Perspective on equitable translational and clinical studies for an unbiased inclusion of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.


Research regarding the mental health of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, 2 Spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) community has been historically biased by individual and structural homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, resulting in research that does not represent the best quality science. Furthermore, much of this research does not serve the best interests or priorities of LGBTQIA2S+ communities, despite significant mental health disparities and great need for quality mental health research and treatments in these populations. Here, we will highlight how bias has resulted in missed opportunities for advancing understanding of mental health within LGBTQIA2S+ communities. We cite up-to-date research on mental health disparities facing the LGBTQIA2S+ community and targeted treatment strategies, as well as guidance from health care professionals. Importantly, research is discussed from both preclinical and clinical perspectives, providing common language and research priorities from a translational perspective. Given the rising tide of anti-transgender sentiment among certain political factions, we further emphasize and discuss the impact of historical and present day ciscentrism and structural transphobia in transgender mental health research, from both clinical and translational perspectives, with suggestions for future directions to improve the quality of this field. Finally, we address current best practices for treatment of mental health issues in this community. This approach provides an opportunity to dispel myths regarding the LGBTQIA2S+ community as well as inform the scientific community of best practices to work with this community in an equitable manner. Thus, our approach ties preclinical and clinical research within the LGBTQIA2S+ community.