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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LGBT Athletes at the Olympics
Gay City News reported that there are 35 “out” LGBT athletes participating in this year’s Winter Olympics, which is more than double the number of LGBT participants when the competition was last held four years ago. Female-identified athletes make up the majority of that number, although LGBT men almost tripled their numbers from four in 2018 to 11 this year; meanwhile, Timothy LeDuc, a US pair skater, is the only nonbinary athlete at the games. The historic LGBT representation at the Winter Games comes at a time in which several US states have moved to ban transgender student athletes from participating in sports.
New Report on LGBT Youth Equity
The National Academies Press published a report on reducing inequities among LGBT youth, based on a workshop convened last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The proceedings covered challenges and opportunities across various sectors – child welfare, education, health systems, families, and communities – and included a focus on equity among LGBT students, of whom Black and Latinx students tend to face the greatest disparities.
Learn more about our YouthLink program, which was represented in the deliberations, here.
In Florida, School’s Not “Out”
On the subject of LGBT youth, CBS News reported that a bill is progressing in the Florida legislature that would ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as through support services offered by the schools. Proponents of the bill says that it would improve “parents’ rights,” while opponents say it will contribute to stigma and harassment facing LGBT students. Research has found that LGBT students in Florida face high levels of bullying, but that most have at least one supportive adult in their school – relationships that could be threatened by the prospective law. The bill is still making its way through the Florida senate, but the state’s governor says he supports it.
Environmental Justice and Queer Communities
American Journal of Public Health published a study exploring how the topic of environmental justice applies to LGBT communities, which face factors such as discrimination and socioeconomic inequities that are connected to elevated risk of negative environmental exposures. LGBT people tend to have higher levels and/or worse outcomes with conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer that can be in part attributed to environmental issues. Additionally, because LGBT people have underlying health inequities and unmet needs in the healthcare system, navigating the negative consequences of these environmental exposures can be more challenging.
Want Who and What? Think Where, Why, How
LGBT Health published a study exploring how LGBT people feel about being asked their sexual orientation and gender identity by researchers. The found the most important factors for LGBT people to share this information was knowing why the questions were being asked – including, for example, to identify and address disparities – and feeling safe and supported in the environment where they were being asked. Research suggest that communicating more about the questions, as well as offering “environmental clues” that it is a safe space, could improve the quality of data we have on LGBT health by ensuring people self-identify to researchers who ask.
Gay, Bi Men Face Prostate Cancer Gaps
DocWire News reported that many medical providers who screen for and treat prostate cancer are not prepared to best serve gay and bisexual patients. The physical health problems that accompany a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment – and the mental and emotional consequences that come with them – are similar but distinct for gay and bisexual patients. Additionally, data and research on the needs of this group are lacking. The article also highlights a first-of-its-kind urology program at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago that specifically serves sexual minority men and is exploring solutions to improve care.