In 2010, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and its tribal, community, and federal partners united to create the LGBTQ–Two-Spirit workgroup in order to advance the equality, health status, and well-being of all LGBTQ–Two-Spirit American Indian/Alaska Native individuals (AI/AN), their families, and their communities.
The mission of IHS is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of all AI/ANs to the highest level, and our goal is to ensure that comprehensive, culturally acceptable personal and public health services are available and accessible. The LGBTQ-Two- Spirit population has unique healthcare needs, is at greater risk for multiple health threats, and often experiences low quality care due to a variety of factors, including discrimination. All people should receive health services that are formulated to address their particular circumstances and meet their individual needs.
LGBTQ–Two-Spirit individuals are part of our AI/AN communities and families. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 87 percent of Americans know someone who is gay or lesbian. The LGBTQ–Two-Spirit Workgroup offers advice to IHS leadership in order to ensure that LGBTQ–Two-Spirit AI/ANs, their families, and the communities where they live receive equal access to health services by providing enhanced resources for LGBTQ–Two-Spirit health issues. The workgroup makes recommendations to IHS leadership on the development of information regarding LGBTQ–Two-Spirit health needs, and works to close the LGBTQ-Two-Spirit health disparities gap that currently exists.
For more information or to join the LGBTQ–Two-Spirit Workgroup, contact Rick Haverkate.