Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and/or questioning individuals often face disparities in access to health care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LGBTQ youth have increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality. But when their need for care is met, resiliency increases, according to recent research.
“The LGBTQ+ community in Oregon has unique health needs both mental and physical, and our medical system, historically, was not built to meet these needs,” Blair Stenvick, communications manager at Basic Rights Oregon, said.
Access to equitable and supportive health care can be hard to find for members of the LGBTQ community. Here are 10 resources that may help.
Youth Era’s Eugene Drop center, located at 44 W. Seventh Ave. in Eugene, is a community-based space for ages 14 to 25 open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Eugene Drop offers leadership groups, peer support, homework help, snacks, games, movies and specific events.
"We do have LGBTQI empowerment groups, groups where youth can come together and talk about the different barriers or things that they're working on," said Alberto Maldonado, the regional manager of both Eugene and Salem's drop-in centers.
Weekly events include Taco 'bout it Tuesday and Work of Art Wednesday, which encourage young people to speak freely together. While services are not limited to people in the LGBTQI community, there are some specific events and groups for that demographic. Because the center works to be a safe space, Maldonado said LGBTQI young tend to gather there.
"The youth in our community have really tied themselves to the drop-in center," Maldonado said. "It's a space where you can just come be and be empowered while you're there."
Youth Era has drop-in centers around the state.
PFLAG is a nonprofit organization that coordinates a national network of support for LGBTQ individuals and their families. With chapters across the state and nation, they provide a variety of services, such as training, toolkits and connections to resources.
TransPonder is a small grassroots organization founded and led by transgender community members based in Eugene. The group provides support, resources, trainings and education for and about transgender and gender-diverse people as well as allies through meetings, socials and special events.
Find more information and local resources from TransPonder at transponder.community.
Spectrum Counseling, located in Portland, provides counseling services focused on LGBTQ clients. They offer teletherapy to clients located outside of Portland for those who cannot make the drive.
They accept most in-network insurance and are often able to take Oregon Health Plan (OHP) with pre-approval. See the website's “insurance and fees” tab for more information.
HIV Alliance was established in Eugene in 1994 to support people living with HIV/AIDS and prevent new HIV infections.
Now, HIV Alliance offers free and confidential HIV, hepatitis C, and some STI tests, including needle exchanges. The organization offers education and prevention services for HIV Hepatitis C, behavioral health, and runs a variety of events to reach communities.
Spectrum is a café, restaurant, bar, venue and gathering space for the Eugene-area's LGBTQIA+ community. At 150 W. Broadway in Eugene, the space hosts events such as Gaymer Night, identity-specific socials, and watch parties Tuesday through Sunday.
The OutCare Health website can be used to find an LGBTQ-friendly provider as well as other healthcare resources. Type in your location and what type of provider you are seeking to see a list of nearby services.
NAYA Family Center of Portland
NAYA Family Center is a multi-service agency that provides a range of services for indigenous youth, adults and families, including Two-Spirit and LGBTQ support groups and events.
Some services include their two-spirit safe space alliance, mental health groups, referrals and resources, family wellness programming, health policy advocacy and fitness classes.
Basic Rights Oregon
Basic Rights Oregon advocates for health care access for underserved communities. It addresses gaps in care through policy and legislative advocacy and works with partner organizations throughout Oregon.
A lot of their work is centered around “being proactive about preventing inequities,” communications manager Blair Stenvick said.
If you are experiencing or have experienced inequitable care, reach out to Basic Rights Oregon for resource referral and consultations. If you are unsure about your experience, see their “Know Your Rights” page.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline / Oregon Crisis Text Line
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is for anyone experiencing emotional distress or in a suicidal crisis. All support provided via the hotline is free and confidential.
The current hotline is 800-273-8255, but beginning July 16, the three-digit code, 988, will become available to everyone nationwide. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The crisis text line for Oregonians who need immediate behavioral health support also is free and available 24/7. Text OREGON to 741741 to talk with a live, trained crisis counselor.
If you are struggling to decide on a medical provider, the Lewis & Clark Grad School TransActive Gender Project has this list of questions and considerations when choosing a provider.
For more resources, see the Oregon LGBT Resources website.
Reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick contributed to this report.
Sydney Wyatt covers healthcare inequities in the Mid-Willamette Valley for the Statesman Journal. You can contact her at SWyatt@gannett.com, by phone (503) 399-6613, or on Twitter @sydney_elise44 The Statesman Journal’s coverage of healthcare inequities is funded in part by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, which seeks to strengthen the cultural, social, educational, and spiritual base of the Pacific Northwest through capacity-building investments in the nonprofit sector.
This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Oregon LGBTQ physical and mental health resources