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Wisconsin Department of Health Services


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Lesbian and Bisexual Women

female couple

Lesbian and bisexual women have many of the same health concerns as women who are not lesbian or bisexual. For example, all women should maintain a healthy diet and body weight, exercise regularly, limit alcohol consumption, and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. These actions can reduce a woman's risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death for women in America. 

Many other recommendations for health promoting behaviors, such as wearing a seatbelt, washing hands, and getting screened for diseases regularly, apply to all women, though it is questioned whether lesbian and bisexual women are exposed to health promoting messages at the same rates as their peers who are not lesbian or bisexual.

However, it is important for lesbian and bisexual women to be aware that they are more likely to experience certain adverse health outcomes. Studies demonstrate that lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of heavy drinking and obesity and are less likely to seek routine breast and cervical cancer screening than other women. 

In Wisconsin, evidence indicates that LGBT adults have poorer health outcomes in violence/safety, alcohol use, and mental health. For example, when compared to their non-LGBT peers, LGBT people are twice times as likely to binge drink, 6 times as likely to be afraid for their safety, and 7 times as likely to have felt depressed in the past 30 days.

The following selection of resources is intended to increase awareness of health issues and disparities affecting lesbian and bisexual women. Use the left side navigation bar to learn more about any of the health concerns addressed below.

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.

Hyperlinks marked with the State icon icon indicate Wisconsin resources.

GENERAL RESOURCES

Health information for lesbian and bisexual women
Description:
CDC's webpage on general health concerns among lesbian woman 
Resource availability:
Internet

Ten Things Lesbians Should discuss with Their Healthcare Provider
Description:
Guidelines for communication published by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Resource availability:
Internet

See all General Resources

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Alcohol addiction
Description:
Symptoms of alcohol addiction and statistics about alcohol use among LGBT people published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability:
Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Internet

Drug abuse
Description:
Symptoms of drug abuse and statistics about drug use among LGBT people published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability:
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Internet

Pride Institute
Description:
LGBT drug and alcohol addiction treatment center
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fort Lauderdale, Florida

CANCER

Cancer facts for lesbian and bisexual women
Description:
Information on risk, prevention, and detection of lung, skin, colon, breast, and gynecological cancers among lesbian and bisexual women; published by the American Cancer Society
Resource availability: Internet

Mautner Project
Description: The Mautner Project is committed to improving the health of women who partner with women including lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, through direct and support service, education advocacy.
Resource availability: Internet

National LGBT Cancer Network
Description:
Information on population specific cancer risks, optional electronic screening reminder 
Resource availability:
Internet

National LGBT Cancer Project
Description: National nonprofit LGBT organization providing cancer survivor support and advocacy services.
Resource availability:
Internet

Out With Cancer
Description:
Cancer information and social network for LGBT persons diagnosed with cancer.
Resource availability: Internet 

Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women
Description: Policy paper from the Fenway Institute addressing the importance of cervical cancer screening for lesbian and bisexual women.
Resource availability: Internet

Wisconsin Well Woman ProgramState icon
Description: The Wisconsin Well Woman Program provides preventive health screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage.
Resource availability:
Internet

HIV/AIDS

AIDS NetworkState icon
Description:
Legal, life care, prevention, and support group information for people living with AIDS
Resource availability: South Central Wisconsin

AIDS Resource Center of WisconsinState icon
Description:
Medical center, social services, and prevention programs 
Resource availability:
Wisconsin

Wisconsin HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Information and Referral CenterState icon
Description:
Fact sheets, testing referrals, and external links
Resource availability: Internet

MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety disorders in LGBT populations
Description:
Information on anxiety disorders in LGBT populations published by the Pride Institute 
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Internet

Depression in LGBT populations
Description:
Information on depression in LGBT populations published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability:
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Internet

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Description: A 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Resource availability: Internet & toll-free hotline: 1-800-273-TALK [8255]

SEXUAL HEALTH

STDs in Lesbian Populations
Description:
Information on STDs in lesbian populations published by the University of Washington, Seattle
Resource availability:
Internet 

Wisconsin HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Information and Referral CenterState icon
Description:
Information and service finder for STD diagnosis and treatment 
Resource availability:
Wisconsin

TOBACCO

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- Tips from Former Smokers
Description:
Real stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Resource availability: Internet

National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
Description:
Quit strategies and resources, outreach information, statistics, and scientific literature 
Resource availability:
Internet

rm2BreatheState icon
Description:
State-wide anti-tobacco program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, coordinated by Diverse and Resilient
Resource availability: Wisconsin

VIOLENCE/SAFETY

AARDVARC (An Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection) 
Description: Information on domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships, including state laws and how to recognizing and reacting to abuse and locate resources 
Resource Availability:
Internet

Anti-Violence ProjectState icon
Description:
Victim advocacy, community outreach, and service provider education program at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
Resource availability: Milwaukee

Lesbian Partner Violence Fact Sheet
Description:
Definitions, statistics, and legal information about domestic violence between lesbian women; published by the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center at the University of Missouri at St. Louis
Resource availability: Internet

Northwest Network
Description: LGBT information and support regarding abuse and violence (based in Seattle, WA)
Resource availability: Internet 

StopBullying.gov
Description: Information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
Resource availability: Internet

Gay & Bisexual Men

Lesbian & Bisexual Women

Transgender Persons

LGBT Youth LGBT Older Persons Educators Service Providers

Last Revised: June 19, 2014