Updated: Oct 14, 2020
For LGBTQ+ individuals, the internet has always been a critically important tool that allows access to vital resources—from education to employment to health care—as well as connection with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is especially true in rural communities, where more and more LGBTQ+ people are choosing to call home, as LGBTQ+ individuals may depend even more on the internet to find connection with others given the geographic and cultural challenges inherent in rural communities.
Among other disparities, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the stark digital divide facing rural Americans. Statewide closures have shuttered many of the traditional meeting places for the LGBTQ+ community—including bars, coffee shops, cafes, and vital community centers—making ubiquitous broadband access more important than it has ever been. Congress must take action and find new solutions to achieve universal broadband so that no one is left behind.
The LGBTQ+ community has always been more heavily reliant on internet connectivity, with 80 percent of LGBTQ+ people networking online and 81 percent of LGBTQ+ youth using the internet to search for health information. Our PowerOn program has been working to ensure that homeless, isolated, and disadvantaged LGBTQ+ individuals have access to technology and broadband internet connections by advocating for greater funding and support for LGBTQ+ community centers nationwide.