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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Ending 2021 on a High Note
As 2021 comes to a close, and many of us gather with our families or families of choice to observe holidays or just catch up after a difficult year, don’t forget that many LGBTQ folks may still be hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or face barriers to doing so, or may wrongfully believe that COVID-19 vaccines interfere with HIV treatment or hormone therapy. (They don’t.) You can help combat misinformation in the community and protect those you care about by getting vaccinated and boostered. Looking for local LGBTQ resources during the end-of-year holidays? Check out our interactive LGBT center directory. And most importantly, take care of yourself and we will see you in 2022!
Addressing Abusive Online Conduct
Health Leaders reported on an effort by the organization Building Healthier Online Communities to address discrimination, insults, and generally hateful language in online dating apps for the LGBT community. The organization has heard from thousands of users of such apps about their experiences, through surveys and focus groups, and many note the stresses of being shamed or excluded for factors such as their race, perceived gender expression, HIV status, weight, and more. The users also provided suggestions for solutions that the initiative is looking to support app developers in employing, such as ensuring that everyone (not just those with paid memberships) can block abusive participants and more privacy options for sensitive information, such as HIV status.
Homophobic Language Explored
On the subject of hateful language, University of Houston shared research exploring why heterosexual men sometimes use anti-gay language even against other straight men. Aftering randomly assigning male college students as having a gender role that was either average male or average female, those who had been assigned in the female range were more likely to lash out against men in hypothetical stories who were depicted as bucking male gender roles. In other words, those who felt their male identity threatened by being labeled as more feminine themselves sought to protect their male status by labeling others as not sufficiently masculine, thus perpetuating homophobic and sexist gender norms, according to reachers’ conclusions.
Hormone Access Boosts Trans Youth Mental Health
NBC News reported on new research linking access to hormone therapy among transgender teens and young adults to lower risk levels for suicidality and depression, according to a large survey involving thousands of youth. For those under the age of 18, having access to hormone therapy was associated with a dramatic 40% drop in the odds of having recent depression or a past-year attempt at suicide. While the positive side effects of access to this treatment is encouraging, the results also come at a time when many states are attempting to make it more difficult (or even illegal) for youth to access hormone therapy, raising alarms among advocates.
Food Insecurity Prominent among Trans Folks
A new study found that transgender people were three times more likely than were cisgender people to experience food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, a problem that was especially prominent among transgender people of color and low-income transgender people. In addition to problems with affordability of food (which could relate to issues such as lower socioeconomic opportunity in the community), transgender people were also more likely than their cisgender peers to have barriers to accessing food beyond just the cost, such as not being able to get out of the house or not feeling safe doing so.
LGBT Adults Top 20 Million
The Hill reported on new research estimating that at least 20 million American adults identify as LGBT, representing about 8% of the total adult population. This number includes 4% of adults who identify as bisexual, 3% who identify as gay or lesbian, and two million adults who identify as transgender of any sexual orientation, all of which exceed previous estimates. The analysis was made possible by new census data, which until recently has not identified sexual orientation or gender identity, making population estimates very challenging.