LGBTQ+ communities represent a diverse array of people with unique identities, experiences, and needs. If you or a loved one is LGBTQ+, these needs often include health information and resources that you can use.
Barriers to care, like discrimination, contribute to health disparities in LGBTQ+ communities. And certain myths may cause you to make health decisions with unintended consequences. So, it’s important to have access to inclusive healthcare providers and information from experts who understand your needs.
No matter your sexual orientation or gender, you should have access to health information relevant to you. This can empower you to better understand your options. This can also help you make better decisions about your care. Wherever you are on your journey, having the necessary information and tools can enable you to live more fully as your authentic self.
Being proactive with your health can help you avoid or identify potential health issues early on. But LGBTQ+ folks may be overlooked when it comes to screening and prevention tips. And it’s not always clear how recommendations apply to you.
It may be uncomfortable talking to your healthcare provider about screening for certain health conditions, like cervical cancer and prostate cancer. This is especially relevant if you’re transgender or gender nonconforming.
But it’s still an important discussion to have, since many health issues are more effectively treated when caught early. Resources are available to help you connect with an LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare provider to keep you on track with regular wellness exams.
It’s also important to get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like HIV. Early detection can help you start treatment sooner and protect others from exposure. And if you’re negative for HIV, ask if you’re a good candidate for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
There are treatments and medications that support LGBTQ+ folks, like gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT). GAHT is the use of hormones and other medications as part of gender-affirming care. But GAHT isn’t always available — or easy to find — where you live. And you may not know where to get started as you’re exploring your options.
Luckily, there’s information about estrogen-based and testosterone-based GAHT written by experts to help you better navigate your journey. And if you’re looking to pursue surgical interventions, like top surgery, resources are available to help you prepare.
And you may have specific needs when it comes to family planning, too. If you’re weighing your options for pregnancy prevention, there are many types of birth control available. But if you’re wanting to have children, it’s important to understand your options. This may include intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
It’s important that you have access to resources that help you access care, navigate health information, and provide support specific to your needs — or the needs of a loved one. Luckily, there are several organizations and other resources available.
The Trevor Project: Nonprofit organization focusing on suicide prevention and mental health for LGBTQ+ youth
TransParent USA: Organization providing support and resources for parents of gender-expansive children
Plume: Telehealth GAHT provider
Vivent Health: Provider of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services, as well as health and wellness services for people living with HIV
PFLAG: Organization providing support and resources for LGBTQ+ people and their families
Recommended Read: LGBTQ+ Homeless Resources: How To Access Free Help & Support
“LGBTQIA+” is an acronym that represents a variety of gender identities and sexual orientations. It’s used to describe those who don’t identity as straight, cisgender, or heterosexual.
“L” stands for lesbian
“G” stands for gay
“B” stands for bisexual
“T” stands for transgender
“Q” stands for queer or questioning
“I” stands for intersex
“A” stands for asexual
“+” represents a spectrum of other genders and sexualities, some of which letters and words can't yet fully describe
Social stigma and discrimination have led several health disparities for LGBTQ+ communities. Examples include:
Higher rates of suicide attempts
Higher risk of HIV and other STIs
Highest rates of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use
Higher rates of homelessness
Lower likelihood of seeking cancer prevention services
Lack of health insurance for transgender individuals
Improvements in LGBTQ+ health are needed to eliminate these disparities. By doing so, LGBQT+ people can lead longer, healthier lives.
When your child begins the process of sharing their LGBTQ+ identity, it’s very important to know how to support them in this process. A supportive environment can positively impact their mental health and self-acceptance.
Organizations like TransParent USA can connect you with parents who are also navigating their gender-expansive child’s journey. Depending on your situation, other resources are available for families of LGBTQ+ youth. Examples include PFLAG and the Family Acceptance Project.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.). Resources for families of LGBTQ+ youth.
Family Acceptance Project. (n.d.). LGBTQ youth & family resources to decrease mental health risks & promote well-being.
GLMA. (n.d.). Find a provider.
HealthyPeople.gov. (2022). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health.
PFLAG. (n.d.). PFLAG.
PleasePrEPMe.org. (n.d.). PleasePrEPMe.
Plume. (n.d.). Plume.
Plume. (2021). Trans fertility and pregnancy.
Russell, S. T., et al. (2016). Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.
The Trevor Project. (n.d.). The Trevor Project.
TransParent. (n.d.). Mission.
TransParent. (n.d.). TransParent.
Vivent Health. (n.d.). Vivent Health.