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LGBTQIA+ Health: Finding LGBTQ+ Research


Searching for medical research about LGBTQIA+ people can be complicated; the words that we use to describe ourselves may change over time, and the language used by the community may also differ from what is used by medical providers. You may see words in databases that are outdated or even offensive. Controlled vocabulary (i.e., subject headings like MeSH terms) are updated regularly, but they can still be behind the times, so it is important to know both the subject headings used and lay terms that could be used to describe your patient group. In order to get the most expansive search results, you should try a mix of keywords and subject headings when doing a database search. Clinical research is often about specific behaviors and not identities (i.e., "men who sleep with men" as opposed to "gay men"), so umbrella acronyms like "LGBT" or "LGBTQIA" or "GLBT" might not be used in some articles.

Pubmed includes filters for:

  • LGBT+
  • Bisexual
  • Women who have sex with Women (WSW)
  • Men who have sex with Men (MSM)
  • Trans*.

Additionally, the following MeSH terms may be useful:

  • “Sexual and Gender Minorities”[Mesh]
  • "Intersex Persons"[Mesh]
  • "Transgender Persons"[MeSH]
  • "Bisexuality"[MeSH]
  • "Homosexuality, Male"[MeSH]
  • "Homosexuality, Female"[MeSH]
  • "Health Services for Transgender Persons"[MeSH]
  • "Health Disparity, Minority and Vulnerable Populations"[Mesh]

CINAHL has a number of subject headings that could be helpful:

  • LGBTQ+ Persons [CINAHL]
  • Bisexuals [CINAHL]
  • Gay Persons  [CINAHL]
  • Gender Affirmation Surgery [CINAHL]
  • Gender Affirmation Procedures [CINAHL]

The following subject headings are useful when searching the catalog for books. GU's resources are limited, so make sure you are expanding your search to Summit Libraries in order to find materials from other libraries:

Reference Resources

Statistics & Data