Centers Play Major Mental Health Role, #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.

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

Centers Play Major Mental Health Role

Researchers interviewed 60 LGBT center leaders and found that 98% provided support groups and 85% provided individual psychotherapy, underscoring the importance of mental health work by LGBT centers. They also found that most leaders had limited staff to provide these services and were interested in having more training on providing LGBT-specific, evidence-based care.

Resources Strained as Needs Soar

Relatedly, Fox 5 reported on the challenges facing LGBT health centers in New York, where a lack of patient visits and in-person fundraisers has meant for huge drops in revenues. At the same time, they are struggling to provide telehealth and other modified services to provide for health as well as social connection, as well as play a role in vaccine distribution – a further stretch of resources.

Learn more about what LGBT centers are doing in your area, and how to get involved or receive services, here.

PrEP is Widely Known, But Underused

A new study found that while 98% of sexual minority men and transgender women were aware of PrEP as an HIV prevention method, less than 25% were actually taking it. People of color included in the study were more likely to take PrEP if they had received information about it from a healthcare provider, underscoring the need for providers to educate patients (and themselves) on this topic).

After Incarceration, Challenges Continue

Center for American Progress published a report on the barriers facing LGBT folks who reenter the community following incarceration. For example, parole restrictions often limit housing and healthcare options for trans folks in particular, and some states permanently ban name changes for people with criminal convictions, making it impossible for people to access affirming IDs.

Mother-Son Duo Tackle Inequity

Commercial Appeal reported on how a mother-son duo in Memphis addressed the lack of Black-led LGBT organizations by forming one themselves. Relationships Unleashed is working to advance socioeconomic equity, sexual health, and – during the pandemic – COVID-19 relief to Black LGBT folks in the Memphis area.

Pandemic’s HIV Comparisons Have Limits

The Ithacan explored the limitations in comparisons between HIV and COVID-19. While COVID-19 has affected everyone (albeit inequitably) and therefore drawn widespread attention and resources, HIV was largely seen as a “gay cancer” that went ignored by many politicians and the general public for years, while LGBT communities were decimated. 

Anti-Trans Bills Also Anti-Science, #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.

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

Anti-trans Bills Also Anti-science 

Scientific American reported on how bills in Arkansas and nineteen other states seeking to block transgender youth from receiving care run counter to science. They cite research finding that trans-affirming care is not only safe for youth, but also positively affects their mental health. 

HIV Vaccine Could Be Closer

Insider reported on how advancements on vaccines for COVID-19 could mean that an HIV vaccine is closer than ever. Scientists have used the new mRNA technique to develop the COVID-19 vaccines after decades of study, and that same method could be used to vaccinate for HIV, a disease that has disproportionately impacted LGBT communities. 

College Athletics Lack Inclusive Policies

Gay City News reported on new findings that college athletic policies fall short on LGBT inclusion. Only three percent of NCAA Division 1 schools had “robust” protections, while nine in ten (92%) lacked trans-inclusive policies. Resources for athletes and policies for fans were also found among a minority of programs. 

LGBT Training in ER Residencies 

Researchers found that 75% of emergency medicine residency programs offered some LGBT health training, with an average of two hours of instruction. They also found that most survey respondents would have preferred more instruction on this topic. Lack of time in the curriculum was the biggest barrier cited for not offering more LGBT health education. 

New Safe Space – in Spanish

CenterLink launched a new LGBT youth chat platform in Spanish. Q CHAT SPACE,  a collaboration with Planned Parenthood and PLFLAG, has helped fill gaps (especially during the pandemic) for youth who need a safe, virtual place to connect. The platform’s Spanish-language launch aims to expand the reach and impact of the program. 

HPV Convos Lacking

A study explored how sexual minority men discuss HPV vaccination with their partners, and found that most did not engage in much conversation on the topic – despite higher rates of HPV among queer men than others. They found that the value placed on safer sex conversations and the type of relationship that men were in were important factors for this type of discussion. 

Anti-LGBT Bias & Racism Are Bad for Health – #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.

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

Anti-LGBT Bias & Racism Are Bad for Health

A new study found that in states with higher indicators of structural racism and anti-LGBT policies, Black sexual minority men were more likely to drink heavily, experience anxiety, and see themselves as a burden to others. Queer Black men were also less likely to get tested for HIV in states with more anti-LGBT policies. The results demonstrate how policies and structural biases can directly impact health, and also show the importance of intersectionality for LGBT people of color.

Celebrating International Asexuality Day

ABC 10 marked the first-ever International Asexuality Day, which tool place this month to bring awareness to asexuality and other related identifies such as demisexual. Advocates say that asexual individuals are disproportionately young, meaning that (like nonbinary and queer folks) the population of people who identify as asexual will likely grow over the coming years. Asexual folks have reported higher levels of discrimination and mental health issues compared to other LGBT+ individuals, according to several studies.

New Clinic Focuses on Sex Workers 

Gay City News reported on a free health clinic launched by Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and transgender activist Cecilia Gentili, that will provide holistic care to sex workers in New York. The goal of the program, which is free and is currently funded through June, is to connect members of this broad population – who often encounter stigma and other barriers in accessing care, and who face disparities in many health conditions – to a variety of health services. 

LGBT Care Options Grow

Nearby, Out in Jersey reported on the growing number of LGBT-focused health programs in the state, which have begun to fill the gaps that LGBT folks often find in encountering inclusive and competent care. Many of the programs are offshoots of larger health systems serving the general population. Common services include gender-affirming care, HIV and STI testing and treatment, and mental health services, all areas of care that can be especially difficult to navigate when providers do not have sufficient LGBT-related training. 

Trans Youth Transitioning Care 

A study explored how transgender youth moved from pediatric to adult care, and found that many barriers existed with respect to issues such as insurance problems and patients not feeling ready. Study participants identified ways to improve such transitions, including by having referrals from trusted sources and building patient independence over time. The authors also called for more collaboration between providers and families as such transitions of care occur. 

Policy Could Boost Fertility Options

WBEZ reported on legislation in Illinois that would require insurers to cover fertility treatment for anyone who was eligible, rather than limiting such coverage to different-sex couples, as is currently the case. The bill could make a big difference in the lives of prospective LGBT parents, who often have little to no benefits through their insurance – thus leaving them to foot enormous costs in seeking to have children. 

School Support Lags for Trans Youth of Color – #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.

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

School Supports Lacking for Trans Youth of Color

Researchers found high levels of mental health issues and victimization among Black and Latinx transgender youth, surpassing those found among cisgender youth of color. They also found that Black and Latinx trans youth had lower levels of school connectedness than did their White trans peers, which is concerning given that this often serves as a protective factor for youth.

LGBT Youth Exposure to Suicidality

Relatedly, a new study found that LGBT youth were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to have known someone who attempted or died by suicide. Gender minority youth who were assigned female at birth had the highest rate of suicidality exposure, with about 2 in 3 reporting that they had personally known someone affected by this issue. The study’s authors say that the results suggest building resilience among LGBT youth should be a priority. If a youth you know needs support, check out Trevor Project

Continuing Health Services during COVID-19

The Fenway Institute published a brief on how to continue to support the health needs of LGBT folks during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discuss how telehealth (including through investments made with government pandemic funds) has made care accessible to many, but that it is still critical for in-person care to be offered for those who cannot get services virtually. They also note the need for expanded sexual health counseling as advising simply social isolation is unrealistic.

Marking Trans Day of Visibility

UNAIDS marked Transgender Day of Visibility with a video encouraging adults to support youth in exploring and expressing their gender. They discussed how discrimination against transgender and other gender minority individuals puts them at risk for things like discrimination and homelessness – and thus health conditions such as HIV. 

A Presidential First

Meanwhile, GLMA recognized the occasion in the US by noting several positives – such as the first-ever presidential proclamation to mark Transgender Day of Visibility – but also challenges faced by trans folks, including a recent spike in bills eliminating access to care or athletic opportunities for trans youth. 

Utah Center’s Kits Push Prevention

CenterLink highlighted the work being done at the Utah Pride Center to address suicide prevention, including through its resource distribution program that sends boxes of educational materials to businesses and organizations. One challenge has been getting information out during COVID-19, when much of the outreach has had to be virtual but when physical materials are still needed as spaces reopen. 

Tele Trans Care Shows Promise, #LGBTWellness Roundup, Week of March 29, 2019

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.

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

Tele Trans Care Shows Promise

A study examined how gender minority youth felt about telemedicine, which has expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to access gender-affirming care. They found that almost nine in 10 (88%) were willing to use telemedicine in the future, though most prefered in-person care for their first visit – suggesting a potential model of care for the future. 

HIV App Gets Five Stars

Elsewhere in health technology news, researchers found that young sexual minority men responded well to an app designed to help them access HIV-related resources, according to a small pilot study. The app provided users with tailored recommendations on HIV testing and accessing PrEP, and also helped users locate services. 

Financial, Logistics Challenges for Centers

Forbes reported on the challenges facing LGBT community and health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial struggles as some have faced more than 50% falling revenue, as well as increased needs among the LGBT population. They have also had to work towards making services available from home, including innovations like online groups and at-home self-test kits for HIV and STIs. 

Trans Youth and Heart Health

Researchers found that youth with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria are more likely to have a medical diagnosis related to cardiovascular or metabolic health. For example, youth with gender dysphoria (which includes transgender and questioning youth) were 1.8 times more likley as others to have abnormal cholestoral levels, and transgender males were 1.5 times more likely than others to be overweight or obese. 

Teen Activists Take the Lead

NBC News reported on youth activists who are leading the fight against bills seeking to limit transgender rights across the country. For example, one eleventh grade student in South Carolina is fighting that state legislature’s attempt to ban transgender studyn athletes from participating in sports. The activism surge comes as lawmakers have shifted in recent years from general anti-transgender legislation to bills that target youth in ways that they say protect minors but that advocates say cause harm.

Tracking Athletic Bills

Relatedly, Movement Advancement Project published a map that is tracking states that ban transgender student athletes from participating in sports in alignment with their gender identity. Currently, five states have such bans, although the first state to issue such a measure – Idaho – currently has its ban held up while a court reviews its legality. Check out CenterLink’s ActionLink program to get involved in policy issues at the local level.

Trans Students Face Insomnia – #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.

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

Trans Students Face Insomnia, Depression
A new study found that transgender college students in the U.S. and Canada were more likely than their cisgender peers to have insomnia as well as daytime sleepiness. The study also found that trans students were about twice as likely as cisgender students to report depression or anxiety, and about four times as likely to report having attempted suicide.

Queer Men with HIV at HPV Risk
Researchers in Australia found that among gay and bisexual men, those who were living with HIV or who engaged in receptive anal intercourse were more likely to contract high-risk HPV. The results suggest that these men in particular (in addition to queer men in general, who are at higher risk than their heterosexual counterparts) should be considered for HPV vaccination efforts.

GSAs Struggle During COVID
NBC news reported on how school closures and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen drops in GSA registrations and participation, especially from new students, as groups have had to move online. For many, the school GSA is the only place they feel safe and supported – and many report needing that support now more than ever.  

Implementation Science and Disparities
Researchers explored how implementation science – or the study of how evidence-based practices are actually implemented– can help address LGBT mental health disparities. They note that research often fails to consider the effectiveness of interventions among LGBT folks, and many providers do not collect LGBT identity data – making it more important to thoughtfully implement practices to serve LGBT people.

UK’s LGBT Community Struggles in Pandemic
BMJ explored research on how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated LGBT inequities in the UK. For example, LGBT mental health disparities already existed before the pandemic, and now – with lockdowns limiting social support – one study found that self-harm among gender diverse people had increased 7% during the pandemic compared to a 2% increase among cisgender folks.

Historic Ruling Hits Japan
The Japan Times reported on a Japanese court ruling that the failure of the government to offer any recognition of same-sex relationships was unconstitutional (even though the constitution describes marriage as between “husband and wife”). Some municipalities do offer partnership certificates that bestow limited protections, like hospital visitation rights. The ruling does not immediately change the law, but advocates say it was a big step.

Reproductive Health Barriers for Trans Folks – #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.

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

Reproductive Health Barrier for Trans Folks A new study found that 36% of transgender and gender expansive people who became pregnant considered terminating the pregnancy without clinical supervision, and 19% actually attempted to do so. Rationale for not using the medical system included privacy and mistreatment concerns, as well as factors such as cost, legality, and availability, underscoring the complexity of the issue of trans and nonbinary people. 

Deep Dive into All of Us Research Program
We at CenterLink published a special edition of our weekly podcast in which we sat down with Justin Hentges of the All of Us research program. Along with special guests from LGBT centers across the country, we discussed how the NIH is taking steps to engage the LGBT community in their data collection efforts, so that future health care breakthroughs can truly include everyone. Check out this long-form interview here or by searching for the LGBT Wellness Roundup wherever you listen. 

Three in Four Had Mental Health Impact
US News reported on a new study finding that three-fourths of LGBT people say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, with about half saying that the impact was major. In contrast, half of non-LGBT folks reported a mental health impact with only one-fourth saying it was major. LGBT people were also more likely to have lost work due to the pandemic, and to see getting vaccinated as a social responsibility.   

Gender-affirming Care Has HIV Benefit
POZ reported on new data showing that transgender folks living with HIV who received gender-affirming surgery through New York Medicaid saw their HIV viral loads drop after receiving the surgery. Access to this critical form of care helped to reduce the disparities typically found between trans folks living with HIV and their cisgender counterparts, who tend to fare better, highlighting yet another health benefit of gender-affirming care. 

Surgery Delays Harm Community
Relatedly, ABC News reported on delays in accessing gender-affirming surgery that have faced transgender people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many reported having already waited for months or years to schedule gender-affirming surgery, only to see appointments canceled as hospitals marked these procedures as non-essential. Advocates note the psychological impact of having such important procedures delayed months or years more. 

Queer Women with Children
The Los Angeles Blade reported on new research finding that about one in four queer women have children, with bisexual women partnered with men being the most likely to be parents. Bisexual women parents also reported higher levels of distress and less connection to the LGBT community than did lesbian women with children. 

Some Skeptical of COVID-19 Vaccine – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Some Skeptical of COVID-19 Vaccine

The New York Times reported on hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among LGBT folks, particularly those of color. They cite a recent study which found that among LGBT individuals, medical mistrust and concern around vaccine stigma were both associated with hesitancy towards taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it was available. That same study found that within the LGBT community, Black individuals were less likely to be willing to take the vaccine than were their White peers. 

Groups Pan Anti-LGBT Bills

HRC published a letter from 1000 child welfare organizations across the country, together representing 7 million professionals, speaking out against a slew of anti-LGBT youth legislation brewing at the state level. So far this year, 65 bills have been introduced targeting the rights of transgender youth in particular, including to prevent them from accessing gender-affirming care or educational opportunities (such as participation in school sports). 

Equality Updates Across the US

Relatedly, Movement Advancement Project published an update to its equality maps, which included positive changes like Virginia and Hawai’i making it easier for people to change their gender marker on state IDs, and examples of municipalities taking action at the local level to ban discrimination or end the practice of conversion therapy. Check out our ActionLink program to learn how to advance positive change in your area.

Intersectional Disparities in Homelessness

True Colors United released their annual report on homelessness, which among other things found that LGBT youth faced 120% higher risk of experiencing homelessness compared to their non-LGBT peers. Black LGBT folks were the highest-risk group, with nearly one in four young Black LGBT men reporting homelessness within the past year (not including those who expressed housing instability, such as having to “couch surf”). 

Study Looks at Bi Women

NBC News reported on research finding that bisexual women who were in a relationship with heterosexual men were less likely than other bisexual women (e.g., those in a relationship with women or bisexual men) to be “out.” The study also found that bisexual women in relationships with heterosexual men tended to face less discrimination than did bi women in relationships with other types of partners. 

Group Speaks Out against Conversion Therapy

The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution opposing efforts to change someone’s gender identity (such as what is often known as “conversion therapy”), with their Council of Representatives finding that such efforts caused harm and interfered with natural and healthy understandings of one’s own gender. They also updated a similar policy against trying to change a patient’s sexual orientation, which had been previously iterated in 1997 and 2009. 

House Passes Landmark Bill – #LGBT Wellness 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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

House Passes Landmark Bill

The Washington Blade reported on the U.S. House passing the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That would mean protections from discrimination in places like healthcare settings and employment. Advocates noted that, despite progress including the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, 29 states still do not have LGBT nondiscrimination laws on the books.

Trans-inclusive Care in Family Planning Clinics

Researchers explored the integration of gender-affirming care at family planning clinics. They found that many clinics who have done so were motivated by requests from existing patients, community members, and even their own staff. They also found that about 10% of nationally networked clinics have begun to offer gender-affirming care, while more than double (21%) of independent clinics are doing so. 

New Treatment Could Address LGBT Meth Epidemic

NBC News reported on a new treatment to help individuals stop methamphetamine use – an issue that is four times more prevalent among gay men than it is among their heterosexual peers. The treatment, which was recently studied, involves a daily pill as well as an injection every three weeks, and is meant to reduce cravings. No similar treatment currently exists on the market.  

Sexual Orientation Data among Veterans

Researchers found that within the Veterans Health Association over the course of 20 years, most documentations of a patient being a sexual minority (58.7%) came from a mental health provider, while only 9.6% came from primary care providers, revealing a big gap that could be narrowed. They also found that documentations of sexual minority status increased about sevenfold between 2000 and 2018. 

Queer Foster Care History

The New Yorker reported on untold stories of how private child welfare offices and even some government agencies began to “quietly place” gay foster children with gay foster parents in the 1970s, despite significant stigma and obstacles facing both queer prospective parents and youth. In 1982, New York became the first state to have a nondiscrimination rule for sexual minority adults looking to adopt. 

LGBT Orgs Funded for COVID Outreach

The Bay Area Reporter shared examples of LGBT community centers being funded to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They plan to conduct outreach to the LGBT community to answer questions about vaccination, connect folks to testing and resources, and more. Find resources from your local LGBT center using CenterLink’s interactive directory

Modelling HIV Prevention During the Pandemic – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Modelling HIV Prevention During the Pandemic

A study examined how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact HIV rates among queer men in the U.S. Using modelling of Baltimore as an example, they found that if the number of sexual partners was reduced by 25% for six months due to shutdowns – and there was no dip in HIV prevention services – new HIV infections could be reduced by an average of 12.2%. On the other hand, if the number of partners remained the same and service access dipped, there would be an average 10.5% increase in infections over a one-year period. The results show the importance of maintaining service delivery, including as sexual activity returns to pre-pandemic norms. 

Alcohol Use among Queer Women

Researchers explored alcohol use among sexual minority women, who tend to experience alcohol use disorder at about twice the rate of their heterosexual peers. They found that alcohol use as well as levels of social support and discrimination were all associated with symtoms of depression. Interestingly, though, they did not find that discrimination was associated with alcohol use. The results are part of the PRIDE Study

Equality Act Returns to Congress

Gay City News reported that the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBT individuals in a number of areas, has been reintroduced in Congress. The bill has previously passed the House but has not made progress in the Senate. The law would expand on the Supreme Court ruling that included LGBT folks in employment nondiscrimination law, which is slowly spreading to other areas of the law as cases apply the Supreme Court’s reasoning. 

Trans Masculine Folks and PrEP

Researchers examined PrEP use among trans masculine individuals who have sex with men, and found that 84% had heard of PrEP and 67% were interested. However, only 28% were on PrEP and only two-thirds of those on PrEP used it consistently, indicating room for increased usage among this population. 

Chosen Families Matter in Leave Laws

Center for American Progress explored why it is important for LGBT individuals that families of choice be considered in paid family and medical leave policies. Fewer than half of LGBT Americans say they would rely on their families of origin if they were sick, and fewer than one-third would rely on a spouse; rather, many rely on friends and partners who are often not legally recognized. Coverage for LGBT people is especially important given the health and socioeconomic disparities the community faces. 

%d bloggers like this: