LGBTQ people often have to rely on word-of-mouth to find safe and empowering care, said Mallory Pollock, president of Casper Pride. You could ask a friend of a friend who their doctor or therapist is, for example.
But many LGBTQ people in Wyoming don’t have that kind of social circle to lean on, Pollock said. That’s why Casper Pride created the Casper Pride Guide, a growing list of local LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers and resources that launched in January.
“It’s kind of a coming-out story for the queer community’s underground network,” Pollock said.
The guide, available at casperprideguide.comwas made possible by a federal grant from the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.
LGBTQ people 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 said they received the health care they needed.
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Discrimination and stigma often discourage them from seeking care in the first place. Even if they do, the service might not be good. Even well-meaning providers are generally not trained to help LGBTQ people and struggle to stay tuned to their needs.
For this reason, part of the guide is devoted to identifying trusted practitioners in Wyoming. The site also offers support groups, fact sheets and toolkits, and a calendar of upcoming social events.
There are also pages for more targeted health services, such as substance abuse and assisted suicide. Casper Pride turned to its 2019 investigation for help putting them together, Pollock said.
The survey asked members of the LGBTQ community about the types of resources they needed most. Suicide prevention topped 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 is considering additional pages for legal and youth services, as well as nonprofits and LGBTQ businesses.
The guide has also become a resource for healthcare providers – since the site’s launch, Casper Pride has spoken to several practitioners about how they can provide more informed and sensitive care to LGBTQ patients.
Organizations or companies interested in being part of the guide can apply on the Casper Pride Guide website. There’s also a page to apply for The Trans Project, a grantmaking program through Casper Pride that funds initiatives that support Natrona County’s transgender community.
PHOTOS: Casper Pride holds its annual event at David Street Station