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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“Queerantine” Brings Struggle for Youth
Researchers in the U.K. found that lockdowns related to COVID-19 have had perilous impacts on the mental health of LGBT individuals. Two-thirds of LGBT people showed serious signs of depression during the “Queerantine,” as some call it, and this was particularly true for LGBT youth. Researchers speculated that this may be because they lack the supportive network that comes as one ages into the community.
Trans Teens Take on Ban
NBC News reported on a pair of transgender teenagers who are challenging Arizona’s ban on gender-affirming surgery under the state’s Medicaid plan. The teens are filing a class action lawsuit for all young Arizonans who are seeking chest reconstruction surgery, which the state expressly prohibits even though it is medically necessary. Arizona is one of ten states that outright bans gender-affirming surgery.
Allowing Discrimination Counters Science
Meanwhile, researchers argued laws that discriminate or allow discrimination on the basis of gender identity run contrary to growing evidence that sex assigned at birth is only part of one’s sense of gender. It also further marginalizes groups – specifically, transgender and nonbinary folks – who already face myriad health disparities and healthcare access issues, making addressing these issues more difficult.
One in Four LGBT Youth Use Nonbinary Pronouns
Teen Vogue reported on new research from the Trevor Project, which found that 25% of LGBT youth aged 13-24 use gender nonbinary pronouns. Most of those youth use a combination of “he” or “she” plus neutral pronouns like “they,” which was the most popular type of nonbinary pronoun. The size of the group shows the growing importance of service providers understanding nonbinary identities and pronouns in general.
Comprehensive Health Ed Works for All
Human Rights Watch reported on why comprehensive sexual health education is so important for the health of all youth. Many states lack any requirement for sexual health education, and several explicitly stigmatize LGBT youth. This leads to all youth lacking key information on their sexual and reproductive health, as well as developing health literacy in general (a problem highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Changing Care for Intersex Infants
CNN reported that the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago became the first in the U.S. to apologize for performing medically unnecessary procedures on intersex children to make their genitalia appear more stereotypically “male” or “female.” Intersex advocates argue that these irreversible surgeries should only be done when a youth is old enough to understand and consent. The article explores how discovering that one received such surgery as an infant is often deeply traumatic.