Coming Out May Prevent Cancer

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Who Comes Out to their Doctor?

Researchers found that queer men were more likely to come out to their doctor if they were out to friends and family, had seen a provider in the past year, or previously had an STI diagnosis. Coming out to one’s doctor played a bigger role in getting vaccinated for HPV than in getting tested for STIs, suggesting outness could be particularly important in cancer prevention.

A New Type of Vending MachineVending machine

Reuters reported on a vending machine installed at a queer sauna in the U.K. that provides free self-administered HIV tests. A survey at the venue last year found that 93% of patrons were open to the HIV test vending machine, and in its first six weeks, more folks grabbed a test than had been tested by on-site volunteers in the whole six months that preceded.

Trans Youth Health in the Spotlight

Several news outlets shared the AP’s story on how parents of transgender kids, or kids who are questioning their gender identity or expression, can be supportive. Meanwhile, the parent of a transgender child in a military family spoke out in Teen Vogue about the challenges her daughter has faced in accessing healthcare, such as providers not following policies and refusing care.

Gay CoupleSelf- and Partner Testing for Anal Cancer

A study examined queer men’s opinions on testing themselves or their partner for signs of anal cancer, a condition for which queer men are at higher risk. Overall, participants were confident in their ability to perform the test, and supportive of being taught by a physician. However, researchers say a low level of anal cancer knowledge among queer men may be a barrier.


Coming Out in Florida’s Latinx Communities

This one is close to our hearts at LGBT HealthLink’s Fort Lauderdale home. A new study explored the coming out experiences of Hispanic sexual minority youth in South Florida, including when and why the youth chose to come out and how they felt it impacted their lives. Researchers also explored the intersectionality of queer identities with Hispanic culture, families, and values.

Strategies to Reduce Tobacco Use Explored

LGBT HealthLink reported on strategies to reduce tobacco use among LGBT individuals, as presented at a recent national conference. Attendees at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America meeting learned how smoke-free laws and local ordinances can help reduce the massive smoking disparities faced by LGBT people, who often smoke in spaces like queer bars and clubs.


Let’s Keep A Closer Eye On Our Trans and Genderqueer Youth

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Youth Sitting

Transgender and Genderqueer Youth at Risk

A study of Minnesota high schoolers found that transgender and gender-nonconforming students had elevated levels of “all types of risk behaviors” studied, including three times the rate of suicidal ideation compared to other students. They also smoke at a rate of 15.2%, well more than the 5.9% rate of cisgender students, and were twice as likely to experience physical bullying.

RainbowPrepYou Can PrEP as Needed

Reuters reported that PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) may be effective when used as needed instead of taken every day, as has thus far been recommended. The news is based on a groundbreaking study finding that queer men who took four doses of the medication around the time of sexual encounter saw a 97% reduction in risk of contracting HIV.

Yearly Screenings Could Reduce Anal Cancer

A Swiss study of queer men who are living with HIV found that anal cancer rates could be significantly reduced with yearly screenings, which can be done with methods like anal Pap smears and anoscopies. Moreover, it seemed likely to be about as effective as some other cancer screening recommendations already in effect. The researchers recommended further study.

Trans Women and Prostate Cancer Trans_ition

In other cancer news, Self reported on the relevance of prostate cancer screening for transgender women. Experts say that transgender women who are not on hormone therapy likely have about the same risk of prostate cancer as do cisgender men, which is over an 11% lifetime risk; however, recommending screening for transgender women may not be on a provider’s radar.

First Trans Surgery Fellowship Launched

NY1 reported that the first full-year transgender surgery fellowship is launching at Mount Sinai Hospital, which currently sees about four patients a week for gender-affirming surgery. The program seeks to fill a void in training programs for physicians looking to provide gender-affirming care, which staff say is “a matter of life and death” for many transgender individuals.

FDA to Regulate Nicotine Levels

Stat announced that the FDA has plans to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes, a first-ever move that may greatly reduce the addictiveness of the deadly product. It’s great news for the LGBT community, who research shows smoke about 50% more than other adults.


Engineering Healthy (LGBT) Communities

Jenna 2017By Dr. Jenna Wintemberg, Community Advisory Council member

We were excited to participate in CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute in Atlanta this summer. This year the theme was “Engineering Healthy Communities”, which the public health nerd in me loves.CADCA July 2017

I work in tobacco control with a focus on policy. Through this work we strive to create healthy environments for tobacco-free living through local smokefree, Tobacco 21, and tobacco retailer licensing policies. While these policies protect everyone in our communities, there are added benefits for groups with disproportionately high tobacco use rates, such as LGBT individuals.

For example, Missouri does not have a comprehensive statewide smokefree law and RainbowMosome municipalities have adopted these policies at the local level. We did a study to see how LGBT individuals were faring in Missouri communities with comprehensive smokefree policies compared to communities without these policies. We found that living in an area with smokefree policies is related to greater intention to quit among LGBT current smokers and a lower overall smoking prevalence for LGBT Missourians.

Jenna is presentingWe shared these findings at CADCA and shared LGBT HealthLink resources with attendees, including our Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Control and Cancer Control. Not only can we use these tools to engineer healthy communities, we can use them to engineer healthy LGBT communities!


LGBT HealthLink resources are available to download FREE through our member website. Join now for access to recorded webinars, tobacco and cancer networking groups, and more.



LGBTQ Youth: It’s Time For Birds And Birds, AND Bees And Bees

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.


Sex Ed Advances to Include Queer Youth

The Atlantic reported on the trend in some states on making sex education more inclusive of LGBT youth, which has long been a deficit credited with contributing to disparities. Earlier this month, the Massachusetts senate passed a bill requiring school districts that have sex ed to be more inclusive of LGBT content, for example. Still, most states do not have such laws.

TWOCConcerning New Data on Trans Women of Color

A new study examined homicide rates among transgender individuals. While exact figures are hard to calculate due to potential underreporting and the unknown total number of transgender people, transfeminine Black and Latina individuals seemed to have significantly higher rates than did cisgender folks, suggesting a strong intersection between gender identity and race.

Bill Introduced to Improve Queer Data

The Wisconsin Gazette reported that Senator Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge in the Senate on a bill that would require federal data collection to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity, which may unmask and explain health disparities. Baldwin, the first openly gay member of the Senate, was joined by colleagues who introduced the bill in the House.

Only 27% Protected from Conversion Therapy

Movement Advancement Project updated a report on “conversion therapy” to reflect that Rhode Island just banned the practice that proports to convert LGBT people to heterosexuality or a cisgender identity. While the Ocean State is just one of several that has recently taken the step, only 27% of the LGBT population nationwide lives in a state with such protections.

Teen Smoking Declines – With a Catch Young Lez

The Washington Post reported on promising data that shows teen smoking on the decline over the past few decades, thanks largely to better regulation, they said. However, they cautioned that groups such as LGBT youth are still disproportionately using tobacco, and that the FDA has recently delayed enforcement of important regulations on e-cigarettes and cigars.

Rethinking How We Talk About Disparities

Researchers published an article suggesting that public health campaigns may want to think twice before emphasizing LGBT disparities. Such emphasis can backfire by making the unsafe or unhealthy behavior seem normal among members of the community, and increase stigma against the community by others. Research also showed such messages may not be believable.


#LGBTWellness Reports On Alcohol Use Higher In Bi Youth

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Bisexual Youth and Drinking BiYouth

A study found that high school students who identified as bisexual or had partners of multiple sexes were up to twice as likely as heterosexual students to engage in alcohol use according to a number of behavioral markers. These disparities exceeded those of gay and lesbian students, and results also varied by gender, suggesting heterogeneity among queer youth and alcohol use.

New Info on LGB Adults 50-Plus

A new study examined data on LGB adults ages 50-plus and found many health disparities. Sexual minority women were more likely than other women to have arthritis, health attacks, strokes, and more, while sexual minority men were more likely than heterosexual men to have cancer. The study suggests that targeted interventions are needed to address such disparities.

Smoking Infographic 07262017

Reducing the LGBT Smoking Rate

Researchers published an article on how to reduce the disparate smoking rate among LGBT individuals, who smoke at more than a 50 percent higher rate than do others. They suggested better inclusion of LGBT data in public health surveys, more targeted anti-tobacco campaigns, and better regulation of menthol-flavored tobacco products as among the strategies that may help.

Updates from the Hill

ThinkProgress reported that Congress rejected a law that would have banned funding for gender-affirming care for America’s service members and their dependents. Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress weighed in on potential healthcare legislation in the Senate and how it might impact LGBT people, warning that queer folks are underinsured and have higher health needs.

Promiscuity Perceptions and Support for Gay Rights

Researchers tested different versions of an article on gay men – one that reaffirmed stereotypes on promiscuity and one that refuted them – and found that heterosexual individuals’ perception of gay promiscuity related to their support for gay rights in some cases. This may mean that support for LGBT rights can be increased as stereotypes are challenged, the research team said.

Wave of “Conversion Therapy” Bans Continues ConversionTherapy

The Atlantic reported that there is continued momentum among states in banning “conversion therapy,” a practice overwhelmingly rejected by experts that purports to make queer individuals become heterosexual. Rhode Island recently became the fourth state this year to ban the practice, and in states where bans have not been implemented, some towns and cities are taking action.

Update: Allentown Council passes ban on gay conversion therapy for minors


This Week’s LGBT Wellness is “Jazz-ed” Up!

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Jazz Jennings Has Something to Say

LGBT HealthLink interviewed teen superstar Jazz Jennings on how she got involved with Truth Initiative’s anti-tobacco campaign for LGBT youth. Jennings said that lack of support from family and others, as well as targeted marketing from Big Tobacco, might explain why LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco products as their peers. Way to go, Jazz!

CDC Campaign Increased HIV Testing for Black Men TMUS

A study evaluated the CDC’s Testing Makes Us Stronger campaign, which promoted HIV testing among Black men who have sex with men (MSM), and found that 43.2% of study participants had been exposed to the campaign, many at pride events or in a doctor’s office. Those who had seen the campaign had a 38% higher probability of having been tested within six months.

Simulation Trains Residents on Trans Health

Researchers developed a simulation for medical residents in which they treated a “patient” played by a transgender actress. Only 61% directly asked about gender identity, and an equal number made the patient feel comfortable. However, overall communication skills were better, suggesting good communication could bridge doctors’ knowledge gaps on transgender health.

Ageing With PrideQueer Older Adults of Color Growing Rapidly

NBC News reported that people of color currently comprise 20% of the LGBT older adult population (which includes 1.1 million people over the age of 65), but that that number will likely double in the next three decades. These individuals face intersectional discrimination and disparities, and have complex socioeconomic and health needs as a result.

How the SDGs Can Include LGBT

The Global Forum on MSM & HIV, along with OutRight Action International, launched a new report on how the needs of LGBT folks must be considered as the UN and countries worldwide implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Their recommendations included ending discrimination, collecting and using LGBT-specific data, and training providers on LGBT health.

Lab Test

Addressing Transgender Needs in Labs

Researchers published a review of how laboratories can contribute to quality care for transgender patients. While labs often need to know the sex recorded at birth of their patients, understanding gender identity and a patient’s medical transition is also important. Researchers also identified barriers to quality, inclusive care in both patient-facing and interior aspects of labs.


Weekly LGBT Wellness Asks: Are You No. 1?

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

HIV Testing 2What 1 in 7 Don’t Know

The CDC marked National HIV Testing Day on June 27, reporting that one in seven people living with HIV in the U.S. is not aware of their status – thus preventing them from getting connected to treatment. They also shared resources like a testing center locator, key facts, and sample social media posts for those looking to spread the word on HIV prevention.


Cervical Cancer Screening for Trans Folks

A study found that most trans-masculine individuals – who may be at risk for cervical cancer but who often feel excluded from being screened for it – overwhelmingly prefer a frontal HPV swab to a Pap test. Over 90% said this was their preference, finding it had benefits like being less invasive, although some expressed concerns about things like the alternative test’s accuracy.


LGBT Youth Disproportionately IncarceratedYouth Jail

Movement Advancement Project published a report on incarcerated LGBT youth, who represent 20% of all people in the juvenile justice system despite being less than 10% of the overall U.S. population. Among those queer youth in the justice system, 85% were youth of color, and young queer women were also disproportionately impacted, making the issue an intersectional one.


What We Know About Eating Disorders

Researchers conducted a review of available studies on eating disorders and related problems in queer populations, and found that much of the research from the past six years shows sexual minorities to be more at risk, especially sexual minority men. While these disparities have been relatively well-documented, few have looked at how to treat and prevent eating disorders in LGBT people.


Journal Delves into Data Inclusion

The American Journal of Public Health published several perspectives on the importance of LGBT-inclusive data gathering in public health, including one article on the importance of this issue for LGBT older adults, whose needs can be made invisible without data. Another article explored growth in those identifying as LGBT, especially among youths, women, and minorities.


The Epic Journey for Inclusive Records

Speaking of data, Wired published a story on some of the challenges in designing healthcare records systems that capture gender identity and sexual orientation, ensuring that the information is used to provide LGBT patients with quality care. The article looks at how the major healthcare technology company Epic worked on reforming its system and educating those who use it.


If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.


Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.


Tobacco Control & LGBT Populations

Anthonyby Anthony Campo, LGBT HealthLink

Every June, during Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, I am reminded of LGBT leaders that came before me like Harvey Milk and watershed moments in our movement such as the Stonewall Riots. The month of June is a time to celebrate the advances toward equality that we have made but also to reflect on the inequities that continue to persist.



As the Education, Training, and Outreach Manager for LGBT HealthLink, a CDC-funded program of CenterLink that works to address LGBT tobacco and cancer related health disparities, my mind turns to health equity and the often-overlooked fact that the LGBT community remains among the groups most affected by tobacco.

According to the CDC, in the United States, smoking prevalence among LGBT individuals is higher than among the total population, resulting in part from aggressive marketing of tobacco products to these communities and LGBT-specific risk factors such as daily stress from social stigma and discrimination.

Yet, another overlooked topic is the role geography plays when considering the LGBT tobacco disparity. According to Dr. Regina Washington, Director of LGBT HealthLink, “Where you live, work, play, and learn matters because geography and health outcomes are inextricably linked. Where you live should not determine how long you live.”

Indeed, LGBT individuals living in one region of the country may have increased access to tobacco compared to those in another region due in part to local policies and ordinances in place. For example, in Hawaii and California, the legal age to purchase tobacco products is 21 compared to 18 in most other states in the US, and the movement to raise the legal age is known as Tobacco21.

T21 states


The vast majority of smokers begin using tobacco during youth, and we know that increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco is associated with lower rates of smoking prevalence including among the LGBT population. Indeed, limiting access can be a catalyst to help smokers quit and prevent uptake in the first place.

This June, think about where you show your pride, because your geographic location will likely play a role in your health outcomes. While our thoughts during Pride Month may focus on other issues facing LGBT communities, we must also consider the issue of health equity and acknowledge the role of geography in addressing LGBT health and tobacco disparities. I encourage each of you to learn more about the Tobacco21 movement and the ways in which you can support this effort in your local community.


LGBT HealthLink provides trainings and technical assistance to public health officials, health systems and providers, and community-based organizations. To learn more and access LGBT HealthLink resources and educational materials, join our free membership!


Jazz Jennings Has a Message – and a Mission



By Corey Prachniak-Rincón, science writer for LGBT HealthLink

With her reality show I Am Jazz kicking off its third season and a half-million Instagram followers to keep entertained, Jazz Jennings is not your typical teen. And as a young, transgender woman in uncertain times, there is no shortage of issues Jennings could draw attention to using her platform.


Given that, it might surprise you that when Jennings took to Instagram on June 20th, it was to discuss an often-overlooked LGBTQ health issue: smoking.

In our interview, Jennings said that after she discussed LGBTQ tobacco use with the the truth campaign, “I knew I had to take part. I feel this is definitely a big problem.” As Jennings points out in her video, LGBTQ young adults are about twice as likely to smoke as their peers; LGBT HealthLink has called tobacco “the most serious yet preventable health crisis facing” queer youth.

“I was definitely surprised to hear that LGBTQ youth are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco, and I feel that the reason for that is that a lot of LGBTQ youth don’t experience love from their family,” or have other forms of support necessary to reject smoking, Jennings said.

“My family has always provided me unconditional love and support,” she added, as anyone who has seen her show knows. “They’ve guided me down a path where I don’t have to use tobacco to be myself.” Not everyone is so fortunate, and seeing some of her transgender friends use tobacco was what made this project personal for her, she said.

Then again, Jennings knows that the massive smoking rates in the LGBTQ community are not just due to a lack of social support – they are also the result of a targeted campaign by tobacco companies, which continues to this day as Big Tobacco infiltrates LGBTQ community spaces and events.

“It’s really not cool that tobacco companies are going to pride events,” Jennings said, where she herself is no stranger. And the targeting that Jennings discusses in her video is not just limited to LGBTQ folks; as truth‘s #STOPPROFILING campaign points out, Big Tobacco also not-so-subtly goes after racial minorities and low-income communities, preying on those it feels are susceptible to its messaging.

Jennings believes that the more people know about the tobacco industry’s tactics, the more they will be inspired to avoid using tobacco or to quit if they have already started. “Hopefully, they can find that support to quit using tobacco and to see that it’s not their fault – that they’re being targeted.”

For LGBTQ youth who may not have much support from their families, or feel comfortable talking to them about tobacco, Jennings recommends seeking out other resources or people for help. “If you go to the LGBTQ community and talk to someone who’s older than you” and who has perhaps quit smoking themselves, “they could really guide you down the right path,” she suggested

For its part, truth is thrilled to have such a high-profile partner whose voice resonates with youth. “Jazz is the perfect partner to help spread this message and arm youth with the facts about tobacco industry profiling tactics,” said Nicole Dorrler, Truth Initiative’s Senior Vice President, Marketing. Dorrler added that she hoped Jazz’s participation will “empower [youths] to be the generation to end tobacco in every community nationwide,” an idea that Jennings found particularly powerful.

Indeed, there have been some positive steps: the federal government has begun to take note of the LGBTQ smoking disparity, and even showed it was taking it seriously with the This Free Life campaign aimed at LGBTQ youth. Some states (even some that might surprise you) have also taken positive steps towards reducing smoking among queer youth.

Jennings hopes that her participation in this campaign will play a small role in the larger fight against tobacco. “Our community is very, very diverse,” she said enthusiastically, “and when we look at this video, hopefully we can realize there’s so much more to us than using cigarettes.”