BACKGROUND Historically, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) health research has focused heavily on the risks for poor health outcomes, obscuring the ways in which LGBTQ populations maintain and improve their health across the life course. In this paper we argue that informing culturally competent health policy and systems requires shifting the LGBTQ health research evidence base away from deficit-focused approaches toward strengths-based approaches to understanding and measuring LGBTQ health. METHODS We recently conducted a scoping review with the aim of exploring strengths-based approaches to LGBTQ health research. Our team found that the concept of resilience emerged as a key conceptual framework. This paper discusses a subset of our scoping review findings on the utility of resilience as a conceptual framework in understanding and measuring LGBTQ health. RESULTS The findings of our scoping review suggest that the ways in which resilience is defined and measured in relation to LGBTQ populations remains contested. Given that LGBTQ populations have unique lived experiences of adversity and discrimination, and may also have unique factors that contribute to their resilience, the utility of heteronormative and cis-normative models of resilience is questionable. Our findings suggest that there is a need to consider further exploration and development of LGBTQ-specific models and measures of resilience that take into account structural, social, and individual determinants of health and incorporate an intersectional lens. CONCLUSIONS While we fully acknowledge that the resilience of LGBTQ populations is central to advancing LGBTQ health, there remains much work to be done before the concept of resilience can be truly useful in measuring LGBTQ health.