In honor of Pride Month, the American Lung Association is honored to highlight several health organizations that are working to minimize the health disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ population. These remarkable organizations have become beacons of hope, actively working to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. Through their tireless efforts, they strive to dismantle barriers, advocate for inclusive policies, provide vital resources, and foster safe and affirming environments for all. Their work is not only transforming the landscape of LGBTQ+ healthcare but also paving the way for a future where every individual, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can access the care they deserve.
National LGBT Cancer Network
The National LGBT Cancer Network addresses the intersection of LGBTQ+ identities and cancer, including guidance on navigating healthcare systems, fostering inclusive and affirming healthcare environments, and understanding the specific health needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. From comprehensive articles to personal stories of resilience and triumph, they create a safe space for connection, empowerment, and education. They provide critical resources that address the distinct challenges LGBTQ+ individuals may face, such as coming out to healthcare providers, accessing appropriate and culturally sensitive care, and building support networks. Not only do they provide insight into the latest advancements in LGBTQ+-inclusive cancer care, research, and treatment options but they also address health disparities and foster a more equitable and inclusive landscape for all. This inclusive platform acknowledges the unique challenges and experiences that LGBTQ+ individuals may encounter during their cancer journey.
Trillium Health proudly presents a comprehensive online hub dedicated to Pride and LGBTQ+ support. They offer empowerment, inclusivity, and resources for the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike. They provide LGBTQ+ health resources, services, and events tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by the community. From LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare services to mental health support, sexual health resources and HIV/AIDS care, Trillium Health is committed to providing comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally sensitive care. Trillium Health's Pride and LGBTQ+ support website serves as a valuable hub for individuals seeking guidance on coming out, navigating relationships, accessing gender-affirming care and connecting with local LGBTQ+ organizations. Whether you are seeking medical assistance, mental health resources or simply a supportive community, Trillium Health stands as a beacon of hope and affirmation. In 2022, Trillium Health was active in promoting tobacco and vape-free spaces at Rochester Pride to help provide advocacy regarding LGBTQ+ tobacco and lung-health disparities.
Howard Brown Health
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health is one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ organizations, providing more than 40,000 adults and youth with access to health and social services including primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STI prevention, youth services, elder services and community initiatives. Rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation, Howard Brown Health provides affirming healthcare and mobilizes for social justice. They are agents of change for individual well-being and community empowerment. Today, Howard Brown Health is a recognized Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and operates 11 centers across the entire Chicago region, including five centers serving the south and west sides of Chicago.
Howard Brown Health envisions a future where healthcare and transformative social policies actualize human rights and equity for all. To combat the higher use of tobacco among the LGBTQ community, the agency provides smoking cessation services to educate the community about the dangers of smoking cigarettes and nicotine products. In 2022, Howard Brown assisted nearly 3,000 patients and clients in adopting a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Heal + NM
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, HEAL+NM is a community organization that works to achieve health equity and promote wellbeing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, transgender, gender nonconforming, queer, intersex, asexual and pansexual (LGBTQ+) people through community organizing, education, advocacy, and messaging. Their latest campaign for mental health services, "Healing is in your hands" promoted HEAL+NM’s Bright Spaces, Welcome Spaces directory of behavioral health agencies that are queer and trans-affirming. Each agency has gone through a policy scan including screening for tobacco and nicotine use and setting up referral systems for interested clients. Additionally, Heal + NM’s SQUINCH program, which stands for Sharing Queer Understanding, Inclusion, Nonviolent Communication, and Health, has been designed to develop health relationship skills and understanding about queer and trans identities. Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA’s) and other youth groups are encouraged to use these modules by sharing and leading associated discussions and activities. Since 2003, HEAL + NM has gathered as a network of concerned community members to develop positive health messages by and for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans. Learn more about HEAL+NM here.
Charlotte Trans Health
Charlotte Trans Health is a North Carolina Nonprofit comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals across the state. Their mission is to reduce health and healthcare disparities for the transgender and gender diverse (TGD) community by increasing access to competent, gender-affirming healthcare. Numerous studies show that fear of mistreatment prevents many TGD people from seeking routine and preventative medical care, driving a wide range of health disparities. They aim to rectify this by increasing the clinical and cultural competency of its members through training, case consultation, clinical supervision and professional mentorship. Additionally, their Access to Care program provides free and low-cost gender-affirming care. Beginning in 2023, they are also initiating efforts to increase community capacity to provide gender-affirming care through training partnerships with other local nonprofits, health centers and government agencies.
Queer Asterisk is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization guided by queer & transgender leadership and rooted in community, providing equity-focused counseling services, educational trainings, and therapeutic programs that center queer and trans experiences. Queer Asterisk envisions a vibrant community that embraces authentic expression and transformation, where individuals with dynamic and intersecting identities can thrive.
These five remarkable organizations are catalysts for change in addressing the healthcare disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ population. The National LGBT Cancer Network, Trillium Health, Howard Brown Health, HEAL+NM, Charlotte Trans Health and Queer Asterisk are actively working to dismantle barriers, advocate for inclusive policies, provide vital resources and foster safe and affirming environments for all. Their tireless efforts are transforming the landscape of LGBTQ+ healthcare, ensuring that every individual, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can access the care they deserve. As we celebrate Pride Month, let us recognize and support the invaluable work of these organizations and continue to strive for a world where every form of healthcare is truly inclusive for all.
Blog last updated: August 25, 2023