LGBTQ people often have to rely on word-of-mouth to find safe and affirming care, said Mallory Pollock, chair of Casper Pride. You might ask a friend of a friend who their doctor or therapist is, for example.
But a lot of LGBTQ people in Wyoming don’t have that kind of social circle to lean on, Pollock said. That’s why Casper Pride put together the Casper Pride Guide, a growing list of LGBTQ-friendly health care providers and local resources that launched in January.
“It’s kind of a coming out story for the underground network that the queer community has,” Pollock said.
The guide, available on casperprideguide.com, was made possible by a federal grant through the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.
LGBTQ individuals tend to receive less frequent and lower quality medical care compared to the rest of the population. In Casper Pride’s 2019 survey of LGBTQ people in Natrona County, only about 20% of respondents reported getting the health care they need.
Discrimination and stigma often discourage them from seeking care in the first place. Even if they do, the service might not be good quality. Even well-meaning providers usually aren’t trained to help LGBTQ people, and struggle to stay in tune with their needs.
For that reason, part of the guide is dedicated to identifying trusted practitioners in Wyoming. The site also has support groups, fact sheets and tool kits, and a calendar of upcoming social events.
There’s also pages for more targeted health services, like substance abuse and suicide support. Casper Pride looked to its 2019 survey for help putting those together, Pollock said.
The survey polled LGBTQ community members about what kinds of resources they needed most. Suicide prevention was at the top of the list, according to Pollock. Calls for better mental health care, more resources for LGBTQ youth and help for victims of bullying also stood out.
There’s plenty of room for the Casper Pride Guide to grow, Pollock said. She envisions additional pages for legal and youth services, and LGBTQ-friendly nonprofits and businesses.
The guide’s become a resource for health care providers, too — since the site launched, Casper Pride’s talked to several practitioners about how they can provide more informed, sensitive care to LGBTQ patients.
Organizations or businesses interested in being part of the guide can apply on the Casper Pride Guide website. There’s also a page to apply to the Trans Project, a grant program through Casper Pride that funds initiatives that support Natrona County’s transgender community.
PHOTOS: Casper Pride holds their annual event at David Street Station
Get local news delivered to your inbox!