The Lesbian Health Fund (LHF), a program of GLMA, improves the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ women and girls through funding rigorous scientific research. Since its inception in 1992, LHF has funded 126 research projects, awarding over $1.2 million in grants. Our grants are crucial catalysts to larger, multi-million dollar studies funded by federal agencies.
And today, LHF remains the only research fund dedicated solely to advancing the understanding of the unique health needs of LGBTQ+ women and girls. There is still a great need to understand how social determinants, especially race and ethnicity, influence the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ women and girls.
The mission of the Lesbian Health Fund is to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ women and girls through funding rigorous scientific research. We achieve this mission through funding small-scale pilot grants and studies that establish knowledge of factors that impact our communities' health and shape our unique health needs.
LHF believes healthcare isn't a privilege but a right, and improving the health and wellbeing of the most marginalized and ignored uplifts all of society. We are committed to this mission until the causes of inequitable healthcare and outcomes are dismantled in our community.
Misinformation, homophobia among health care providers, and a lack of scientific data on basic lesbian health needs result in dangerously inadequate health care for many lesbians.
The serious impact these factors have on lesbian health is evidenced by alarming rates of suicidal behavior among lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth; high incidence of stress-related chronic illnesses in lesbian adults; and avoidance of preventive health services by lesbians of all ages.
In order to improve lesbian health care, comprehensive research must be conducted, homophobia must be addressed within the health professions, and lesbians and their providers must become better informed.
Research is underway on the following issues:
Educating Providers and Scientists
Important results from LHF-funded studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at professional conferences on topics including:
Launching Further Studies and Leveraging Millions of Dollars
LHF grants have been crucial to propelling promising research questions to the attention of other, larger granting agencies. The small grants LHF provides allow researchers to test concepts and collect pilot data that must be done before other agencies will consider funding larger studies. Receiving an LHF grant is often a catalyst to receiving much larger grants from other agencies. Our grantees have been awarded millions of dollars from federal agencies and research funding organizations to pursue groundbreaking research in lesbian health that would not have been possible without the initial funding from LHF.
Dedicated Support for LGBTQ+ Women and Girls' Health
LHF centers and uplifts communities whose lived experiences and health are impacted by sexism, misogyny, transmisogyny, and/or misogynoir using an anti-oppressive approach in pursuit of health justice. LGBTQ+ health research is still generally underfunded, but only 6.5% of LGBTQ+ research funded by the National Institutes of Health includes lesbian women despite LBQ women representing 55% of the LGBTQ+ adult population, and LBQ and questioning girls comprising 66% of the LGBTQ+ youth population.
We've expanded the LHF community over the last three decades to reflect the LGBTQ+ community's growth and increased visibility; however, LHF remains committed to prioritizing research led by and for LGBTQ+ women and girls to address this disparity within our community.
For more information on LHF's work, click here.
The 2023 grant cycle closed on February 28, 2023. Please check back for next year's call for applications.
In 2022, LHF is proud to have granted $30,000 in funding to three outstanding early-career researchers and their groundbreaking research projects. Congratulations to our 2022 LHF grant recipients!