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Midwest Matters June 19th, 2024
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Pride Week 4: Searching for Quality Resources for Sexual and Gender Minority Health

Posted by on June 22nd, 2022 Posted in: Blog
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Search bar with "LGBTQ+ Health"

As mentioned earlier in this series of articles for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) is Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM). This term is nested under Health Disparity, Minority and Vulnerable Populations, and below SGM are Intersex Persons and Transgender Persons.

The scope note for SGM reads:

Individuals including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, gender non-conforming people, and other populations whose sexual orientation or GENDER IDENTITY and reproductive development is considered outside cultural, societal, or physiological norms.
Year introduced: 2018

Note that gender identity is also a MeSH term, indicated by all caps in the note. Here are some other resources and terms to use when researching LGBTQ+ health.

MedlinePlus Population Groups
The quickest way to find information in MedlinePlus is to use the search box and enter the term LGBTQ+ health or LGBTQ+. The inclusion of q will help pull up the MedlinePlus page dedicated to LGBTQ+ health along with other vetted sources.

Another way to reach the MedlinePlus page for LGBTQ+ individuals (or other demographic groups), is to start at Health Topics > Demographic Groups > Population Groups, scroll to LGBTQ+ Health.

A great tool in MedlinePlus is the link to Journal Articles on each topic page. For LGBTQ+ the preformulated search is as follows:

“Transgender Persons”[majr:noexp] OR “Sexual and Gender Minorities”[majr:noexp] OR “Homosexuality”[majr:noexp] OR “Health Services for Transgender Persons”[majr:noexp] OR “Bisexuality”[majr:noexp] AND humans[mh] AND english[la] AND “last 1 Year” [edat] AND (patient education handout[pt] OR guideline[pt] OR clinical trial[pt]) NOT (letter[pt] OR case reports[pt] OR editorial[pt] OR comment[pt]) AND free full text[sb]

This string can be edited and pasted into the search box depending upon your needs.

Youth.gov: Key Terms and Concepts
Youth.gov covers some of the key concepts and terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Also included is a page on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

LGBTQIA+ Glossary of Terms for Health Care Teams
This publication from the LGBTQIA Health Education center can be downloaded. Although not limited to search terms, the glossary provides terms relevant to the health care and identities of LGBTQ+ people.

SAMHSA Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information and Resource Kit . Although not strictly terms for research, SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), this document provides Helpful Terms for Prevention Specialists and Healthcare Providers, section A-1. See also: SAMHSA Programs and Initiatives.


Many college and university libraries provide guides with recommended search strategies. What other resources and keywords do you use when searching for SGM health information?

Image of the author ABOUT Jacqueline Leskovec
Jacqueline Leskovec, MLIS, MA, RN (she/her) is the Network Specialist for NNLM Region 6. She is the lead for the Partner Outreach Program (POP), Network membership and user accounts, the Data Reporting System (DRS), and the Region 6 website. She has been with the Network since 2005. In addition to being a health sciences librarian, Jacqueline maintains her license as a registered nurse. She works from her home office in Chicago. She is well acquainted with power tools and will be happy to bore you with details of her many home repair and remodel adventures.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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