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. 

Back to School Special, Plus Convos with Researchers – #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.

LGBT Students Face Challenges Back at School

USA Today reported on LGBT students heading back to school amid a growing number of state laws and policies targeting their identities. Such policies have mostly been pursuing transgender youth, including laws to block their access to restrooms, sports teams, and medical care, although some laws – like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill – have broader implications. Legal challenges to such laws are offering hope but also complication; for instance, a Utah court blocked a ban on transgender students participating in sports aligned to their gender identity, but trans students there now face case-by-case decisions on whether or not they can participate.  

Gender Diverse Youth in Appalachian Region

The Hill reported on a new study finding that more than 7% of youth in rural Appalachia identify as gender diverse (or something other than cisgender). That is much higher than previous estimates, which were based on youth identifying as “transgender,” a more limited term. In fact, more of the gender diverse youth in the study held a non-binary identity rather than a binary one (e.g., transgender boy or girl). The study supports the need for more community- and school-based resources in a region in which transportation, socioeconomics, and culture could all be barriers.  

Telehealth and More Needed for Gender-affirming Care

Scientific American shared a report on one way to provide resources such as those in Appalachia with limited services locally: telemedicine. An organization in a rural region of Massachusetts was able to provide gender-affirming care to 1,000 patients in its first year, largely through telemedicine, by which it was able to reach transgender people throughout New England. They also note the importance of well-resourced providers, like major hospitals, considering connecting patients to legal services to help transgender people navigate discriminatory laws as well as travel services for those who need to leave the state to access care. 

Online and App-based Resources for Youth

If you are looking for remote services for LGBT youth, fans of the Roundup might recall our previous coverage of Q Chat Space, an initiative of Centerlink’s LGBT YouthLink program and partner organizations that provides LGBT youth with online discussion groups. YouthLink also partnered with Hopelab and the It Gets Better Project to launch imi, an app that helps youth explore their identities and promotes good mental health, this past Pride Month. You can learn more from our interview with YouthLink’s director, Deborah Levine, here

Engaging Youth in Advocacy

The Los Angeles Blade reported on how to help LGBT youth deal with the politicization of their identities – including by supporting them to engage in advocacy efforts. The article says that while advocacy can provide a sense of meaning, youth should work with a trusted adult, keep their own well-being front and center, and partner with experienced organizations that will be able to provide them with needed support.The article stresses that youth who plan to engage in advocacy in their schools, communities, and beyond need access to strong mental health services to be able to work through how they feel and address any issues they encounter. 

Minor Consent Laws for Sexual Health Vary

JAMA published a study finding that all states allowed at least some minors to independently consent to having HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, though in some, there was a minimum age between 12 and 14. However, only 33 states allowed minors to consent to STI prevention services on their own, and 35 did the same for HIV prevention. About half the states had confidentiality protections in place for a variety of specific testing and services, allowing youth to access such services without parents being notified. The authors say that protective laws are good for both minors and their providers, but that limited information and knowledge about rights likely prevents many youth from accessing what they need. 

Generational Differences in LGB 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.

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

Generational Differences in LGB Health

LGBT Health published a study looking at three generational groups of sexual minority adults. It found that the youngest group was physically healthier than the older groups, which was more or less expected given how physical health changes as we age, but that they also had worse mental health. The latter finding is concerning given how mental health issues earlier in life can have compounded effects as people age. The study also found no differences between the age groups in terms of substance use or positive well-being. 

LGBT Concerns with Advance Care Planning

JAMA published a study exploring why LGBT people might be less likely to conduct advance care planning, which can provide instructions in case they are incapacitated or need end-of-life care. LGBT people were more likely than non-LGBT people to say that they did not conduct such planning because of experiences with healthcare discrimination, or because they simply did not see a need. Qualitative results also showed concerns with their identity being disclosed to others and with their instructions not being followed by the appropriate parties. 

1.7 Million at Highest Risk for Monkeypox

CNBC reported that 1.7 million sexual minority men in the U.S. are in the group considered by the CDC to be at highest risk for Monkeypox. The government has so far delivered 600,000 vaccine doses – enough to vaccinate 300,000 people, or about one in six of those considered to be at highest risk. The 1.7 million people in the highest risk group are sexual minority men who are living with HIV or who are using PrEP for HIV prevention; while neither of these factors is known to raise risk for monkeypox, it simply makes it statistically more likely that someone will be exposed to monkeypox. The outbreak was recently declared a public health emergency. 

Limits of Protective Laws

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study which did not find that LGBT people in states with more protective laws faced less discrimination or victimization. In fact, people who considered themselves to be gender expansive faced more discrimination and victimization in places with protective laws; the same was true about sexual minorities with respect to discrimination. The study shows that protective laws are just one step in reducing discrimination and victimization, and that more action is needed even in more favorable states. The research was conducted using data from the PRIDE Study

Telemedicine Can Advance LGBT Health

HealthTech explored how telemedicine is helping to expand care for LGBT individuals, especially those who live in areas without providers knowledgeable about LGBT health. The issue is particularly important for transgender individuals, as most providers do not receive significant training in gender-affirming care, and it can be especially difficult to access outside of major urban areas. The article also provides suggestions for making telehealth services more LGBT inclusive, including ensuring that correct names and pronouns are noted and addressing any privacy concerns.

Study Refutes “Contagion” Theory

NBC News reported on new research finding that transgender and gender diverse youth are not identifying as such merely from “social contagion” – or being exposed to more youth who identify as such as society becomes somewhat more accepting. The study refutes a 2018 one that suggested adolescents assigned female at birth, in particular, were merely succumbing to peer pressure – a study that did not even include transgender or gender diverse youth themselves, but merely their parents. MIT Technology Review also weighed in to cover the harm done by the original study. 

Highlight on Insurance Issues – #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.

Service Access Wanting for LGB Folks on Medicaid 

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) published a report on the experiences of the 1.2 million LGBT individuals who receive Medicaid. Among the many findings were that LGB individuals on Medicaid were about as likely as their heterosexual peers to use physical health services. However, the study found that LGB Medicaid recipients were less likely to get the mental health services that they needed – despite having higher rates of mental health issues. Similarly, LGB folks were more likely than heterosexual individuals to need services related to substanse use, but were less likely to access the services they needed. These findings highlight the importance of mental and behavioral service access, particularly as the LGB population has higher needs than the general population.

Hawaii Advances Bill for Trans Care Access

Honolulu Civil Beat reported that the state’s legislature has passed a bill that may improve access to gender-affirming care. While the state banned insurers from discriminating against services for trans patients a few years ago, insurers are still categorizing many critical services as being “cosmetic” despite plenty of evidence that the services improve health and save lives. The new bill would prohibit insurers from making blanket determinations that services often needed as part of gender-affirming care – such as hormone therapy, facial survey, and voice therapy or surgery – are “cosmetic” and thus not covered. It would also require more clarity for what was and was not covered and provide an appeals process.

N.C. Court Rules for Trans Patients

Meanwhile, Jurist reported that a federal judge in North Carolina ruled in favor of transgender state employees whose health insurance package did not include gender-affirming care. The judge found that the science strongly supported the medical necessity of gender-affirming care, whereas the competing “evidence” used to deny such care was questionable and mixed science with political aims, which was not legitimate for the court to consider. The judge thus found that the ban on this type of care by the state’s health insurance plan violated the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

What Parents and Caregivers of LGBT Kids Can Do

Healthline reviewed the research on the needs of LGBT youth and what parents can do to support their LGBT or questioning children. They highlighted a recent brief from the Trevor Project based on their annual survey of LGBT youth mental health, which found that only a minority of parents or caregivers educated themselves about LGBT issues or openly discussed LGBT issues with their children. The article also includes interviews with experts who gave tips such as approaching these issues openly (even if the parent still has doubts or concerns), researching these issues to reduce their anxiety about approaching them, and making sure they strive to understand their child’s identity and show respect for it, such as using appropriate pronouns.

VA Highlights Gay Stories

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs shared the story of a gay social worker who for years worked with veterans without anyone knowing his sexual orientation. When an 88-year-old veteran opened up about being gay himself – something he had never told anyone – the social worker felt compelled to open up, too. In the years since that encounter, issues for LGBT veterans have made progress, such as ending the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and limited progress on protecting transgender veterans. However, the social worker – who now trains others – says there are still many patients like his who are not always comfortable sharing their identity, and who can benefit greatly when they do.

LGBT Ukranians Face Challenges, Some Support

Devex reported on the situation facing LGBT Ukranians who have fled war in their country and are now residing in Poland – a country in which LGBT people face many barriers. Advocates say that LGBT refugees have unique needs, such as receiving housing and employment that will not discriminate against them, and medical services that are often stigmatized (especially for trans people). While local activists have been stepping up to help, some say that government actors have not been helpful in this country that has opposed LGBT rights. Poland is ranked last among EU nations on LGBT issues. 

PRIDE Study Launches Annual Survey – #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.

PRIDE Study Launches Annual Questionnaire

The PRIDE Study launched its annual questionnaire for 2022, aiming to grow is database on all things LGBT health. The mission of the PRIDE Study is to help us better understand LGBT health by recruiting folks to take an annual survey about their well-being and making that data set available (anonymously, of course) to researchers for further study. If you have not already joined the PRIDE Study, you can check your eligibility here to get started. If you are already a member, now is the time to check the 2022 survey off your bucket list. 

COVID and Mental Health

Speaking of the PRIDE Study, new research published by JMIR Public Health and Surveillance using PRIDE’s dataset found that between March and August 2020, greater exposure to COVID-19 news was associated with more symptoms of anxiety and greater odds of PTSD among LGBT adults. The study highlights the toll that the pandemic has taken on the mental health of LGBT (and other) populations, which could help inform how we deal with future public health emergencies. 

Major Findings from CDC on LGB Health

The CDC published a report using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found a number of health differences between LGB and other individuals. For example, sexual minority indiviudals were more likely to report smoking, heavy drinking, marijuana use, and other substance use when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Additionally, sexual minority women in particular were more likely to have been diagnosed with conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and diabetes compared to heterosexual women. Bisexual women also had particular disparities compared to heterosexual peers that lesbian women did not, including ovulation or menstual problems and pelvic inflammatory disease, highlighting the need for more research that differentiates between subpopulations within the LGBT community. 

Texas Order Suspended (For Now)

Reuters reported that a judge in Texas has temporarily suspended an order from the state’s governor that its department of children and families investigate parents who support their children with medically-appropriate gender-affirming care. LGBT and civil rights organizations sued to block the state from enforcing the policy, which they said is counter to science backing such treatment and in violation of the rights of trans children and their parents. The Texas Supreme Court had already ruled against the governor’s order, but had not suspended investigations against all potential parties. 

Australian Campaign Targets Smoking

Gay Nation reported on a new anti-smoking campaign in Australia aimed at the LGBT community, which (must like in the US) faces tobacco use disparities when compared to non-LGBT peers. The project is the result of a collaboration that included LGBT people in focus groups speaking to their community and an organization trusted among LGBT folks, both of which they say is important to make sure the messaging resonated and was credible. The campaign points out the health and financial benefits of quitting, and provides folks with options (including apps, medication, and counseling) to succeed. 

Resources for Understanding Monkeypox

The Fenway Institute published resources on monkeypox, such as a fact sheet and infographics that explain its impact on LGBT populations; the recent global outbreak has especially impacted gay and bisexual men, though everyone is susceptible to the virus. There is also a webinar aimed at healthcare providers and members of the LGBT community. 

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