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Out Boulder County has designed a survey to better understand the perspectives and needs of Boulder County’s LGBTQ community’s perspectives related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I have concerns that people won’t take the vaccine,” said Mardi Moore, executive director of Out Boulder County. “We’re trying to figure out what the reasons are because nobody else is looking out for us.”

Once the survey results have been analyzed, she said, Out Boulder County will have more data on barriers and possible needs that can be shared with public health officials to help them create an effective public health campaign. The survey is available at

Out Boulder County also is joining more than 125 organizations in calling on public health officials to create an inclusive and coordinated plan to distribute the vaccine and to make a concerted effort to reach the LGBTQ community.

Moore said comprehensive and targeted campaigns are needed to encourage both LGBTQ communities and communities of color to participate in vaccination efforts.

People in those communities face consistent barriers in accessing health care and are more likely to work in front-line, service jobs and live in poverty. Those factors put them at higher risk of contracting the virus and of developing more serious symptoms or dying, she said.

Moore said Boulder County, as far as she knows, isn’t collecting gender identity or sexual orientation information on positive cases. If systems aren’t set up to collect LGBTQ demographic data, there’s no way to know whether the vaccine distribution is equitable, she said.

Boulder County Public Health spokesperson Chana Goussetis said the county’s vaccine outreach plans include both people of color and LGBTQ people. She said data collection requirements are determined by the state. In the new statewide COVID reporting system, more inclusive gender identities are captured, while less specific information is provided by labs, she said.

“It’s important to note that we haven’t been able to conduct comprehensive disease investigations for many, many cases due to the high volume, so there are many in which there was no opportunity to ask,” she said.

When it comes to health care barriers, Ravyn Wayne, a transgender man who lives in Longmont, had enough bad health care experiences that he’s avoided seeking care until he became so sick he had to go to urgent care or the emergency room.

As a transgender support group leader, he’s heard many similar experiences. Doctors and other medical staff members use the wrong pronouns or “deadname” by using a previous name, lack the knowledge about LGBTQ experiences or even refuse to treat someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, he said.

“There’s this accumulation of mistrust,” he said. “When you’re sick, you don’t want to seek help and have to be an advocate for yourself. I don’t have the capacity to deal with other people’s biases when I’m sick.”

He said that mistrust is likely to extend to signing up for a COVID vaccine. Those who don’t have a primary care doctor — he didn’t until recently — also won’t have a doctor they can consult if they end up with side effects, he said.

“Relying and trusting the medical community to treat us with dignity and respect is really, really hard,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all just people. We all want a relationship with someone who is as invested in our well-being as we are.”

His suggestion is for medical providers to partner with organizations such as Out Boulder County to host vaccination clinics for the LGBTQ community.

“It would create a safe environment,” he said.

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