Interview on Trans Folks’ Minority Stress and More – #LGBTWellness Roundup, Week of 1/9/2023

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Unpacking Minority Stress on Our Podcast

On this week’s podcast version of the Roundup, we speak with Dr. Jae Puckett, whose research on minority stress and mental health among trans and nonbinary people was included in an issue of the Roundup from late 2022. In the conversation, Dr. Puckett discusses the importance of looking at how local support (or lack thereof) for trans people is of increasing importance as many states have taken on anti-trans legislation over the past few years. You can check us out on whatever podcast platform you prefer to hear this interview (and follow our podcast week to week!). 

Bi Women, Gay Men Face Hypertension Inequities

tctMD reported on new research finding that hypertension disproportionately impacts gay men and bisexual women, who face about 20% higher risk compared to their heterosexual peers. Additionally, among bisexual women, hypertension is more likely to go untreated. Researchers say that the results “highlight the need for healthcare providers to create affirming clinical settings for LGB people,” including by asking patients about their sexual orientation and reaffirming nondiscrimination policies.

Major Care Providers Lag on SOGI Data

Stat published an opinion piece arguing that more data is needed on LGBT individuals, especially in combination with data on race and ethnicity, to better understand care needs. They examined the case of the Moffitt Cancer Center, began collecting sexual orientation data in 2016 and gender identity data in 2017. So far, only 2.5% of patients have self-identified as LGBT, which might be of concern given that it is well below the percent of the population who identifies this well. Nonetheless, as one of few cancer centers collecting this data, it could prove a useful source of information on improving cancer outcomes in the population – and pushing others to collect such data. 

Examining ART Differences by Race, Ethnicity

JAMA published a study of over 42,000 people entering HIV care, which found that the probability someone would start ART at the one-month mark did not vary significantly across most racial and ethnic differences. However, the researchers did find that Black and Latinx individuals were less likely than White peers to receive INSTI-containing ART until that became the standard of care later in the study period. The study team said that more research is needed to understand why that was the case, which is important given the major HIV-related disparities facing Black and Latinx individuals in the U.S.

How Schools Can Improve Mental Health

Education Week reported on the challenges facing LGBT students in accessing mental health care at school. Even in the highest-scoring state in the country – Vermont – almost half (45%) of LGBT students could not access the care they wanted, while other states reported rates of up to 72% unable to access services. The article recommends that schools expand not only counseling, but also LGBT-affirming programming like Gender and Sexuality Alliances, as well as implement teacher training, transgender-affirming policies on issues like restroom access, and anti-bullying provisions.

Appeals Court Negates Right to Bathroom Access

Gay City News reported that a federal appeals court overturned a lower court, which had ruled in favor of a transgender boy’s right to use the school restroom that matched his gender identity. The lower court said that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Title IX’s prohibitions of sex-based discrimination would apply to the boy’s case, which is seemingly in line with the recent Supreme Court decision finding that sex discrimination provisions apply equally to LGBT people. The decision, unless overridden by the Supreme Court, sets precedent in Florida (where the boy went to school) as well as Alabama and Georgia. 

Health Equity Data Surges – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Health Equity Data Surges

The All of Us research program, which is seeking to gather health information on 1 million-plus diverse Americans, announced two surge weeks – one for November and one for December – to boost enrollment in the program. The November week saw new sign-ups from all 50 states thanks to both national and community-level efforts, resulting in more than 3,900 new participants – the best week ever. All of Us is bridging gaps in what we know about health by allowing anyone – especially LGBT folks, people of color, and others who are underrepresented in research – to share information about their health. Learn more about the program and how it addresses LGBT health equity here.

Results from Genetics Research Reported

Speaking of All of Us, USA Today reported that the program has begun to share data on 150,000 participants who have taken the optional additional step of sharing genetic information. Fans of the Roundup may recall our interview earlier this year with Dr. Anthony Pho on how the genomics component of All of Us could improve LGBT health. USA Today reports that while people from marginalized groups, such as Black individuals, might be especially nervous to share this information, there is also a lot to gain – such as knowledge of risk factors that can be used to proactively protect one’s health. 

U.S. Considers Loosening Blood Restrictions

Axios reported that the U.S. is considering plans to loosen restrictions on sexual minority men donating blood. The plan would change the three-month deferral for men having sex with other men to a individual “risk assessment” based on recent sexual activities. The U.S. has slowly moved from what was a lifetime ban to the three-month deferral, with the most recent change happening at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shortage of blood. That shortage has continued, and advocates say that lifting the rule – which has been described as being driven by stigma rather than science – would help raise supplies nationwide. 

Monkeypox Gets Renamed

Politico reported that the WHO would rename monkeypox as “mpox” as they attempt to reduce stigma surrounding the virus. While mpox has existed for years, it began to show up across Euorpe, the U.S., and elsewhere over the past several months, especially among sexual minority men; that trend was exacerbated during Pride Month and other summar activities. Politico noted that LGBT groups and public health advocates had called for a name change for some time, and are likely to support the move, even though cases have subsided greatly since their summer height. 

Behavior Change, Vaccines Improve Mpox Outlook

Speaking of mpox, the CDC released an update to its latest technical report, evaluating national and state-level cases. They found that declines over the summer were more likely due to factors like behavior change, as the impact of vaccination would likely have taken longer – but led to long-term improvements. As of mid-November, almost 700,000 first doses and 400,000 second doses of the vaccine had been administered nationwide. 

Bi Folks Less Likely Out to Docs

USA Today reported on the challenge of enabling bisexual individuals to come out to their healthcare providers. Providers may be inclined to make assumptions about bisexual individuals’ orientation based on the gender of their current partner or other factors, and even providers that have sexual orientation on intake forms may not complete them properly. These factors, combined with broader issues of bi invisibility, help explain why bisexual men were about four times more likely to not disclosue their orientation to a provider compared to gay men, and bisexual women were about 2.5 times more likely to not disclose compared to lesbian women. Coming out to one’s provider is key to ensuring that unique needs and risk factors are considered. 

CD4 Count and COVID Risk

JAMA published research finding that among people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there was no increase in the likelihood of a severe “breakthrough infection” for people living with HIV compared to people not living with HIV. However, the study did find that people living with HIV who had a low CD4 count were at 59% increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared with people not living with HIV. The results highlight the importance of ongoing vigilance with respect to COVID-19, even for those who have been vaccinated, as well as showcase another benefit of quality antiretroviral care for people living with HIV.

School Board Member Bullied Out

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the city’s first transgender school board member – possibly the only in the state and one of a small number around the country – resigned following repeated anti-trans attacks, including being misgendered at a board meeting. An Arizona-based hate group was responsible for the attacks, a trend it has apparently repeated in districts around the country. The incident is particularly troubling given the attacks that LGBT-inclusive school policies and curricula materials have faced, including “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” laws; trans representation on school boards and other decision-making bodies could help to promote inclusivity. 

Trans Youth Report Poor Sleep Health

Michigan Medicine published a study finding that trans teens and young adults were about four times more likely than their cisgender peers to have a sleep disorder. Data from 1.2 million people, including more than 2,600 trans individuals, found that trans youth were more than five times as likely as others to have insomnia and were three times more likely than others to have sleep apnea or another condition. Little research has been done regarding “sleep health” for trans youth, but the results are perhaps in keeping with what we know about the depression and anxiety that trans youth are prone to face due to issues like transphobia and victimization.

Youth Voice Preferences for Weight Terms

Pediatrics published a study examining youth preference for different terms relating to weight, and found that sexual minority youth reacted more negatively to about half of the terms tested than did heterosexual youth, suggesting a heightened sensitivity in what is the first study on this topic to include sexual orientation. The study found that the term “curvy” was one that was preferred by sexual minority youth compared to heterosexual youth, and was also preferred by girls over boys, as well as by Latinx youth over White youth. Black and Latinx youth also showed a preference for the term “thick.” The results dig deep into how loaded terms about weight affect diverse youth differently, which is important for adults to know to avoid weight-related shaming or stigma.

Intersecting Pandemics Examined – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Intersecting Pandemics Explored

GLAAD shared some of the similarities with respect to inequities in the HIV, COVID-19, and MPV pandemics. According to their recent report, LGBT people (especially those of color) have been hit hard by all of these conditions in part because of medical mistrust, underlying vulnerabilities regarding social determinants of health, and challenges in accessing appropriate prevention and care. The report also explores some of the shortcomings in the MPV vaccine rollout, which (like access to PrEP and other prevention for HIV, and vaccines for COVID-19) is critical to reduce cases; many individuals have had trouble accessing the vaccine and are also experiencing fear and anxiety in facing yet another public health crisis.

Intimate Partner Violence High for Several Groups

Researchers at Rutgers University shared a new study finding high levels of intimate partner violence among sexual and gender minority young people who were assigned male at birth. Among these 18 to 24 year olds, the subgroups most likely to experience such violence were bisexual individuals, transgender individuals, and lower-income people. Nearly half (47%) of all participants had experienced some form of intimate partner violence, with psychological being the most common.

Chest Reconstruction Remains Under-insured, Costly

JAMA Pediatrics published a study finding that gender-affirming chest reconstruction for youth increased from 100 surgeries in a national database in 2016 to 489 in 2019; about six in 10 had insurance coverage for the procedure, with the average total charge being nearly $30,000, statistics that remained stable over the study period. White youth comprised nearly four in five of those who were able to access the procedure, suggesting it may be harder to access for youth of color.

HIV and Gender-affirming Care

Pink News shared the World Health Organization’s report that reaffirms the importance of gender-affirming care as part of a broader approach to addressing HIV and STI disparities among transgender populations. The report examines the progression over the years in which it (and other public health entities) have increasingly acknowledged the importance of this type of care, as well as the relationship between transgender health inequities and structural barriers, including human rights issues. The report notes that universal healthcare must be inclusive and that countries should make appropriate policy changes to remove the barriers trans folks face in accessing care.

Menthol Cigarettes Preferred by Diverse Smokers

Researchers with Columbia University published a report finding that more than half of gay and lesbian smokers used menthol-flavored products. Menthol use has grown overall through the past decade, with about two in five smokers now using the flavor. This includes over 80% of Black smokers, as well as a disproportionate rate of Latinx smokers, making menthol cigarettes a potential obstacle in improving health equity. Countries like Canada and the United Kingdom have banned menthol flavoring, and the U.S. has begun to take action that could result in the same outcome, although it could be some time before such a regulation comes into effect. 

Exploring Cancer Care for Trans Patients

Cancer Therapy Advisor reported on how to improve cancer prevention and care for transgender individuals. The article notes that evidence on cancer outcomes for transgender patients is limited, but includes that trans individuals may be diagnosed at more advance stages, less likely to get treated, and have worse survival rates. This is likely due to a mix of social determinants of health, and some factors that providers can directly counter, such as ensuring that transgender people do not face stigma or discrimination in healthcare and have providers who are knowledgeable about their identities and needs. 

Intersex Awareness Day Observed

InterACT marked October 26 as Intersex Awareness Day, in recognition of athe first public demonstration for intersex individuals’ rights that took place on that day in 1996. Resources include a glossay of key terms related to intersex identities, list of actions people can take to support the intersex community, and a toolkit with graphics that can be shared online to educate others about intersex individuals.

Views of Trans Acceptance, from Oregon to Tennessee

Transgender Health published a study exploring the opinions of gender minorities in the states of Oregon, Michigan, Nebraska, and Tennessee, and found that Oregonians had the most positive perception of their state with respect to their trans or gender diverse identities. While Tennessee participants had the highest expectation of rejection based on their gender identity, many other variables (like pride, resilience, and mental health) did not vary by state. However, those who had a more negative view of their area were unsurprisingly more likely to have experienced discrimination and anxiety. The study also found that resilience did not seem to reduce the correlation between perceived local environment and mental health issues or pride in identity.

Youth Fairly Confident on Transitioning Care

Transgender Health also published research exploring the readiness of trans youth to move from pediatric to adult healthcare providers. The study included 29 youth, 26 parents, and 5 providers, and found that youth all reported being about as ready for this change regardless of their exact age, and also rated their own competence in several areas (like knowledge of hormone therapy side effects) better than did parents or providers. The topics in which the participants most reported that youth needed assistance was with scheduling appointments and maintaining health information records.

Youth Care Fight Continues in Arkansas

On the subject of care for youth, TIME reported on the trial over Arkansas’s ban on gender-affirming therapy for minors. The two week-long trial took place in a federal court in Arkansas was brought by four families and two doctors who say that the law violates the equal protection and free speech rights of the Constitution; the state argues that the law seeks to protect children, despite major medical associations all aligned to contest this argument in the case. Arkansas was the first state to pass such a law, but similar legislation has now been introduced in more than 20 state legislatures, meaning the case could have ripple effects across the country. 

Challenges for Queer Folks in Medicine 

Healio explored what it’s like for physicians who are part of the LGBT community through a blog post by a physcian who identifies as lesbian and is in a same-sex relationship. She discusses both the acceptance and challenges she faced as a resident and as a patient herself in the South in the late 1990s, and the reasons why LGBT people still struggle to receive quality care. 

From California to Canada – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Health of Black LGBT Californians

The California Health Care Foundation shared highlights from the Listening to Black Californians report, which found that most Black California residents had health coverage (90%) and a regular provider (83%). Nevertheless, 31% said they had experienced poor treatment by a provider – and that number jumped to 43% among LGBT Black individuals. LGBT Black individuals were also more likely to say that they avoided care because of concern that they would be treated poorly, with more than four in 10 (41%) indicating this concern.

Bi Canadians Earn Less, Face Food Insecurity

The Canadian government published new data finding significant income disparities among LGB individuals. Overall, bisexual inidividuals made the least per year ($39,200 Canadian dollars) compared with gay and lesbian individuals ($50,100) and heterosexual individuals ($55,000). Breaking things down by gender, while lesbian and straight women made about the same, heterosexual men made about $10,000 more per year than gay men, and bisexual men and women trailed all other groups. Sadly, but not surprisingly, one impact of this difference was that bisexual individuals were the most likely to live in households facing food insecurity. 

Disability More Likely for Trans Folks

Futurity reported that transgender individuals have a 27% chance of having at least one disability by the age of 20, and a 39% chance of having the same by age 55, which is about twice the rate of cisgender individuals. The findings come from a study published in Health Affairs, which used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which has given states the option to collect gender identity and sexual orientation data since 2014. The study’s author explained that it reinforces the need for access to transgender-inclusive healthcare. 

Jon Stewart Takes On Anti-trans Laws

Human Rights Campaign shared a segment produced by Jon Stewart addressing misinformation being spread about transgender youth, as many policymakers seek to limit their access to necessary care. Stewart points out that anti-transgender legislation has incrased 800% since 2018, and spoke to parents of trans youth who have supported them on their journey – only to now be the target of bills that are not science-based. The entire episode is available to stream for free. 

Ask Me Anything – Including About STIs

WebMD explored how and why Reddit became a go-to spot for individuals to learn about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), an option they say may be especially popular for LGBT individuals given the discrimination the community can face in accessing care through traditional avenues. The American Sexual Health Association recently began hosting conversations on Reddit to learn more about what people want to know and to test its STI public awareness campaign. While many experts support the idea, they also cautioned that seeking advice online is not a replacement for getting tested, especially to detect issues that are asymptomatic.

LGBT Businesses Received Less COVID-19 Aid

USA Today reported that small businesses owned by LGBT individuals were less likely to receive COVID-19 relief funding, even though they were more likely than others to have applied for such assistance. The findings are part of a report published by Movement Advancement Project that also found that LGBT-owned businesses were more negatively impacted overall by the pandemic, and also have a harder time getting loans in general, an issue only exacerbated by the disparity in COVID-19 relief. 

Racialized Discrimination Widespread on Apps – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Racialized Discrimination Widespread on Apps

The International Journal on Environmental Research and Public Health published a study finding that 99% of young sexual minority Black men encountered racialized sexual discrimination while online dating – including being ignored, being rejected, or receiving hateful and racist insults. According to a press release from the researchers, the anonymity offered by such sites and apps may make people more likely to engage in racially-charged or outright discriminatory activity than they would be inclined to do face-to-face with others. The researchers also noted that such activity can be harmful to mental health, making it even more concerning. 

Campus Services and Mental Health

Inside Higher Ed reported on new research that a LGBT college students were much less likely to have serious considered or attempted suicide in the past year if their school offered mental health or LGBT support services. While 46% of LGBT students had considered suicide and 22% had attempted it at schools without mental health services, those numbers were 32% and 6%, respectively, among students at schools with mental health services; a similar trend existed with respect to access to LGBT resources.Given the overall mental health challenges and disparities facing LGBT students, the results underscore the importance of having supports in place. 

App Encourages Safer Sex 

Pharmacy Times reported on a study finding that a mobile app was found to help decrease condomless sex among young sexual minority men. The app was developed from a group-based prevention curriculum. For most, the change in behavior seemed to be limited to the first few months, but the program proved more effective among Black participants, who had an 85% decline in condomless anal sex after six months of using the app.

Updated Guidelines on Monkeypox and HIV

JAMA shared new guidelines regarding HIV and Monkeypox. Research suggested that between 28% and 51% of sexual minority men who have contracted Monkeypox are living with HIV, although it has not been believed that people living with HIV are necessarily at greater risk. The guidelines recommend that antiretroviral therapy continues for people living with HIV who contract Monkeypox, as well as the PrEP continues among those who use it for HIV prevention. 

Birth Control for Transmasculine Folks

Self explored birth control for transmasculine individuals, which can be a challenge given the stigma that this population can face when accessing services and the role it can play with respect to gender dysphoria. The author points out that the issue has taken on particular importance given the rollback in reproductive rights, which may made options like tubal salpingectomy more appealing. The article also tackles questions like whether transmasculine folks on hormone therapy can still become pregnant and whether they can use hormonal birth control.

Gay Games Face COVID-19 Challenges

Time reported on the challenges of hosting the Gay Games, which occurs every four years and which is happening this year in Hong Kong, given the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19. The event is designed to welcome 15,000 LGBT athletes, but because Hong Kong has had some of the strictest COVID-19 rules in the world, the event ended up being split with Guadalajara. In addition to highlighting LGBT athletics, the event was also expected to shine a light on LGBT rights and acceptance in Hong Kong, which is better than in mainland China. 

Monkeypox Cases Decline, But Caution Needed – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Monkeypox Cases Decline – But Caution Needed

NMAC updated us on the latest Monkeypox news, including the overall decline in cases across the U.S. that has been observed over the past several weeks. However, they warn that cases are still rising in some areas – and demand for the vaccine has declined, possibly because of lower numbers of cases. New efforts are taking a more targeted approach of using different community avenues to reach Black and Latinx sexual minority men, who are most at risk; to that end, the update also included information on emerging research regarding disparities. 

Gay, Bi Men Have Mixed Response on Monkeypox

On that same subject, Pew Research Center published research finding that gay and bisexual men were cooler to the government’s efforts to address the Monkeypox epidemic than was the general public. Only 34% of gay and bisexual men thought that the government has done a “good” or “excellent” job so far, compared to 49% who said it was “fair” or “poor;” the general public had about the same percent who thought that the government had done well, but had many more people still undecided on the government’s response. This makes sense given that the survey also found that sexual minority adults were more tuned into the Monkeypox epidemic, with 40% saying they had heard a “great deal” or “quite a bit” about it compared to 29% of straight adults. 

Online Hate Puts Pressure on Care

VICE reported on the rise of false and misleading attacks on social media against health centers that provide gender-affirming care. They point to examples in Ohio and Tennessee of hospitals quickly removing all references from their websites on the gender-affirming care that they provide after they were subjected to hostile online attacks by those who are not in favor of such services being available. Even a hospital in LGBT-friendly Chicago had to cancel some transgender support services due to security risks. Advocates say that “hiding” information on gender-affirming care causes problems of its own, especially as gender-affirming care is already so difficult to find, particularly in rural and low-resource areas. 

Exploring Bi Stigma and Its Impacts

The New York Times published an interactive story on stigma facing bisexual individuals (both from within and outside of LGBT communities), and how living in this “double closet” takes a toll on the mental health of this population. Research has revealed a major source of stress is “identity invalidation,” in which others frequently express their belief that bisexual identities do not even really exist. One strategy for overcoming these challenges is to build a community that includes other bisexual individuals; the Bi Resource Center maintains a list of support and social groups, which are also offered at many LGBT community centers

National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day Observed 

The CDC marked September 27 as National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day, including through releasing social media posts as well as campaign materials in both English and Spanish. Key messages included using PrEP as a prevention option (which is often recommended for sexually active gay and bisexual men), using the national testing and prevention services locator, and understanding Undetectable = Untransmittable among people who are living with HIV and on treatment, a message that helps reduce stigma.  

HIV Vaccine Research Progresses

Nature published research that may help us get one step closer to an HIV vaccine. Researchers explained that their research is uncovering the importance of timing in delivering a prospective vaccine, finding that a seven-shot regime over twelve days – and then no action, while the body naturally did what needed to be done – was an effective strategy in a study conducted with monkeys. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, including figuring out how to simplify things, given the impracticalities for many people of getting that many shots over a roughly two-week period. 

Research Equity on Tour – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Research Equity on Tour

Colorado Public Radio reported on the All of Us research initiative, which has had an exhibit touring the country (including a recent stop in Denver). The program is building a huge database of health information to be used by researchers to address health inequities. In Colorado, 2,175 participants have shared their health information and a biosample – of whom 80% are from underrepresented groups, including LGBT individuals and people of color. Anyone can participate in the program to help improve health research on these communities by visiting joinallofus.org, including their LGBT information page

Sexual Minority Men and Inflamatory Bowel Disease 

Gut published a study on inflamatory bowel disease (IBD) among men. According to a press release, they found that men who engaged in what was called “high-risk sexual activity” with other men were twice as likely to develop IBD as were men who engaged in “high risk” activity with only women. This included a disparity with respect to Crohn’s disease, which was diagnosed in 0.8% of sexual minority men who engaged in higher risk activity, and an even greater disparity with respect to ulcerative colitis, which was diagnosed in about 1.26% of sexual minority men; the rate was about 0.5% for both conditions among heterosexual men. The authors recently received a grant from NIH to continue rese arching, as little evidence on the topic exists that accounts for sexual orientation. 

Medical Coding a Barrier for Trans Folks

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on how coding for medical services in healthcare billing systems often creates a barrier for transgender people – for example, by having services considered to be medically necessary being registered as cosmetic. A new edition of the coding system, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization for three years now, addresses some of these issues and replaces outdated terms such as “transsexualism.” Changes could be slow coming in the U.S., which took 25 years to implement the last update recommended by the WHO. 

Widespread Ignorance, Opposition to Trans Rights

Pew Research Center published a report finding that only 8% of Americans were following news about anti-transgender policies being proposed or enacted in many states across the U.S., with the vast majority of folks paying these developments little or no attention. The survey also looked at opinions on an array of trans issues and found strong support for nondiscrimination laws for employment, housing, and public accommodations – but otherwise mostly found opposition or indifference to favorable trans-related policies, and support for policies around issues like bathroom access and athletic participation that trans advocates say are harmful.

Exploring Victimization in Nigeria

BMC Public Health published a study exploring the relationship between sexual identity, HIV status, bullying, and victimization in Nigeria. Among the findings were that people living with HIV were at increased risk for physical, sexual, and emotional violence, as were people who had a history of being bullied. They also found that married people had lower odds of these problems than did non-married people, while people who were cohabitating with a partner were more likely than others to experience emotional violence. 

Gay Tennis Player Helps Lead on Mental Health

Outsports reported on a youth tennis tournament with a unique mission – to spread awareness about mental health for student athletes. Gay tennis player and grad student Nick Lee has been contributing to the effort by leading the production of a workbook to help student atheletes improve their mental health while they are off the court. Lee cautions that while sports may seem to offer an “escape” from struggles with one’s identity or other mental health issues, sports can also add to stress, and intentionality is needed to actually improve mental health through athletics. 

Ruling Threatens PrEP (and All Preventive Services) – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Ruling Threatens PrEP, All Preventive Health Services

The Conversation explored the implications of a court ruling in Texas, in which a judge ruled that companies do not have to include HIV prevention in their insurance plans if it offends the religious views of the company’s owner. As issue was the requirement that employer-based health plans cover pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill (now also offered as an injection) that is 99% effective at preventing HIV and that is often recommended to members of the LGBTQ community. The employer argued (without scientific evidence) that this would encourage sexual behaviors they do not favor. The Conversation explores other facets of preventive healthcare that are now under threat should the ruling not be reversed on appeal. 

Examining and Banning Healthcare Discrimination

Center for American Progress published a report on LGBT healthcare discrimination, including a proposed rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that “would restore and expand nondiscrimination protections” for LGBT individuals seeking care. The rule applies to insurers and providers – for example, not allowing providers or insurers to conduct or cover (respectively) gynecological services for cisgender women but not transgender men. The report also includes new research highlighting the need for action, including that 17% of sexual minority individuals, 49% of transgender people, and 61% of intersex people were afraid they would be denied quality care if they disclosed their respective identities.

California Could Be Sanctuary for Trans Youth

The Hill reported on California’s move to becoming a “sanctuary” for transgender and gender diverse youth to seek care, as many other states move to restrict transgender rights, particularly for minors. A new bill that passed the legislature would prohibit healthcare providers and insurance companies from releasing information about a youth who received care in response to a lawsuit filed from out of state, which could happen as states that are working to ban gender-affirming care for youth also bar youth from leaving the state to get care elsewhere. Medical experts have weighed in against such laws and point to evidence that gender-affirming care improves and saves lives. 

Gender Minority Med Students Face Challenges

The Lancet published an examination of how transgender and gender diverse individuals are often discouraged from entering the medical profession due to a lack of training on how to create supportive environments, as well as negative experiences with patients (such as discriminatory statements or treatment). This is especially troubling given that having more gender minority medical professionals could be a major step in addressing the widespread inequities that transgender and gender diverse people face; while the number of gender minority medical students has more than doubled since 2016 according to enrollment data, they still represent only 1.2% of students. The authors point to the need for more training, including to ensure that fellow medical students and professionals utilize the correct name and pronouns for gender minority colleagues. 

Senators Push to Reinforce Marriage Equality

The Washington Post published an op-ed by Senators Tammy Baldwin and Susan Collins, who are cosponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. The law would require the federal government to recognize all marriages that are legal in the state in which they were performed, including same-sex and interracial marriages. While such marriages are legal because of past Supreme Court cases, same-sex marriages would not be recognized by the federal government should the Court ever overturn its previous decision. The senators say that even though the law would not change the status quo, it is important to give security to same-sex couples and/or those in interracial marriages, as well as to preserve benefits (like access to health insurance). 

Victimization and Alcohol Use Among Youth

LGBT Health published a study looking at the experiences of sexual minority youth, which found support for the idea (under the Minority Stress Theory) that experiences of victimization could have an association with alcohol use. The authors also explored nuances with respect to differences between Black, Latinx, and White youth, as well as the concept of resiliency and how that might impact outcomes.

Report Highlights Southern LGBT Youth – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Lack of Providers Top Barriers to Rural Trans Care – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Report Highlights Southern LGBT Youth

Southern Equality published new research on the experiences of LGBT youth in the South. Among the many findings were that LGBT youth scored their parents and caregivers an average of about 56 out of 100 for supporting their sexual orientation and 52 out of 100 for supporting their gender identity, though transgender youth scored them even worse (44 out of 100) in the latter. Less than one in twenty LGBT youth said they received resources or support with respect to their identity from a faith leader, while almost one in three said they were explicitly denied support by such individuals. The youth received slightly more support from schools, but the majority nonetheless experienced some bullying. 

LGBT Youth with Military Parents Face Disparities 

The Trevor Project published a report on LGBT youth with a parent in the military, which was true of 5% of all LGBT youth. LGBT youth who live in the South and/or identify as Native American or indigenous, Black, or multiracial were all more likely than others to have a military parent. LGBT youth who have a parent in the military were more likely to experience anxiety and depression and to have considered or attempted suicide; these problems were especially pronounced for LGBT youth with military parents who also self-reported low levels of family support. 

Health Issues Facing LGBT Swedes 

The Lancet published a study of LGBT people in Sweden, using a large public health dataset, which found that being a sexual or gender minority was associated with worse health (including mental health) compared to non-LGBT folks. They also found that LGBT refugees had higher levels of suicidal ideation than did other groups and that transgender refugees in particular had higher odds of being exposed to physical violence. The study is of note because, unfortunately, many large public health datasets to not include sexual orientation and gender identity, limiting such research. 

Providers Make the Difference on HPV Vaccination

The Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities published a study examining vaccination for HPV among young sexual minority men in the Philadelphia area. They found that having a healthcare provider who recommended the HPV vaccine was a huge factor in the likelihood that someone had received one, highlighting the importance of providers talking with sexual minority male patients about their risks for HPV and the benefits of the vaccine. Factors such as having a larger number of sexual partners and having condomless sex – which increase risk of HPV infection, which can cause cancer – were associated with lower rather than higher odds of having gotten vaccinated. 

Gender Diverse Camp Welcomes Youth

The New York Times reported on Camp Indigo Point, a new program in Illinois for transgender and gender diverse youth. The camp recently welcomed almost a hundred youth from 26 states as it celebrated its first year as a “haven” for gender minority youth, who have been subjected to anti-transgender laws and policies in many states over the past few years. The camp was a place where youth were free to talk about their identities and challenges as well as enjoy facilities and activities that would often (sometimes by law) be divided along a gender binary that did not apply to them. 

States Race to Vaccinate against Monkeypox 

In monkeypox news, The State reported that South Carolina expanded and simplified eligibility for vaccines in the state to include sexual minority men and all gender minorities who have sex with men, plus anyone who takes PrEP or has been exposed to a positive case of Monkeypox. Previously, those wanting the vaccine had to share more details about their sexual activities and history. Across the country in Arizona, the Phoenix New Times reported on Maricopa County’s vaccine clinics aimed at sexual minority men and some trans women, and hosted by an LGBT health clinic. Area LGBT organizations have been working to spread the word on the elevated risk facing LGBT people and their partners, while not wanting the outbreak to be seen as LGBT-exclusive. 

Lack of Providers Top Barriers to Rural Trans Care – #LGBTWellness Roundup

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Lack of Providers Top Barriers to Rural Trans Care

LGBT Health published a study of rural transgender and gender diverse folks in the northeastern U.S., which found that those aged 25-39 had better odds of accessing gender-affirming primary care than did those who were 18-24. They also found that those identifying as a transgender man or transgender woman were more likely to access this care than were people who identified as gender diverse. The top-cited barrier to care was a lack of gender-affirming clinicians, which was cited by about two in three participants, with a lack of clinical skill among providers and difficulty getting an appointment also noted as top barriers. The results shed light on the myriad barriers that need to be overcome to improve gender-affirming care access in rural areas. 

Vietnam Makes Big Shift on LGBT Health

The Guardian reported that Vietnam’s Ministry of Health announced that being LGBT should no longer be considered an “illness” that can be treated, and that providers should treat LGBT people respectfully and provide care in a non-discriminatory manner. Instead, mental health care should be provided only when support is desired and by a provider with appropriate knowledge of LGBT identities, they said. The decision follows years of advocacy and is encouraging activists to pursue other steps for LGBT equality, such as legalizing same-sex marriage. 

Thousands of Trans Floridians without Care

HRC explained how a Medicaid rule change in Florida will take away gender-affirming care for the estimated 9,000 low-income transgender Floridians who rely on Medicaid for coverage. The decision was made by the state government after what HRC called a “biased” review of the evidence, which they say widely supports the idea that gender-affirming care is medically necessary and saves lives. A letter from experts to the office that oversees the state’s Medicaid program said that the report they issued “provides no scientific support for Florida’s proposed action” and instead twisted and mischaracterized scientific evidence. 

Anti-trans Arkansas Law Remains Blocked

Meanwhile, Politico reported that an appeals court in Arkansas blocked what was the first law in the country that completed banned transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care in the state. The appeals court upheld the temporary block on the law placed by a lower court judge, saying that because the law limited treatment based on the sex of the patient, it violated federal law on discrimination in healthcare. The law will now remain on pause, and access to gender-affirming care will continue, while a full case proceeds in which the law’s legality is challenged. Civil rights groups and medical associations alike have slammed the law as discriminatory and against the best interests of children and youth. 

Racial Disparities and Monkeypox

Kaiser Health News explored disparities facing Latinx and Black individuals with respect to Monkeypox. They included new findings that Latinx individuals make up 33% of Monkeypox cases and Black individuals make up 28% of cases – a combined total of 61% of all cases, despite those communities only comprising about 33% of the U.S> population. The trend is also present in state data; for example, in Louisiana, Black individuals have accounted for more than double the cases compared to White individuals. LGBT organizations say more government outreach is needed for LGBT people of color to understand the outbreak and be provided with vaccines. 

Campaign Brings Attention to Mental Health 

Fierce Pharma reported on a new campaign called “Depression Looks Like Me,” which is seeking to normalize discussions on mental health in LGBT communities by highlighting the stories and experiences of LGBT people with depression and other mental health challenges. Folks featured in the campaign explain how anti-LGBT stigma excerbates mental health issues in the community and also can make it harder to find care. The initiative, which was launched by Johnson & Johnson, also includes resources like provider directories, hotlines, advocacy groups, and guides. 

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