Still Here, Still Proud: QSPACES

As we stated last week, we’ve decided to use The Beat this month to boost the signal of current healthcare leaders and startups who are giving back to their own communities. Even before the recent flood of discriminatory legislation, it wasn’t easy to be an LGBTQ+ startup founder. They are the targets of bias and discrimination, are less likely to be approved for business loans, and receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. Of course, in an intersectional world, non-white, female LGBTQ+ founders are up against even more terrible odds. And yet, they succeed.

Today we’re highlighting an organization that helps LGBTQ+ patients find healthcare providers who understand their needs. To people outside of the community, the idea that not all doctors can competently treat LGBTQ+ patients might be surprising. But a Lambda Legal study found that more than half of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have experienced discrimination from a doctor, and 70% of trans people have experienced discrimination, harassment, and abusive language from healthcare providers. That's why QSPACES is trying to make it safer and easier for LGBTQ+ patients to find care.


Founded: 2016, launched in 2018

Founded and currently led by: Catherine Hofmann, CEO (she/they) and Nic Anthony, CMO (she/her)

What services does QSPACES provide?

QSPACES is a crowd-sourced platform that LGBTQ+ patients can use to find healthcare and wellness providers who will treat them with respect. QSPACES’ listings include not only primary care physicians, specialists, therapists, and dentists, but also alternative care providers like masseuses, yoga teachers, and acupuncturists.

QSPACES functions like Yelp or TripAdvisor: patients can review the quality of care from providers or healthcare organizations for free, and providers can pay a fee to claim their listing or boost their profile with additional information. This essentially streamlines the word-of-mouth system LGBTQ+ patients often use to find safe, trustworthy providers – or to learn which providers to avoid. But the platform also benefits providers by bringing them new patients, helping them establish trust with current patients, or helping them discover whether they need more training in LGBTQ+-informed care.

What makes QSPACES special?

QSPACES is currently a very small operation. The only long-term team members are the founders, Catherine Hofmann and Nic Anthony, and they’ve largely depended on a single grant and their own money for funding. In short, Hofmann and Anthony didn’t start QSPACES to become wealthy. They wanted to help their community find welcoming, respectful, and caring doctors.

QSPACES is also a great example of how tools that help one disadvantaged group can help other groups, if those tools are designed with intersectionality in mind. An LGBTQ+ patient might be looking for doctors who not only understand and value their gender identity and sexual orientation, but who also accept other elements of their identity. QSPACES uses tags to make it easier to find providers who fit multiple requirements. For example, providers can be tagged with the following, and more:

  • Black - Indigenous - Person of Color
  • Fat Positive
  • Trans Competent
  • Trauma Informed
  • Sex Worker Competent

Providers can also be tagged to indicate whether they accept insurance, offer a sliding scale for payment, or allow telehealth appointments. This means that QSPACES can be useful not only for people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but also for their heterosexual, cisgender allies.

With that in mind, we encourage our LGBTQ+ readers and allies to add listings for their healthcare providers! Remember, good and bad experiences are worth sharing.