Implementation Considerations for Advancing Health Equity among Rural LGBTQ+ Populations
As described in the Social Determinants of Health
Toolkit, there are common characteristics of rural communities that may affect the health and well-being
of LGBTQ+ populations. These characteristics include lack of knowledgeable and affirming healthcare and social
service providers, limited support structures, and oppression and discrimination. In addition, rural areas are
less likely to have laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Discrimination influences the ability of LGBTQ+ people to have equal access to health-promoting services and
other factors that affect health and well-being, such as jobs, education, and employment.
The Movement Advancement Project — in partnership with the Equality Federation, the National Black Justice
Coalition, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — released a report on LGBT people in rural areas that
included health-related recommendations. Some suggestions focus on
issues affecting LGBTQ+ people in rural areas, such as:
Enhancing research and data collection about LGBTQ+ people living in rural areas
Increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in rural areas
Uplifting the voices of rural LGBTQ+ residents
Encouraging organizations and individuals in rural communities to accept LGBTQ+ people and support equity
Enhancing rural infrastructure and resources
Enacting legal protections and nondiscrimination policies for LGBTQ+ people in rural areas
The report also identified recommendations specific to improving healthcare and social services for LGBTQ+
people in rural areas. Rural communities can consider implementing training, education, and outreach to support
healthcare and social service providers serving LGBTQ+ people. Additionally, communities may benefit from
conducting assessments of LGBTQ+ populations' needs, tailoring services to their needs and preferences, and
enhancing referrals to other organizations that provide inclusive services.
Our Online Library identifies additional resources related to rural LGBTQ+
populations. The Rural Monitor has also featured healthcare organizations that are building inclusive rural practices for
Resources to Learn More
Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health
Equity: Session Recordings
Collection of credit and noncredit training webinars covering a range of LGBTQ+ health issues.
Organization(s): Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, University of Maryland School of
Health and Health Care of Rural Sexual
and Gender Minorities: A Systematic Review
Presents the findings from a literature review describing the common challenges rural LGBT patients experience
when receiving healthcare and how they contribute to health disparities. Highlights evidence-based
recommendations and interventions to promote health for rural LGBT populations.
Author(s): Rosenkrantz, D. E., Black, W. W., Abreu, R. L., Aleshire, M. E., & Fallin-Bennett, K.
Citation: Stigma and Health, 2(3), 229-243
National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
Provides free trainings to help providers and health centers better serve the LGBTQIA+ community.
Organization(s): The Fenway Institute
Offers training for providers who serve aging LGBTQ populations. Includes a train-the-trainer option allowing
providers to administer the curriculum to their colleagues.
Organization(s): Howard Brown Health