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.
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Patients OK with SOGI Questions
LGBT Health published a study finding that medical record questions on sexual orientation and gender identity were largely considered acceptable to urology and oncology patients, with only 5% choosing to not disclose their sexual orientation and less than 1% not disclosing gender identity. Just over half of patients considered these questions to be important. The results suggest that more healthcare providers and systems could ask patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity, which could improve care as well as help fill data gaps.
Clinic Improves Care for Waiting Patients
Pediatrics published a study examining a clinic for transgender youth aimed at connecting them and their families to support and information during what can be a lengthy, year-plus wait to access gender-affirming specialty care. They found that these youth experienced less anxiety and depression compared to data collected on youth that had not received this service, and also reported a greater sense of agency and thus an improved outlook on their future. This promising intervention could help improve outcomes for youth as they await full access to care.
Telehealth Walls Should Stay Down
The Hill published an opinion piece explaining that telehealth – which has expanded greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic – is important for trans individuals and can and should be maintained after the pandemic is over. Telehealth allows transgender individuals to access care that sometimes is not available in their immediate vicinity, but regulations relating direclty to telehealth as well as things like state licensing systems have prevented wider use. The pandemic may have indicated that such restrictions are outdated and needlessly prevent access to care.
Health of Sexual Minorities 50-Plus
Psychiatric Services published a study finding that sexual minority women aged 50-plus were more likely than their heterosexual peers to smoke, drink alcohol, have a substance use disorder, and have used medical services to address substance use issues. In contrast, sexual minority men 50 and up had more chronic health conditions and mental health issues, but were less likely to have had inpatient stays for substance use issues compared to their heterosexual peers.
Action Sought for LGBT Refugees, Asylees
NBC News reported on an effort being made by several US senators to have increased protections for LGBT refugees and asylum-seekers. The State Department previously announced that it would aim to do more to protect these vulnerable populations and coordinate such efforts among the various relevant agencies, but the group of senators are seeking additional information as there has been limited news since the announcement in February. Hundreds of individuals apply for protections each year based on a fear of violence or death in their home country due to their LGBT identity.
“Team LGBT” Makes History
NBC also reported that LGBT athletes in the 2020 Olympics – if they were to form their own team – would have won a collective 32 medals and have placed behind just 10 countries in terms of most medals won, behind France and ahead of Canada. Three in 10 out LGBT athletes won a medal during the games, with many using that platform to call for greater inclusion in sports and in society in general.