Wellington doctor diagnoses woman with 'lesbianism'

  • 19/04/2018
A Wellington woman was diagnosed with 'lesbianism'.
A Wellington woman was diagnosed with 'lesbianism'. Photo credit: Getty/Supplied

A woman has been left confused after a doctor diagnosed her with 'lesbianism'.

The Wellington woman, identified only as Charlotte, made the bizarre discovery when she was shown a specialist referral letter the doctor, who isn’t her usual healthcare practitioner, had sent another service.

Her sexual orientation had been listed as a 'long term' medical condition, alongside genuine health afflictions. The old-fashioned phrase 'lesbianism' was also listed in her Manage My Health App.

Charlotte told NZME that she'd never heard the term before, but that she wasn't particularly offended.

"It doesn't really bother me, it's just weird, I think," she says.

"It would bother other people ... if I were sensitive about that sort of stuff I would probably get quite upset about that. It's not a disease."

After posting a screenshot of the 'diagnosis' in a Wellington community Facebook page, some people made jokes about their own 'conditions' while others said it was likely an app system error.

This doesn’t explain why 'lesbianism' was also listed in the referral letter, Charlotte says.

Richard Arnold, former chairman of Rainbow Wellington, says diagnosing someone with a sexual orientation was "absolutely inappropriate".

"Lesbianism and homosexuality in general hasn't been included as a disorder since the early 70s in the standard diagnostic manual of mental health conditions," he told NZME.

"It's extraordinary that that has happened, this is a doctor who's completely out of touch, it would seem like to me."

Charlotte has since received an apology about the 'diagnosis' from her usual doctor.