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Ready, Set, Go: Resources to Care for the LGBTQIA+ Community


June is a time of many celebrations, one such being PRIDE.  PRIDE is not only a remembrance of the Stonewall Riots (1969) which was a pivotal moment in the movement to advance the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and all sexual and gender minority (LGBTQIA+) people in the United States but also a  time to gather the community to share experiences and celebrate diversity.  

Community Health Centers (CHCs) have been working to make life healthier for the people in their neighborhood including the LGBTQIA+ community. As part of providing affirming and culturally appropriate care, CHCs are taking time to learn about the gender identity and sexual orientation of patients in a sensitive, person-centric approach. A previous study by the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute shared the journeys of four community health centers. Patients at these health centers completed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to providing feedback on the questions themselves. Across lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual respondents, “4 out of 5 them agreed it is important for their provides to know about their sexual orientation.” In terms of gender identity, 78% of all respondents strongly agreed that they would answer the gender identity question and 85% would answer the birth at sex question. The report lays forth the nuances of feedback across sexual orientation and gender identities of respondents, which illuminates the importance of the questions themselves, the wording, and the options provided. 

Given their trailblazing leadership and research, the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center shared with the National PRAPARE® Team questions on sexual orientation and gender identity from their recently published guide  “Ready, Set, Go! Guide for Collecting Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”  to be included in PRAPARE 2.0*. The guide also provides helpful insights, tips, and strategies to ensure the questions are asked in a person-centric manner. 

From their inception, CHCs have spearheaded equity-based care and initiatives in their communities; providing safe and inclusive spaces for all to receive comprehensive, high-quality health care, connecting communities and resources, and advocating for change. When health centers are equipped with detailed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data, not only are they better able to provide care and services to the LGBTQIA+ community within their four walls, but they are also able to shine a light on persistent disparities in access and outcomes that may be remedied through upstream solutions. This opportunity to collect critical data becomes a powerful moment to build relationships when detailed SOGI questions incorporate community voice and feedback to create more nuanced, person-centric options. This can result in individuals from across sexual orientation and gender identities to be seen, heard, and valued by their care teams and beyond.

The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center has an extensive menu of programs, trainings, and resources. If you and your health center staff would like more individualized technical assistance from the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center to provide care to the LGBTQIA+ community, please complete their technical assistance request form. 

* PRAPARE® 2.0 is currently being piloted in the field until the spring of 2023.

Authors: Nalani Tarrant, Sarah Halpin, and Yuriko de la Cruz

Questions? Email the PRAPARE team