Recognizing the importance of access to quality broadband connection for LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas
connectivity is crucial for the LGBTQ+ community — especially for those living in rural areas
How does access to broadband effect LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas?
LGBTQ+ folks living in rural areas may not have easy access to physical queer spaces such as LGBTQ+ community centers or nightlife. Online platforms can provide important alternative social spaces and resources for LGBTQ+ people — such as support groups, and relevant social media groups.
According to one study, many LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas reported experiencing discrimination and bias in accessing healthcare, which can also lead patients to not feel safe disclosing important information to their healthcare provider. Telehealth provides more options and access to LGBTQ+-informed healthcare providers.
Often, LGBTQ+ folks turn to the internet first when exploring their identity. This is especially important for LGBTQ+ youth living in rural areas who may not have the same exposure to many openly queer people in their community. The internet is an important resource for information about gender and sexuality, especially for youth who do not have access to comprehensive and LGBTQ+ inclusive sexual education classes.
From the very beginning of the Internet, the LGBTQ+ community has understood the benefits and serious risks the Internet provides. As technology continues to evolve, the span of the internet continues to increase, often in concentrated areas, leaving individuals in rural populations behind.
LGBT Tech works to keep the LGBTQ+ community informed and ensures policy makers, companies and public support systems are aware of the best practices to use when thinking about the LGBTQ+ communities need for rural connectivity.
You may decide that the only way to be out in a community that's rural or small is to start your own business; to do your own path. Therefore entrepreneurship for me, is a path out of discrimination for minorities. The other side of the coin is that in a lot of rural communities don't have access to tech, you may not have access to broadband connection that's stable, resources, or people that can show you the way to do this
-Carlos Gutierrez, Deputy Director
& General Counsel, LGBT Tech