Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.
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Gender-affirming Care Improves Lives
NBC News examined how gender-affirming surgery had a positive effect on the quality of life of transgender individuals. Citing a recent German study that found that 75% of transgender people who had such surgery had a better quality of life in the years that followed, the article explored the state of gender-affirming care in the U.S. and how lives can be improved by it.
Half of Bisexual Utahns Faced Sexual Violence
A Utah study found that LGB people were more likely than heterosexual folks to have experienced sexual violence. The results were particularly staggering for bisexual individuals, almost half of whom faced sexual violence during their lives, compared to about a third of lesbian and gay people and 9% of heterosexual people. Researchers say the trend is not unique to Utah.
Nonbinary Youth Struggle Getting Care
A study of gender-nonconforming young adults in the San Francisco area found that many struggled in accessing healthcare, even at clinics known to be culturally competent for transgender individuals. Many faced barriers such as providers not understanding what it meant to be nonbinary, and felt they had to “borrow” a binary identity or simply avoid receiving care.
Keeping Transgender Women in Care
Fenway Institute published a guide on how providers can help keep transgender women living with HIV in care. Transgender women may fall out of care after experiencing discrimination, failing to feel represented where they seek care, and facing a fragmented system that is not aligned to their various healthcare goals. The guide provides best practices to remove these barriers.
Mentorship Among Queer Healthcare Professionals
Researchers found that 72% of young LGBT healthcare professionals think it is important to have an LGBT-identified mentor for their personal development; the study also found that 48.5% of those surveyed did, in fact, have a mentor of the same sexual orientation as themselves. Participants said such relationships were helpful to get LGBT-specific advice and networking help.
Exploring Suicidality and Religiosity
Reuters examined the role of religion in suicidality among LGBTQ people. For most individuals, having involvement with religion has been viewed as something that decreases risk of suicidality, but some studies have shown that the opposite is true for LGBTQ people. One recent study found that lesbian youth faced an especially heightened risk of suicidality tied to religiosity.
Centers Short on Formal Tobacco Training
Researchers found that administrators of LGBT centers providing primary care believed that LGBT tobacco cessation was important, but that staff had been only informally trained and resource availability largely relied on a staff “champion” who was passionate about the issue. (Did you know that LGBT centers can contact HealthLink for tobacco control resources? It’s true!)
Cyberbullying Hurting Queer Youth
A major NIH study found that sexual minority youth reported higher depressive symptoms from the eleventh grade through three years after high school, and that one key association was higher rates of cyberbullying, especially among male-identified youth. Other associations of depressive symptoms were lower family satisfaction and greater likelihood of unmet medical needs.
Recognizing Trans HIV Testing Day
The Center of Excellence for Transgender health marked National Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18, noting that transgender women of color in particular face disproportionately high rates of HIV; research has been limited on transgender men, but they are also at risk. The Center published videos, resources, and promotional materials to increase testing in the community.
High Mental Health Needs for Trans Youth
A study found that transgender children and adolescents had high rates of both attention deficit disorders (affecting 15% of transfeminine and 16% of transmasculine youth) and depressive disorders (affecting 49% of transfeminine and 62% of transmasculine youth). Transgender youth also had higher rates of suicidal ideation and self-injury than their cisgender peers.
Students Think More are Smoking & Vaping
Researchers found that 61% of students overestimated how many of their peers used e-cigarettes and 74% overestimated peer use of regular cigarettes. Those who only overestimated e-cigarette use were 3.29 times more likely to be curious about using e-cigarettes and 8.15 more likely to be currently “vaping.” It’s bad news for LGBT youth, who use both tobacco products more heavily.
Mandatory Trans Training for MDs?
Infectious Disease News explored the idea of requiring medical students to receive basic education on transgender health, citing research that more than a million people in the U.S. are transgender but that medical students receive only a few hours of total education on LGBT health. The author notes that many students are actually asking for more, and recommends it be mandatory.