LGBT Folks Back Vaccines, Mandates – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

LGBT Folks Back Vaccines, Mandates

Kaiser Family Foundation published research finding that LGBT people are more supportive of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates compared to the general population. Eight in 10 LGBT adults are fully vaccinated, far above the population total, and about two-thirds (65%) support a vaccine mandate compared to half (50%) of non-LGBT adults. Researchers say politics are associated with these differences, as political views have been associated with sharply divided view on COVID-19 in general and the vaccines in particular. 

HIV Misinformation, Stigma High

Georgia Voice reported on a new study regarding HIV knowledge and stigma, which found that less than half (48%) of Americans said they feel knowledgeable about HIV and even less (42%) knew that someone cannot transmit the virus if they are undetectable. Not surprisingly given this limited level of knowledge, the survey also found high levels of stigma, with 53% of non-LGBT respondents saying that they would be uncomfortable having a doctor who was living with HIV. Stigma was higher in the South and Midwest regions than in the Northeast and West. 

Poor Trans Mental Health in Russia 

LGBT Health published a study finding high levels of anxiety and depression among transgender adults throughout Russia. About one in four had depression while even more, 45H%, were suffering from anxiety. LGBT identities and information are criminalized in Russia, likely contributing to minority stress. 

Healthcare Needs of Lesbian Women

Medical News Update reported on a study of lesbian women’s health, which found that most lesbian women were comfortable being out with their providers, despite experiences of discrimination. Women who were not comfortable being out to their providers were less likely to seek care at all. For lesbian women of color, having a provider who was also a person of color was key.  

Case Tackles Care Access During Incarceration

Washington Post reported on a transgender man who is incarcerated in a women’s facility in Virgina and for whom doctors have recommended gender-affirming surgery – which the prison is denying. Advocates are suing the prison, saying that this care is medically necessary and would address issues the man is having with respect to mental health. The prison says it provides access to all “medically-necessary treatment” but declined to comment on the case. 

SOGI Questions Limited for Medical Programs

Journal of Osteopathic Medicine published a study finding that less than 15% of included medical programs asked prospective students to self-identity their sexual orientation, which researchers say means that the schools cannot measure and pursue diversity of students with respect to orientation. More positively, 73% of programs allowed students to report a gender identity other than male or female, boosting visibility and inclusion of nonbinary students and others who eschew male or female labels. 

Holiday Week Double Edition: Census First Reveals Socioeconomic Disparities – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Census First Reveals Socioeconomic Disparities

Bay Area Reporter reviewed new data from the US Census Bureau, which revealed in July that the latest rounds of its Household Pulse Survey – which look at socioeconomic wellbeing of households, among other things – were for the first time including questions about LGBT identities. The results found that LGBT people were more likely to reside in households with recent food insecurity, income loss, and other challenges that have major implications for health. For example, 36.6% of LGBT adults’ households faced difficulties paying expenses within the past week compared to 26.1% of non-LGBT adults’ households. 

Major Study Launched on Gender-affirming Surgery

Yahoo! reported on a new NIH grant that will fund visiting nurses in New York to conduct follow-up visits for patients who have recently undergone gender-affirming surgery. The five-year study will follow these transgender patients and measure their psychological wellbeing and quality of life over time, potentially providing valuable information on the benefits, risks, and needs related to this type of treatment. What research is available has shown widespread benefits for trans people who are able to access this type of care when desired. 

Anxiety High among Queer Wisconsin Students

Wisconsin State Journal reported on a new study of 27,000 students there who reported trouble accessing school and increasing mental health problems during 2021, as schools continued to struggle with COVID-19. It also found that 78% of students who identify as gay and lesbian and 71% of those who identify as bisexual experienced anxiety “always or frequently,” compared to 44% of heterosexual students, suggesting that stigma combined with pandemic-related isolation have taken a toll on the mental health of LGBT high schoolers. 

Parents Don’t Fully See Mental Health Challenges

Meanwhile, LGBT Health published a study on gender minority youth mental health that found that youths’ parents may not know the whole story. While parents were able to somewhat identify depressive symptoms in their children (albeit at a less severe level than the children self-identified), they underestimated the anxiety their children were facing. The results suggest the need for interventions to help parents of trans and nonbinary youth to identify, and therefore help address, the mental health issues that these youth face. 

Initiative Takes Testing Home

HRC launched a new HIV home testing initiative that aims to bring convenient and private testing to some of the most disproportionately impacted groups in the country: queer Black and Latinx men, and transgender women of color. In addition to providing individuals with tests that they can complete at home with the help of YouTube tutorials, the program will help link individuals to PrEP if they are interested as well as to other health services in their area. The populations targeted by the campaign face barriers to testing and services, such as stigma and socioeconomic disparities, that HRC hopes the program will help address. 

Mental Health in 2016’s Wake

LGBT Health published a study on the mental health of Black and Latinx sexual minorities following the 2016 presidential election. They found that across several indicators – psychological distress, suicidal ideation, and social wellbeing – there was a decline among this population in the year and a half following the election. The results suggest that 

political issues affecting marginalized populations have an impact on mental health that should be addressed. 

Healthcare Nondiscrimination Lawsuit Proceeds

Bloomberg reported that a lawsuit challenging the removal of LGBT-inclusive language from the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provision can proceed, giving a boost to LGBT health advocates who say that the change in policy hurts LGBT health access and equity. The court allowed the challenge (which is one of several similar cases across the country) to proceed, although the Biden administration has indicated its desire to add back in nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. 

Tori Cooper Makes Much-needed History 

NBC News profiled Tori Cooper, the first Black trans woman on the Presidential HIV Council – an important step given the major HIV disparities faced by Black transgender women in the US; the article cites a CDC study of six cities finding that more than six in 10 Black trans women were living with HIV, more than other trans women and many, many times more than the overall population. Cooper said that many  changes are needed to address these inequities, including addressing systemic racism, expanding healthcare coverage, and allowing trans people to access correct identification documents.

Improving Trans Folks’ Care

CAP published a report on improving healthcare access for transgender adults in the US, something that is sorely needed given both the unique needs and severe barriers the community faces. Research has shown that minority stress related to stigma and discrimination helps explain disparities transgender people face with issues like mental health concerns and smoking; the population also faces elevated rates of violence, homelessness, and other challenges. They also call for expanded nondiscrimination provisions in healthcare services as well as what is covered by insurance.

Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an issue on racial and ethnic health disparities in the US, an important topic for those addressing LGBT health given the significant inequities faced by LGBT folks who are also Black, Latinx, or other people of color. The issue features topics such as access and affordability of care; provider-patient relationships; and how non-Black healthcare providers can take on anti-Black stigma within healthcare systems. 

Patients OK with SOGI Questions – #LGBT Wellness 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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

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. 

Trans Youth Face Higher Levels of Abuse – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Trans Youth Face Higher Levels of Abuse

Pediatrics published a study indicating that 73% of transgender adolescents had experienced pyschological abuse, 39% physical abuse, and 19% sexual abuse. They experienced all these forms of mistreatment at higher rates than had heterosexual, cisgender youth, with psychological abuse in particular highest among transgender youth assigned female at birth. The results provide a dire picture of disparities facing transgender youth that likely impact these individuals throughout the lifecourse, indicating a need for more study and intervention. 

UK LGBT Data Lacking

BMJ Open published a systemic review of the experiences of LGBT people in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found a concerning lack of data, with mostly small studies that were not peer-reviewed; what data was found indicated potentially worse health and well-being outcomes among LGBT people. The researchers called for routine data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity to fill these gaps in knowledge and enable a better response to LGBT health needs, especially considering disparities known to be facing the community. 

State Laws Could Reduce Stigma

Gay City News reported on pending legislation in New York that would make it easier for transgender people to get their name and gender marker changed with utilities companies, many of which currently have high barriers to making such adjustments, such as producing a court order. Advocates say not having their identity affirmed is damaging to trans individuals’ mental health and safety. Meanwhile, in Illinois, a new law repealed laws that make it a crime for not disclosing a positive HIV status to sexual partners, laws which HIV advocates say is counterproductive and increases stigma.

New Zealand Moves to Ban Conversion Therapy

On the other side of the world, Jurist reported on New Zealand’s move to ban so-called conversion therapy on minors and provide penalties from those who are harmed by the damaging process of someone attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite much evidence that such practices are harmful and not based on science, few nations have banned them outright, although movements to do so have picked up steam in recent years. 

HPV Vaccine Effective for Young MSM

The Journal of Infectious Disease published a study finding that HPV vaccination was successful in preventing penile HPV infections among young queer men – specifically, when the vaccine had been administered for those 18 years of age and younger. The results underscore the importance of including sexual minority young men in HPV vaccination programs, which until recently were focused exclusively on young women. 

Trans Broken Arm Syndrome Explained

USA Today reported on the phenomenon known as “trans broken arm syndrome,” in which those providing care to transgender individuals tend to relate every medical condition – even breaking an arm – to their gender identity. The article details stories on how this can be deeply stigmatizing for trans people, leading some to seek alternative sources of healthcare or just avoid getting care, but also how it prevents access to necessary (and sometimes urgent) care from getting completed at all.

Survey Finds Poor LGBT Health – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Survey Finds Poor LGBT Health

Kaiser Family Foundation published new research finding that LGBT people were more likely than non-LGBT folks to report poor or fair health, even though the LGBT population is on average younger than their peers. LGBT people were also more likely than others to report negative experiences with providers, and while they used some types of care as much or more than their peers, other key services (like mammograms or gynecological exams) were underused among the population, suggesting unmet needs. 

Gender-affirming Hair Removal Works

Researchers found that hair removal procedures among transgender individuals – a key part of gender-affirming care that is covered by less than 5% of insurers – was associated with better mental health. Those who had undergone such procedures had less past-month psychological distress and less past-year suicidal ideation (as well as less smoking) compared to those who wanted but were not able to access the procedure. The results provide evidence that such care has medical benefits and should be more widely available. 

PrEP Gets Coverage Boost

Gay City News reported on new guidance from the federal government instructing insurers to cover the costs of PrEP, including doctor’s visits and lab work, as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act. The move represents another step forward for the HIV prevention option, which stands to benefit LGBT people, but until recently was mostly paid for out-of-pocket or using stand-alone benefits through state governments or drug makers themselves. 

Protective Factors for LGBT Youth

A new study found that potentially protective factors for youth, including having trusted adults and peer support, indeed were associated with lower risk of adverse wellbeing outcomes. Among students who identified as questioning or as something other than heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, or gay, having family support was also a protective factor against several adverse outcomes. The results showcase the importance of support in and out of school for young LGBT people.

Improving Mental Health Data and Services

On the subject of LGBT youth, Time published an op-ed from the head of the Trevor Project on what can be done to support LGBT youth mental health. The starting point is better data, as research on the population is limited, particularly research that can be disaggregated by factors like race and ethnicity that shine more light on specific disparities. The piece also discusses how general shortcomings of the mental health system in the U.S. are compounded for LGBT youth, who most need the services. 

Senate Confirmations Make History

The Washington Blade reported on two groundbreaking, unanimous Senate confirmations of a lesbian woman and a transgender woman for positions at the Department of Defense. The confirmations come just months after the government lifted restrictions on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces, and a decade after the end of the infamous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that restricted sexual minority rights in the military. The history-making move comes as LGBT service members and veterans still face many health and other challenges. 

One in Four LGBT Youth Are Nonbinary – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

One in Four LGBT Youth Are Nonbinary

TIME reported on new research from the Trevor Project, released for International Nonbinary People’s Day this month, finding that 26% of LGBT youth identify as nonbinary, with another 20% questioning if they are nonbinary. This presents nonbinary-identified people as a large and growing part of the LGBT population, which will likely only expand if the trend continues. About half of nonbinary youth also identify as transgender while the other half to not, indicating diversity in self-identity among this broad group.

Muscle Dysmorphia among Trans Folks

Researchers studied the presence of muscle dysmorphia (MD), or the “extreme pursuit of muscularity,” among gender minority individuals. They found that transgender men scored higher than trans women or nonbinary individuals in terms of showing symptoms of MD, partiularly driven by the factor known as “Drive for SIze” in which individuals seek to be larger. Researchers said the results should help inform care for trans individuals. 

Conversion Therapy Brings Lasting Trauma

Open Democracy published a report on survivors of so-called conversion therapy, in which one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is attempted to be changed through discredited practices, in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The abusive treatment included receiving electric shocks, being drugged, facing isolation for long periods of time, and being given hormones contrary to their gender identity or expression. Survivors reported long-term effects on their mental health, relationships, and trust in the medical system. 

New Data Standards Include SOGI announced that HHS has rolled out new data standards that will make it easier for providers to collect information relating to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), as well as questions regarding social determinants of health – issues like poverty and housing that disproportionately affect LGBT people. The update does not require this data be collected, but could encourage health systems to do so, and also means that data collection could be made easier to compare, a persistent challenge with varying SOGI questions.

Finding an Inclusive Pediatrician

The New York Times reported on how to find an LGBT-friendly pediatrician, which can be a challenge given limited resources to identify doctors with actual LGBT knowledge and experience. The article recommends turning to local LGBT youth and parent-serving organizations for tips, and looking for signs of LGBT inclusion on their website or in their office. The article also discusses American Academy of Pediatrics guidance on quality care for LGBT youth, which includes using visible signs of LGBT inclusion at the office and sharing pronouns with patients. 

Life Insurance Complicated for Trans People

Money reported on the challenges facing trangender people in accessing life insurance, which can be complicated given the industry’s heavy reliance on sex assigned at birth in making their coverage decisions; this is based on statistics that people assigned female at birth tend to have longer lifespans that people assigned male. Adding to the complexity is that each company currently has its own policy on how to categorize trans people’s gender, with some allowing them to identify with their identity and others frustratingly reverting to their sex assigned at birth. Companies also typically won’t write a new policy for someone about to undergo surgery – including gender-affirming surgery. 

Trans Folks Especially Needed Trans Services – #LGBTWellness

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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Trans Folks Especially Needed COVID Services 

A new study found that among the LGBT population, transgender and nonbinary individuals had been twice as likely to report COVID-19 symptoms than were cisgender LGB folks; they were also more likely than cisgender LGB individuals to be interested in COVID-19 vaccination or at-home testing. Overall, 13.3% of LGBT folks had been tested at that point even though 24% had reported symptoms. 

Passports to be More Inclusive 

The New York Times reported that the State Department has begun to implement new policies that will make it easier for transgender people to change their gender marker on passports, and which will also add a nonbinary “X” marker option for those who identify as nonbinary, intersex, or otherwise do not want an “M” or “F” designation. The move is especially important as more states have moved to permit such markers, which has made discrepancies with passports a concern for safely traveling and accessing services. 

HIV Disclosure Brings Challenges

A study explored the impact of disclosing a positive HIV status among sexual minority Black men in Baton Rouge. The 30 men included in the study reported ramifications to disclosing their HIV status such as being assaulted, problems with family and friends, and socioeconomic problems. The study reports that these challenges are connected to the underlying inequities and intersectional discrimination this population faces.  

Talking to Young Trans Patients about Fertility 

Psychiatric Times reported on the importance of mental health providers speaking to transgender and nonbinary youth patients about fertility issues – a topic that many providers say they do not know enough about. While there is no consensus as to who among providers should take the lead on these conversations, research shows they are important for youth to understand the impacts of treatment options and make informed decisions. 

Discriminatory Blood Bans Weaken
Reuters reported that Germany will follow other countries, such as the UK and Australia, in loosening blood donation restrictions aimed at queer men. They can now donate blood if they are in a monogamous relationship, while those with multiple partners (and heterosexual individuals with “frequently changing partners”) will have to wait four months. Calls to end discriminatory bans, which began during the early years of HIV, have increased as the need for donors has soared during the pandemic.

Cancer Screenings for LGBT Communities

Cancer Network shared research on barriers to cancer screening facing LGBT populations, including research finding that LGBT people of color may face additional challenges in accessing such services. Other studies have shown that communication and knowledge of LGBT issues is key, and that providers who make assumptions about LGBT patients (particularly with regard to sex and gender) miss important screening opportunities. 

#LGBTWellness News – Holiday Weekend Edition

Double the news – Double the podcast!

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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Homophobia is Stressful

A new study found that exposure to homophobia among LGB folks was associated with stress-related symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. The study matched LGB people with partners who were to interview and assess them, with half of the interviewers displaying homophobic attitudes and the other half not. The LGB people with the apparently homophobic interviewers showed symptoms of stress, demonstrating the real-time effect of stigma. 

Athletes Come Out

Gay City News reported on NFL player Carl Nassib becoming the first openly gay, active player in professional football. In addition to marking a milestone in LGBT inclusion in sports, Nassib’s announcement was accompanied with a $100,000 donation in support of LGBT youth mental health. In other sports news, Sports Illustrated reported that New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard would become the first transgender Olympian this summer.

LGBT Folks in STEM

NIH published a report on the experiences of LGBT people in science and related fields (STEM), in which various studies have shown higher levels of harassment and fewer career opportunities for LGBT individuals. A large portion of LGBT scientists are not fully out at work, which compounds the issue by lowering visibility. They recommend steps such as education, inclusive policies, and mentoring initiatives to make STEM fields more inclusive of LGBT employees – which could help make scientific work itself more inclusive of LGBT issues.

VA to Up Trans Care

The New York Times reported that the VA will explore how to offer gender-affirming surgery to transgender veterans, ending an exclusion from such care that is currently part of its policies. There are an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans, according to advocates, although the VA estimates only about 4,000 would seek gender-affirming care if offered. Health experts now view such care as being medically-necessary and offering many benefits to trans individuals who want it.

ACEs and Smoking

Researchers examined the link between adverse childhood events (ACEs) and using cigarettes or e-cigarettes among LGBT youth. They found that students in general were more likely to use these tobacco products the more ACEs they reported, while LGBT youth who had been exposed to ACEs had significantly-higher cigarette use in the past month compared to others. 

Supporting LGBT Refugees

Center for American Progress published a report on how to make the refugee resettlement program more LGBT inclusive. Their recommendations include collecting voluntary data so that the experiences of LGBT refugees can be better understood; allowing unmarried LGBT couples to resettle together; and invest in LGBT resettlement programs, given the unique needs and supports LGBT refugees likely face. 

“X” Marks the Spot in NY

Reuters reported that the New York state legislature has passed a bill allowing a nonbinary “X” marker on state driver’s licenses, joining several other jurisdictions in doing so – and just in time for Pride Month. “X” markers help nonbinary people by not having to pick a male or female marker, and are also sometimes used by transgender and intersex individuals. IDs, in turn, are essential for accessing services and avoid discrimination and violence during ID checks.

Neighborhood Cohesion & Sexual Risk

A study of Black sexual minority men in the South found that those who perceived lower levels of neighborhood social cohesion had higher use of sexual risk factors including alcohol use before or during sex and condomless sex with casual partners. Religious beliefs and practices also made a difference in some of these factors. The authors suggest that neighborhood factors and mobilization be considered in addressing HIV. 

Trans Folks in South Face Challenges

Elsewhere in Southern news, NBC News reported on the issues facing trans people there. Half of the violent deaths of transgender people this year have happened in the South, and advocates believe this is explained by a lack of antidiscrimination protections, anti-LGBT legislation, poverty, and more. Trans people of color have also been coming together throughout the region to support each other including with essentials such as stable housing.

Online Interactions & Youth Health

A study found that among sexual minority young adults, exposure to heterosexism online was linked to health, with heightened expectations of rejection causing health impacts when such exposures occurred. The association between online heterosexism and mental health was stronger among young adults than were in-person encounters with heterosexism, which was not the case for their older sexual minority peers. The results suggest the need for coping and confrontation strageies for young queer adults navigating virtual spaces.

Evaluating LGBT MD Curricula 

A team at Boston University studied what medical students should know about LGBT health and developed a curriculum assessment tool. Medical schools can use the tool to assess what they are getting right about LGBT health education and what they still need to improve. Such education is a recent addition in most medical schools, and curricula (including the amount of time devoted to the topic) vary widely. 

Blinken Urges Inclusion

The AP reported that the U.S. Secretary of State has urged world leaders to guarantee HIV services to the LGBT communities in their countries, as well as to other populations that face a disparate impact of the virus. Secretary Blinken argued that global HIV goals cannot be reached if the most affected populations do not have their human rights recognized and are not legally protected from discrimination. 

40 Years of the HIV Epidemic – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

HIV Epidemic Turns 40

CNN reported on reaching the 40 year mark since the first cases of HIV in the US, which was first reported as five cases of a strange illness among gay men in Los Angeles. The CDC continued to follow up that report as more cases emerged, but little was known about the deaths and it took then-President Reagan four years to acknowledge the outbreak in the ’80s. HIV/AIDS would go on to claim more than 30 milion lives worldwide, including 700,000 in the US alone. 

Stressors and Substance Use

A study found that among gender minority adolescents, there were some important factors that explained the relationship between gender-related stressors and substance use. Resilience and gender-related pride were protective whereas internalized transphobia was a major risk factor. Family functioning and social support were also protective in some cases with respect to alcohol use. The study followed 30 teens for two years. 

Queer HPV Program Studied

Researchers studied an HPV vaccination program for queer men in Canada, and found that initiating vaccination was associated with getting tested for HIV or STIs, or having visited an HIV provider in the last six months. The program was more successful among men aged 26 or younger, who qualified for free vaccination, than among queer men 27 and up, among whom having private insurance made individuals twice as likely to get vaccinated. 

Trans and Nonbinary Pregnancy Experiences

Today reported on what it is like to experience pregnancy as a transgender man or nonbinary person, including the stereotypes, discrimination, and lack of culturally competent and inclusive care that one can encounter. It can be especially challenging given the number of providers an individual may have to see over the course of pregnancy and postpartum care, which often involved educating those providers and the stress that comes with that, advocates said. This situation has caused many trans and nonbinary parents to opt for the privacy of home births. 

Conversion Efforts Have Mental Health Consequences

A study in Korea found that sexual minorities who had experienced efforts to change their sexual orientation were 1.44 times more likely to have contemplated suicide than were sexual minorities who had not experienced such treatment, and were 2.35 times more likely to have actually attempted suicide. The results, which show similar harms from attempts to change one’s sexual orientation as have U.S. studies, demonstrate the need for such practices to be banned, researchers said.

Dr. Levine Defends Youth

NBC News reported on the work being done by Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, to raise awareness on the needs of transgender youth. Dr. Levine has called out recent policies seeking to discriminate against transgender youth in sports, healthcare access, and more, and could use her growing portfolio of mental heatlh policy oversight to address the needs of youth whom she says need to be supported rather than targeted. 

Be Proud and Be Counted – #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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: or where ever you podcast.

Be Proud and Be Counted

CenterLink marked the start of Pride Month by reaffirming our commitment to supporting LGBTQ centers as they address social, cultural, and health needs in their communities. That commitment is why we are passionate about the All of Us Research Program, which wants health data to reflect the diversity of America by enrolling one million people. Show your pride and make sure the LGBTQ community is included in health research! Learn more and #JoinAllofUs at

Politics, Pandemic Hurting Mental Health

The Trevor Project published its annual study of LGBT youth mental health, which found that 94% of youth said that the recent political climate has negatively impacted their mental health, and 70% said that their mental health has been poor most or all of the time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Black LGBT youth reported the highest levels of racial discrimination in the past year, with two-thirds having experienced such discrimination.

Internet Holds Opportunity and Risks

Relatedly, Psychiatric Times published a special report on the challenges and opportunities that the internet poses for LGBT youths’ mental health. While there are a growing number of online mental health resources for LGBT youth, online bullying is also a major problem, and the internet is also a source of false information and referrals for so-called “conversion” efforts that have been condemned by major health organizations. The report includes online resources and communication tips for professionals. 

HIV Infections Drop among Young MSM

The CDC published new data on HIV rates, which showed an 8% decline in new HIV infections between 2015 and 2019. Queer men aged 13-24 saw a major 33% drop in new infections, and while such a drop was seen among all racial and ethnic groups, Black and Latinx sexual minority men still faced major disparities. The southern US accounted for half of new infections in 2019. 

Cancer Efforts Leave Some Behind

Forbes reported on how breast cancer awareness efforts have fallen short on reaching transgender and nonbinary people, many of whom are at fairly high risk depending on what type of gender-affirming care they have received. Awareness campaigns typically use the traditionally feminine color of pink and a fairly narrow image of who is at risk and should get screened, leaving many trans people to feel left out, stigmatized, or just unaware of whether or not they should ask a provider about their risk.

Health Centers to Study COVID Experiences

The LA Center announced that it and four other LGBT-focused health centers will conduct a major study on the healthcare experiences of LGBT individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The centers will pool their data, which is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) measures – something that was lacking from virtually all federal and state surveillance systems related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. 

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