Black History Month and #LGBTWellness

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.


In recognition of Black History Month and National Black HIV Awareness Day, this week’s roundup is focused on LGBT African Americans and the intersections between LGBT health, race, resilience, and racism.

Empowerment for Better Health

A new study explored using a strength-based approach to help young Black men who have sex with men improve their health versus using a risk-based approach, which researchers say can reinforce stereotypes and does not take into account the strong resilience of the community. Through 322 conversations, they explored the HealthMpowerment online, cell phone-optimized intervention, and looked at themes like building agency and peer-to-peer empowerment.

TogetherForLoveTogether for Love – and to End HIV

The CDC published a resource guide recognizing National Black HIV Awareness Day, with the theme of “Together for Love: Stop HIV Stigma.” Meanwhile, UNAIDS released a statement “welcoming” the surprise announcement that the U.S. president would seek to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. The UN noted that the epidemic has featured huge disparities in both Black and queer communities that will have to be addressed if this goal is to be achievable.

Impact of Police Violence

A recent study examined exposure to police violence in the U.S. and found that both people of color and LGBT people were more likely to experience such treatment, suggesting LGBT people of color might be at particularly high risk. They also found that physical violence with a weapon and sexual violence were both associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation, highlighting why police violence is a public health crisis.

Celebrating Black Healthcare Professionals

JAMA published an essay by a physician who explains what it is like to be a Black doctor in a field in which people of color are so underrepresented – including what it can mean for Black patients to see a part of themselves in their providers. Meanwhile, Medical Bag reported on how racism impacts the healthcare profession, noting that Black students comprised only 6% of 2015. They explored how many healthcare facilities now have policies to help stem discrimination based on race (and sexual orientation and gender identity) against their staff.

PrEP Access Needed for Black Women BlackLesbianCouple

NPR reported on the need to share PrEP information and access with Black women, who could stand to benefit from using the HIV prevention treatment but who so far have not been targeted for intervention. While the HIV rate among White men has fallen 10% since 2011, the rate among Black women has not changed as they have gone overlooked in PrEP’s rollout.


Keep in touch with LGBT HealthLink by joining our FREE membership. Have access to our library of tools and resources, all free. Join our members-only online networking groups, exclusive webinars just for members, and keep up to date with our Weekly #LGBTWellness Roundup. It’s quick and easy to join, and it’s all free!


Trans Folx in New Hampshire to Benefit from New Bill – #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

TransFlagNewHampsireTrans Representatives Push for Change

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported on efforts made by the state’s first transgender representatives to make it easier to change the gender marker on one’s birth certificate. New Hampshire currently requires a court order to make the change, which is against the recommendations that the American Medical Association has issued to state governments.

Providers Not Ready for Queer Cancer Care

A new study found that oncologists need help providing cancer care to LGBT patients. While many were confident with their knowledge of LGB (53%) and transgender (36.9%) cancer care before completing the survey, their confidence after doing so dropped to 38.9% for LGB patients and just 19.5% for transgender patients. One of the researchers stated that while LGBT cancer care is a largely ignored area, understanding providers’ knowledge gaps is an important first step.

Inclusive Bullying Laws May Protect All

Researchers found that youth in states that explicitly ban sexual orientation-based bullying in schools had lower risks of suicide attempts and forced sexual intercourse than students in states that did not ban such bullying. Interestingly, this applied to all students, not just those who identify as sexual minorities, meaning more may be needed to reduce disparities.

Gay Dads Face Stigma GayDads

A study examined the challenges facing fathers who identify as gay across 47 states and found that stigma remained a major concern, especially with respect to religious institutions. The study also found that gay fathers who lived in states with more legal protections for LGBT families (like favorable adoption and school bullying laws) faced less stigma and barriers in general.

What Ob/Gyns Need

Contemporary Ob/Gyn reported on how ob/gyns can make their practices more welcoming for sexual and gender minorities. They say that ob/gyns should learn more about LGBT identities, make their office visibly welcoming (such as including diverse posters and all-gender bathrooms), and incorporating questions about sexual orientation and gender identity into doctor-patient conversations.

Substance Use Risk High for Queer and Questioning

A new study found that adults who identify as LGB face higher odds of severe alcohol or tobacco use disorders than do heterosexual-identified individuals. Furthermore, those who said they are not sure of their orientation also had higher odds of severe alcohol and tobacco use disparities, plus faced higher odds of severe drug use disparities.

Improving Quality of Life for Trans Older Adults

A new study found that receiving gender-affirming care was associated with bigger gains in quality of life among older transgender adults than it was among younger transgender people. This counters the misperception that there is not much to gain from later-in-life medical transitions, and may be due to lower expectations or more optimistic outlooks among older transgender adults. Researchers say the results support gender-affirming care at any age.

LGBTHealthHow to Communicate LGBT Health

Researchers explored the difficulties in communicating health disparities to LGBT people, and found that LGBT community leaders had concerns that highlighting LGBT health differences (like higher rates of smoking or HIV risk) can be stigmatizing and may not work. Researchers recommend that LGBT health education use a cautious approach and be solution-oriented.

Preventive Health Research for Black Gay Men

Q Voice News reported on the work being done at California State University – Long Beach to address cancer disparities among gay Black men. The university received a $1.1 million state grant and is examining how to intervene before gay Black men in their teens and early 20s start regular use of tobacco, e-cigarettes, or marijuana so they can help them stay healthy.

Support Needed for California’s LGB Students

A new report found troubling news for LGB students in California, 61% of whom had reported 2-plus weeks of continuous sadness that caused them to stop doing regular activities (more than twice the rate of their heterosexual peers). LGB students were also more than twice as likely as heterosexual students to have used alcohol or drugs within the past 30 days. Less than one third of school staff said there were enough services and collaborations to counter these risks.


Taking On Tobacco (in Heels)

Have you played This Free Life’s new online videogame, Toxic City? Players get to select a famous drag queen and face off against one of the LGBT community’s biggest and most persistent opponents: tobacco. Along the way, players may learn a fact or two, like how smoking can damage teeth and cause discoloring. The project is aimed at LGBT young adults.


Special Edition #LGBTWellness – New Year, New Focus on LGBT Health

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

The first month of 2019 is now behind us. How are your personal New Year’s resolutions coming along? Do you need support on making them happen? And are you wondering what progress will be made on LGBT health in the new year? In this week’s roundup, we take a closer look at the work that LGBT Healthlink, CenterLink, and LGBT centers around the country are doing to support individual and community health.

All of Us Can Improve LGBT Health! All of Us Chicago_0013.jpgCenterLink announced its participation in the All of Us research program, a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. Given the dearth of health information on LGBT people, HealthLink will use its network (and Twitter chats) to help share All of Us’s community resources and build an LGBT-inclusive national movement.

Center Expands Health, Housing Network

GayRVA reported on how the LGBT Life Center of Norfolk is expanding its health services for the LGBT community, soon to open its third health clinic in the region. Like many of CenterLink’s member centers, the Life Center has expanded far beyond just providing HIV services to providing an array of health and wellness programs. They include transgender-specific services and even help with housing, a key component of health.

New Paper Delves Into Data

LGBT HealthLink published a white paper on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection, and why more (and more consistent) collection is critical to improve health outcomes in the LGBT community. The paper examines best practices and explores how to formulate questions, as well as disproves common misconceptions (such as that patients will refuse to answer questions, or that SOGI data is not relevant for improving LGBT care). The paper is one of many resources available for anyone in HealthLink’s free membership program.

lgbteldersSupporting LGBT Older Adults

ABC News reported on a $500,000 grant received by a Michigan health center to expand services for LGBT older adults, an oft-overlooked and growing part of the LGBT community. In addition to providing integrated services to this population, they will also focus on provider training and networking, sharing of best practices, and increasing dialogue on this group’s needs.

Transgender Students Face Risks

In other news, the CDC published an important study on the health disparities facing transgender students in high schools across 19 jurisdictions. They found that transgender students were significantly more likely than their cisgender peers to experience victimization, use substances, and face suicide risk. A bit of positive news was that transgender students were also more likely than others to have been tested for HIV.

Trans Adults Get Screened Less transcanadianflag

Researchers found that transgender adults in Toronto were less likely than their cisgender peers to be screened for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer. For example, only 33% of the transgender patients who were studied and eligible for breast cancer screening had done it compared to 65% of their cisgender peers. Such data in the U.S. is limited (but we’re working on it!)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 

The CDC marked January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and shared information on receiving Pap tests, HPV vaccines, and HPV tests to make sure that folks who have cervixes (including many transgender and nonbinary folks) stay cancer-free. If you are looking for LGBT-specific cancer facts, check out LGBT HealthLink’s fact sheet library here.



SOGI Is Good for Everyone! Check Out This Week’s #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

SOGI Data Looks Good on Paper sogi

Researchers studied different approaches to collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in emergency rooms and found that LGBT patients had significantly better experiences when the SOGI data was collected on paper and not in a face-to-face interview. Interestingly, non-LGBT patients had equally good outcomes with either method.

“X” Marks an Inclusive New York

Gothamist reported that New York City officially became the latest place to offer a nonbinary gender marker on birth certificates, meaning that people who are intersex or gender nonconforming can get an “X” marker instead of an “M” or “F. The city’s Health Department also made it easier for transgender people to switch from male to female, or vice versa.

One-stop Shopping for Health

A recent Canadian study of mostly sexual minorities at STI clinics found that 39% had also needed mental health or substance abuse services, and now researchers are calling on STI clinics to consider offering such services in-house. They say that many patients wanted mental health help but did not know where to go, and that STI clinics were already known and trusted.

2018The Queer Year in Review

Windy Times reviewed the top LGBT news stories of 2018, some of which addressed health risks such as the ongoing violence faced by transgender people of color and the impact of sexual assault in the LGBT community. Others were more positive, like news that children with two mothers grow up just fine, and that for the first time a transgender woman reported being able to breastfeed thanks to hormone treatment.

Trans Health and Social Media

A study explored the role of social media in transgender health, given that many transgender individuals turn to such sources when their healthcare providers do not have answers (or the patient is afraid to ask). The study looks at how healthcare professionals can use social media to reach transgender patients, and how research and practice can be informed by these interactions.

Playing Games with Your Health

Instinct Magazine reported on an ongoing project (funded by the federal government during the Obama administration) to develop a virtual reality simulation that helps queer men communicate more openly about HIV and other STIs. Initial studies of the “game” have been promising and the work is expected to continue into next year.

Social Networks and Health

A new study found that the dense social networks of Black men who have sex with men help explain the higher rates of HIV that this community faces. Researchers explained that young Black men get tested more and engage in fewer risk behaviors than their White and Latinx peers, but that denser networks means the risk of HIV spreading is higher. They also suggested that these social networks can be part of the solution, if leveraged to spread prevention information.

Health of Our Movement 2018 map rainbow

MAP released its annual report on the state of LGBT organizations, and found the the combined revenue of the 40 nonprofits that participated trended up in 2017 in comparison to past years. Small donations made up the majority of all donations, although only 2.8% of LGBT people gave to these organizations. Staff were more diverse than board members in many respects.

Top Concerns in Trans Health

Researchers examined the top health priorities of transgender people in the South, and found that the top three were insurance coverage of transgender-affirming case, availability of this care, and having competent providers who were educated about transgender people and their needs. Other concerns included physical health, suicide prevention, and homelessness.

$1.5 Million to Train Docs

The Harvard Gazette reported on progress that university’s medical school is making towards amending its curriculum to be LGBT-inclusive. The three-year initiative began this fall thanks to a $1.5 million gift from a donor, with the goal that Harvard’s medical students can spread their knowledge (and the importance of inclusive curricula) wherever they go in their medical careers.

Cases Threaten LGBT Care

NBC News reported on a case challenging the inclusion of gender identity discrimination in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination. A ruling against the rule would make healthcare discrimination against transgender people legal.  LGBT health advocates are also concerned about a ruling (being appealed) that found the entire ACA unconstitutional.


Cancer Prevention Year in Review

The CDC released a 2018 “year in review” of cancer prevention resources that were published over the course of the year, including a virtual coach who can help folks understand breast cancer risk, a video to determine if one should get tested for prostate cancer, and a podcast series about taking control over your own health.


LGB Youth Facing Higher Suicide Rates in This Week’s #LGBTWellness news

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Pooling the Data on Suicide Risk

Researchers reviewed the risk of suicide attempts among youth in 35 studies, which together included a total of 2.3 million heterosexual and 113,000 sexual minority youth. They found that gay and lesbian youth faced an average of 3.5 times the risk of suicide attempt compared to heterosexual youth, and that bisexual youth faced 4.87 times the risk of heterosexual peers.

If you or an LGBTQ youth you know is in crisis, contact the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.


Queer Youth at Risk from Age 10

A major new UK study found that sexual minority youth had higher rates of depressive symptoms than did their heterosexual peers from the age of just 10. They also found that sexual minority adolescents faced 4.53 times the odds of engaging in self-harm than did heterosexual youth by age 21. Researchers pointed to potential solutions such as more role models for LGB youth, deconstructing gender norms in schools, and more culturally-competent healthcare.

Spotlight on Trans Care

The USA Today reported on the challenges that transgender people experience in receiving healthcare related to their gender identity, even when the treatment would otherwise be covered. They describe the years that some patients spend fighting for approval of care or reimbursement, and the work that trans-specific health clinics are doing to provide life-saving care.

Exploring PrEP in Prisons

Researchers examined the knowledge of and interest in PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) among incarcerated men who are gay, bisexual, or otherwise have sex with men. While the men had low initial knowledge of PrEP, they were very interested when they learned more, including in beginning treatment prior to release (when they expected more barriers, like cost and stigma).

RainbowHospitalBedNondiscrimination in Healthcare

A study examined the perception of nondiscrimination laws among healthcare workers, whose facilities are subject to such laws when they include places of “public accommodation.” Their two main concerns were their lack of preparedness to address incidents of bias and their fear of other patients’ reactions to transgender women being in sex-segregated spaces for women.

Gender-affirming Hormones & Surgery

Researchers reviewed the practice in which transgender individuals are routinely told that they need to stop taking hormones before undergoing various types of surgery due to presumed risks that hormones can pose. The study found that the evidence does not support discontinuing all hormone use before surgery, and that more nuanced consideration (and research) is needed.

Creating More Competent Healthcare Teams

The Fenway Institute and Harvard Medical School announced a three-day course for “care teams” – including providers, nurses, and other healthcare staff – to learn together how to improve their care of LGBT patients. Participants will learn about mental health needs, HIV and STI prevention and treatment, the importance of collecting data on LGBT patients, and more.

Queer Men Lack Knowledge on HPV

A study examined the attitudes of queer men living with HIV in Toronto and found that most had not heard of the HPV vaccine, and were unaware of the cancer-related dangers that HPV entails, especially for people living with HIV. Many expressed the commonly-held belief that HPV is mostly a danger to young women and did not know that queer men are also at high risk.

Destigmatizing Trans GenderDysphoria

The New York Times published an op-ed arguing that gender dysphoria should be removed from the list of mental health disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, just as the APA did with homosexuality decades ago. The World Health Organization has already changed their own classification of gender dysphoria, noting the importance of doing so to help erase stigma.

Provider Comfort with Transgender Patients

A study found that 86% of primary care doctors were willing to care for transgender patients. Slightly less – 79% – said they would screen for cervical cancer in transgender men using a Pap test. One of the study’s authors said that provider comfort with transgender patients needs to be taught in medical education, in addition to just technical knowledge on transgender health.

Good News, Bad News on Gonorrhea

NBC News reported that while gonorrhea appears to be increasingly resistant to antibiotics, a new treatment is 96% effective at targeting these hard-to-defeat strands. They also note that gonorrhea is especially prevalent among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and also that 50% of all infections occur among youth aged 15-24.


Preparing for an Aging Population

Windy City Times reported on an exciting new resource published by experts from Howard Brown Health, an LGBT-centered clinic in Chicago. It’s a comprehensive book on aging among transgender and gender-nonconforming adults, a key topic as the LGBT community ages. The book explores everything from mental health to social services to long-term care.


Know Your Status – #LGBTWellness News on 30th Annual World AIDS Day

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.


In recognition of December 1 as the 30th annual World AIDS Day, we bring you a special edition of the Roundup focused on HIV. You can learn more about Worlds AIDS Day and this year’s campaign, “Rock the Ribbon,” at the event’s official website.


What You Can Do

CNN reported on World AIDS Day with five things that individuals can do to help make a difference on ending the HIV epidemic. Their ideas: know your status so you can get treatment if necessary; combat the stigma that persists against people living with HIV; educate yourself about prevention and then help educate others; and be an ally, or even donate to a good cause.

36.9 Million Living with HIV

UNAIDS published a new fact sheet in honor of World AIDS Day with the latest figures on the epidemic. They report that as of 2017, there were 36.9 million people living with HIV, 9.4 million of whom did not know their status. While treatment options for HIV have improved markedly for those who can afford them, there were still a shocking 940,000 AIDS-related deaths last year, highlighting the inequity of the epidemic worldwide.

Substance Use and PrEP

A study found that queer men who use substances were equally likely as men who do not use substances to stay adherent to PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment. The study rebuts the notion that people who use substances might not be able to adhere to PrEP, which needs to be taken daily to have its maximum prevention effect.

 140 Characters to Fight HIV RedTweet

Researchers analyzed tweets posted on Twitter regarding World AIDS Day in 2014 and 2015, and found many key themes around HIV as a human rights issue and the need to end the epidemic, though some decreased from 2014 to 2015. The authors conclude that Twitter is a cost-effective way of spreading knowledge and building hope that the epidemic can really end.

Relationship Between HIV and Race

The Root published an op-ed on the staggering racial disparities that mark the HIV epidemic in America, in which nearly half of new diagnoses are among Black men (47% from 2011-2015). The author argues that the stigma around HIV exacerbates the situation, and calls on readers to help reduce stigma, get tested, and have honest conversations with partners.

MosaicPrEP’s Potential Grows

Mosaic explored the effect that PrEP is having on HIV prevention and control, including weighing the claim that PrEP is actually harming sexual health by enabling riskier sexual behavior. The author contends that the scientific evidence is increasingly supporting PrEP, and points to factors like increased connection to the health system (and the STI testing that comes with getting PrEP prescribed) may be providing benefits beyond just what the pill itself offers.

While studies have found that Black sexual minority men are over four times as likely as White sexual minority men to be well-suited to take PrEP, and that PrEP is a more effective public health intervention among Black sexual minorities than White sexual minorities, Black men comprise a minority of those who are signing up for PrEP and most are not even aware of the option.


Could Our Healthcare Orgs Do Better? #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Competent? Says Who? Researchers explored the cultural competence of healthcare organizations through the lens of 3,500 healthcare employees, instructors, trainees, and students. LGBT personnel were less likely than their non-LGBT colleagues to say that their organization was “above average” on cultural competence, and the same trend was true for Black versus White professionals and for women versus men.

Three in Four Know Status UNAIDS published a report finding that 75% of people living USAIDSwith HIV globally were aware of their status as of 2017, marking an improvement from just two years before, when that number was 67%. While the number of people who are virally suppressed has also risen to 47%, that still leaves 19.4 million people living with HIV who do not have a suppressed viral load.

Bisexual Adults at Risk for Opioids A new study found that bisexual adults faced 1.66 times the risk of misusing prescription opioids within the past month compared with heterosexual adults. The researchers said in a statement that bisexual women were at particularly high risk and recommended that providers, educators, and families consider sexual orientation when assessing risk of misuse and need of support.

Prospective Parents Lack Protections Center for American Progress published a report finding that many privately operated foster and adoption agencies (particularly faith-based) do not have an LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy for prospective parents. They also note that there is a significant shortage of such parents, as 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system each year having never found a permanent home.

Healthcare Beyond the Binary A study explored the stigma and victimization that nonbinary people can face in getting access to care, and what healthcare professionals can do to help. Through a case study, the article explores how to correctly use nonbinary pronouns (like they / them / theirs), navigate insurance issues when preferred names and gender markers do not match official records, and other issues.

RainbowMAMarriage’s 15th Anniversary NBC News reported on the 15th anniversary of the court case that allowed for marriage equality in Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first state to do so. The lead couple in that historic case cited being denied hospital visitation rights as one of their motivating factors to get wed. Meanwhile, migrant couples in Mexico celebrated a joint marriage ceremony that they said would have been too dangerous in their home countries due to social stigma and violence.


Happy Holiday #LGBTWellness News to All!



Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Providers Not Asking about LGBT Status

A large study of healthcare providers found that many (81.7%) reported themselves as familiar with health needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual patients, while fewer (68.3%) said the same about transgender patients. Despite self-reporting such knowledge, however, the majority of providers said that they rarely or never spoke to patients about their sexual orientation or gender identity – many because they do not think it is relevant to care.

DeafOnline Activity and Knowledge of PrEP

A new study examined knowledge of PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment, among deaf men who identify as queer, gay, or bisexual. It found that men who discussed LGBT issues online and on social media were 3.12 times more likely to believe that PrEP was effective at preventing HIV, demonstrating the role that online communities can play in HIV prevention for GBQ deaf men.

Conversion Therapy Examined

ABC News reported on the dangers of conversion therapy, sharing the story of a survivor of the discredited practice. The interviewee shared how he sought out a conversion program while in college, and that it taught him to bury his feelings away as unnatural. Today, the man is part of an affirming church that says there is no legitimate basis to conversion therapy.

Exploring Adverse Childhood Experiences

Researchers examined data from 23 states to see how the number of adverse childhood experiences varied among different demographic groups. They found that lesbian and gay adults were more likely than heterosexual adults to have had such adverse experiences during their childhoods – and that bisexual adults were at even higher risk. There were also racial and socioeconomic disparities.

Supporting Youth in Coming Out

US News reported on the stress that “coming out” can entail for LGBT and questioning teens, and how parents and other adults can help them to manage it. Their tips including pushing back when they see anti-LGBT treatment or jokes, helping youth find appropriate mental health care, and finding an affirming community space.

Taking On Lung Cancer Carmival

The CDC marked Lung Cancer Awareness Month with a series of new resources and publicity materials, including tips for providers to help their patients and also guides for communities to help reduce their populations’ lung cancer risk. Lung cancer is especially relevant for LGBT folks, who unfortunately smoke at an approximately 50% higher rate than non-LGBT people.



#LGBTWellness News Special Edition: Healthcare Access

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Open for business

In honor of it being Open Enrollment Period for healthcare plans through the national healthcare.gov website (commonly known as Obamacare), as well as many state and private healthcare plans, this week we are bringing you a special edition of the Wellness Roundup focused on healthcare access. Obamacare has helped reduce the huge insurance disparities LGBT people once faced, but challenges remain. Make sure you search for a healthcare plan by December 15 if you are using healthcare.gov, or check with your state, private, or employer plan.

Helping Queer Folks 2Enroll OE6 Nondiscrim (2)

Out2Enroll launched their annual enrollment campaign aimed at getting LGBT people to sign up for healthcare, which includes a 2019 toolkit for organizations looking to help spread the word. They also offered updated FAQs to help LGBT people understand how to get covered, what is covered, and why it should matter to them. CenterLink is proud to serve on Out2Enroll’s advisory committee and to assist LGBT centers nationwide in getting LGBT folks covered.

KaramoA (Queer) Eye for Healthcare 

Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown opined on why he grew up thinking of healthcare as a privilege and not a right, and how that (and concepts of masculinity that he learned from others) led him to turn to alcohol and drugs instead of getting the care he needed. If you need help finding mental health services, check out this new resource guide from Teen Vogue.

Lesbian Women and Reproductive Healthcare

A new study found that lesbian women were less likely to receive birth control counseling at pregnancy tests or condom use information at an STI test, even though they may benefit from this information. Researchers said comprehensive and inclusive counseling scripts are needed for providers to ensure that queer women receive all the counseling and care they need.

Conference Takes On Trans Care

The University of North Carolina hosted a transgender health conference in which doctors reported their profession as “ignoring” the transgender population. They also said trans people face challenges in getting insured and in getting insurance to cover their care. However, they also discussed promising developments like increased services for youth and better data collection.

LGBT Brits Not Understood, Avoiding Care Rainbow UK

Personnel Today reported on a new UK study that found that 23% of LGBT people experienced or witnessed healthcare discrimination, and that 14% were deterred from seeking care because of it. LGBT people also reported unique experiences requiring care, such as hate crimes and higher rates of suicidality. Additionally, 62% of transgender people said providers did not understand their needs.

Challenges Beyond Getting Covered

While getting covered with health insurance is key for LGBT people, challenges remain between coverage and care. For example, a California study last month found that facing delays in care may now be a bigger problem there than getting LGBT people to enroll, and a recent study found that LGBT people still avoid care and face worse outcomes post-Obamacare. So once you get covered, remember to check your rights and find a quality provider to get the care you deserve.


Keep in touch with LGBT HealthLink by joining our FREE membership. Have access to our library of tools and resources, all free. Join our members-only online networking groups, exclusive webinars just for members, and keep up to date with our Weekly #LGBTWellness Roundup. It’s quick and easy to join, and it’s all free!


Don’t Be Afraid! It’s #LGBTWellness News!

Rainbow pumpkin

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Queer College Students Seek Mental Health Care

A large study of college students found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual students were more likely than their heteroseuxal peers to receive counseling or other mental health services. However, bisexual men and LBQ women were less likely to go to a parent or family member for help than were their heterosexual peers, highlighting the importance of quality services on campus.

HPV Vaccine Expanded

The New York Times reported that the HPV vaccine has been approved for all adults aged 27 to 45 by the Food and Drug Administration. The cancer-preventing vaccine was previously only available to those under 27. Research has found that lesbian women are less likely to get vaccinated than their heterosexual or bisexual peers, and that queer men are at higher risk for HPV-related cancers. Now they can through age 45.


Youth in JailSupporting LGBTQ Youth in Custody

Fenway Institute published a new guide on best practices for LGBT youth in juvenile justice systems. They note that over 45,000 youth are held in facilities nationwide, and that the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 requires them to take action to protect youth, including those who are LGBTQ. They also cover issues relating to nondiscrimination, privacy, and more.

Understanding Suicide Risk

A large study examined suicide-related risks among transgender and gender-nonconforming people aged 14-30, and found that gender-related victimization and depressive symptoms were both predictors of things like past-year suicidal ideation and attempts. The authors recommend that efforts be “aimed at building support and positive self-concept, decreasing victimization, and treating depression.”

How AIDS Activists Made History

NBC News marked LGBT History Month with a fascinating report on the early years of the HIV crisis, and the inspiring actors who pushed a reluctant government to provide help. The first government report of AIDS came in 1981, when five men were reported sick; since then, an estimated 700,000 Americans have died from the disease.

Insurance Not Enough for Equal Care

A California study found that while LGB adults there were at least as likely as heterosexual adults to have health insurance, they were more likely to experience delays in getting care. Bisexual adults in particular were also more likely to need care from the emergency room. Did you know our Healthcare Bill of Rights can help make sure you get the care you deserve with your insurance?

Pro-discrimination Laws May Hurt Health RainbowIndiana

A new study found that the Indiana law that legalized some discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals may have led to more unhealthy days per month for queer folks in the state. The lead author said that Indiana was the only state that saw LGB people face such declining health in the year following the law’s passage, and that it therefore might be to blame.

Exploring PrEP and Trans Communities

A study reviewed the available scientific information on PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) among transgender people. Transgender women of color in particular are known to have higher risk of HIV, but data is limited on the efficacy of PrEP among this community. The article explores known barriers, including poor access to healthcare generally and complications with hormone therapy.

Meta-analysis Confirms Suicide Attempt Risk

Researchers found that, in an analysis of 35 studies, lesbian and gay youth had 3.71 times the odds of suicide attempts compared to heterosexual youth, while bisexual youth had an even higher risk that was 4.87 times that of heterosexual youth. There was also limited data that transgender youth faced a highly elevated risk compared to their cisgender peers.

Protecting and Including LGBT Students

Movement Advancement Project published a fact sheet on the importance of inclusion and protections for LGBT college students, including under Title IX, which is a federal law that was extended to transgender students in 2016. Troublingly, 79 colleges and universities have received waivers from Title IX protections that allow them to discriminate against LGBT students.

NLAADLatinx AIDS Awareness Day

The CDC marked National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day on October 15th, sharing social media tools to spread the word about HIV prevention and treatment with Latinx audiences, as well as on fighting stigma. They also included fact sheets with facts including that 59% of Latinx persons living with HIV had received care and 50% had achieved viral suppression.

Jobs, Insurance, and Trans Health

CNN reported on the status of insurance coverage for transgender individuals, and noted that many companies are beginning to change policies that excluded any gender-identity related care as being “elective” and thus not covered. That can mean transgender employees have to pay out-of-pocket for costly care that otherwise would be paid for by their employer-based plan.