Queer Middle Schoolers Face Tobacco Disparity – #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.

Middle School Youth Face Biggest Tobacco Disparity

The FDA published its annual report on youth tobacco use and found that major disparities exist for LGB youth. 30.9% of LGB high schoolers currently used some form of tobacco product compared to 22% of their heterosexual peers, and the disparities were worse at the middle school level, where 16.5% of LGB youth used tobacco products compared to 5.5% of heterosexual youth.

Unpacking COVID’s Impact

Researchers explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LGBT communities, including the financial (in which LGBT folks are more likely to say they are worse off because of the pandemic) and healthcare access (already a problem for LGBT people due to stigma and lower insured rates). Much of what we should know about COVID-19 and LGBT people is lacking due to a failure to collect data. The journal also explored the topic on a podcast.

HPV: The “Other” Vaccine

A study explored how to make the biggest impact with HPV vaccination, which has historically targeted young women. They found that prioritizing sexual minority men would actually have the biggest total health benefit for the population, with heterosexual females being the next group who should be prioritized, and heterosexual males being the last.

Federal Protections Nixed

Human Rights Watch reported that the federal government has removed an existing rule that requires providers of health and welfare programs that receive federal funds to not discriminate against LGBT people or people in same-sex marriages. Among other things, the change will allow adoption and foster care agencies to exclude same-sex couples.

City’s Move Highlights Equality Challenges

KOIN reported that the city of Portland passed an ordinance to make family planning and fertility services inclusive of LGBT city employees and non-partnered individuals. Nondiscrimination laws and same-sex marriage have not solved many of the access issues LGBT people face in covering these expensive services. Oregon’s cities have been noted as leaders in many areas of LGBT equality where statewide laws have been lacking.

Jamaica Report Marks a First

Elsewhere in the world, UNAIDS reported on a new transgender health strategy led by an advocacy group in Jamaica that is the first of its kind in the English-speaking caribbean. Beyond immediate health concerns (like soaring rates of HIV), the plan also looks at issues like economic opportunity, food insecurity, and public safety that greatly impact health and wellbeing.

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