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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

WY theater company talks health care on stage

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024   

As Pride Month winds down, health advocates want members of the LGBTQ+ community to know about health care options, despite any challenges to obtaining them.

Nearly 8% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or some other sexual orientation besides heterosexual, according to 2023 data, which is more than double the number in 2012.

Despite the increase, the group still faces health care disparities. According to a 2023 survey from the health policy organization KFF, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to self-report poorer health, experience higher rates of disability and have more need for mental health services. Those living in rural places face additional challenges.

Kenny Starling, owner of Wyoming's debut drag and theater production company, said health care can feel like a taboo topic, especially for queer people.

"On top of that, the actual health care providers themselves being up-to-date on the information about queer individuals and the resources that should be available to us," Starling pointed out.

Starling noted it took them four months to find a local doctor willing to work with them to obtain Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, an HIV preventive Starling's original doctor had not even heard of. According to KFF, nearly half of LGBTQ+ people have reported a negative experience with a health care provider in the last two years, as opposed to one-third of people outside the group. It includes the provider dismissing patient concerns, making assumptions, thinking the patient was lying and more.

Starling emphasized their theater and drag company has been busy during Pride month. The company uses performances to address health care, talking about it during shows and providing resources in the lobby.

"We alternate between the resources," Starling added. "Be they mental health services or free rapid HIV and STD testing, suicide prevention, access to Enroll Wyoming and health insurance resources."

Open enrollment for health insurance begins Nov. 1 in most states but special enrollment periods apply for those experiencing certain life changes.


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