RNAO releases new guideline recommendations on 2SLGBTQI+ health equity during Pride weekend

June 24, 2021

In the midst of Ontario’s Pride celebration, nurses, other health providers and health organizations will soon have evidence-based recommendations to improve access to care and health equity for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and additional (2SLGBTQI+) communities.

As we approach the start of Pride weekend – the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will release its best practice guideline (BPG) on promoting 2SLGBTQI+ health equity. The much-anticipated recommendations will be revealed Saturday during the association’s 96th Annual General Meeting.

2SLGBTQI+ people have historically been silenced and face bias, discrimination and violence. Guided by the use of the intersectionality framework, an anti-oppression lens and inclusive of reconciliation and Two-Spirit health, RNAO’s latest BPG provides inclusive and affirming practice, organization and education recommendations to improve access and health equity for 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

“Evidence from across Canada shows 2SLGBTQI+ people face health inequities and barriers to getting the health care they need,” says Dr. Elizabeth M. Saewyc, RN and expert panel co-chair for the BPG. “Health systems are not designed to include them, and health professionals’ education doesn’t adequately cover their lives and health issues, so stigma and discrimination still result in disrespectful treatment in some health-care settings.”

The development of this latest RNAO BPG began in July 2018. A 16-member expert panel came together to determine the purpose and scope of the BPG, and to develop questions that would inform the systematic reviews. The group includes persons with lived experience, as well as individuals with knowledge and experience in clinical practice, education, research and activism across a range of health-service and academic organizations, practice areas and sectors. Each expert shared their insights on promoting health and caring for 2SLGBTQI+ people across the continuum of care.

“This guideline gives nurses and other health providers the evidence to transform health systems – from intake forms and IT systems, to policies and clinical practices – to provide the best care,” says Sheena Howard, RN and expert panel co-chair. “The impact will be felt in the relief of same-sex parents who are welcomed into a supportive birthing unit; the dignity of the older trans woman in the hospital emergency department called by the right name and pronouns; the pleased surprise of 2SLGBTQI+ teens when the school nurse knowledgeably answers their sexual health questions; and the confidence in the health-care provider to respectfully ask a trans man if he has had a PAP test and discuss other cancer screening.”

Following the BPG’s launch, Dr. Paul-André Gauthier, president of RNAO’s Rainbow Nursing Interest Group (RNIG), will share a position statement on respecting sexually and gender diverse communities. RNAO is committed to diversity and inclusivity, and this position statement reflects the association’s core values to advance individual and collective health.


The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) releases its Promoting 2SLGBTQI+ Health Equity best practice guideline (BPG) and its newest position statement on respecting sexually and gender diverse communities.


96th Annual General Meeting, Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. ET


RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth, RN, MScN

Expert panel co-chairs for Promoting 2SLGBTQI+ Health Equity BPG

  • Sheena Howard, BScN, MA, RN
  • Dr. Elizabeth M. Saewyc, PhD, RN, FSAHM, FCAHS, FAAN

Rainbow Nursing Interest Group (RNIG) President Dr. Paul-André Gauthier, RN, TCC, DMD, MN, PhD


Please register online to receive the Zoom details via email.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Contact info

Madison Scaini
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)