled. We are sexually attracted to all kinds of people, to a specific group, or to no one at all. We also have different life experiences. Because of these differences, some groups have a higher risk of particular health problems than others.
It is more common for heart attacks to go unnoticed in women than in men, as Maxine’s story shows. And for men with depression, it might be difficult to ask for the right help, Bart knows from experience. While ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder are overlooked in women, Carly and Birsen tell us. Moreover, Kai, Nanoah, Jess and Louisa describe how misunderstanding and prejudice in healthcare have affected them. They tell how their preferred pronouns or their identity were not respected, what impact the long waiting lists had on their lives, and how they sometimes did not have a say in their treatment. As a result, they sometimes even avoid contact with care providers altogether.
That is why care providers Kawa, Renate, Rosanne, and Annika share how they try to reduce or remove this ignorance and prejudice in care. On their initiative and through daily reminders of the importance of inclusive care to themselves and their colleagues, they try to consider everything that makes us unique. Because, as they know: we are equal, but not the same.
The healthcare system is evolving. Together we can ensure that everyone gets an equal shot at quality care. That is why COC Netherlands, Rutgers and WOMEN Inc. started the Alliantie Gezondheidszorg op Maat (Personalised Health Care Alliance) in 2018. The Alliance makes the public, the primary care sector, and the government aware of the roles that sex, gender and sexual orientation can play in illnesses and their treatment. This way, everyone can count on personalised care in the future.
You can visit the exhibition this year while it travels through the Netherlands. Check our route: