This Week in #LGBTWellness News: Exploring Breast Cancer In Transgender Communities

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.

Trans RibbonExploring Breast Cancer in Trans* Communities

The Wisconsin State Journal explored the story of a transgender man who, after undergoing gender-affirming medical care including removal of his breasts, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to navigate an illness normally associated with women. Meanwhile, Allure explored reasons why transgender and gender-nonconforming people may be at elevated risk for breast cancer.

Queer and #HereToStay

A new study examined the intersectional identities of 31 undocuqueer (queer and undocumented) people from around the country. Researchers found that because these individuals were not “easily located within normalized acceptable identities and categories,” they created their own spaces and self-definitions. Some described how the DREAMer identity led them to activism.

CDC Makes HIV History

Plus Magazine reported that the CDC has announced that people living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load are not at risk of transmitting HIV to others, confirming what many activists and researchers have long been saying. Many hailed the announcement as confirmation that the “treatment as prevention” strategy is reducing the impact of the HIV epidemic.

Cancer Diagnoses and Disparities in England

Researchers studied two national surveys in England to see if LGB people have different rates of site-specific cancer diagnoses compared to heterosexual individuals. The findings revealed several disparities in diagnoses, such as anal and penile cancer in queer men and oropharyngeal cancer in women. Many of the disparately-diagnosed cancers were associated with HIV or HPV.

Trans Youth at Risk for Tobacco, Alcohol Use

A study of transgender youth in California found that, even when adjusting for other risk factors, transgender youth were 45% more likely to have used alcohol, 73% more likely to have used marijuana, and 96% more likely to have used cigarettes. The study also looked at themes like victimization and depressive symptoms among the population.

Delivering PrEP to Latinx Communities

A study explored how to improve access to PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) based on interviews with queer Latino men in San Antonio, Texas. Key factors included reducing stigmatization, improving access to knowledgeable providers, and implementing patient-centered interventions to facilitate adherence. Peer educators were suggested as a means of reducing barriers.

Insurer Sued for Trans Health Ban

Teen Vogue reported that a transgender teen in Washington state is suing the health insurance she gets through her mother’s job, PeaceHealth, for discrimination. The insurer has a blanket ban on providing any transgender-related care, which the ACLU (which is representing the teen) says is not a real medical category and is only being used to discriminate against transgender people.

A Call to Counter Bullying Rainbow bullying

Participants from a national symposium on LGBTQ bullying published a paper that issued recommendations to pediatricians, including calling for pediatricians to create more open and inclusive healthcare settings and to counter the negative health effects of bullying with care. The authors say pediatricians could be key in preventing bullying from leading to distress and even suicide.

What Trans Employees Need

Researchers studied the needs of transgender people in the workplace in an article published in the Harvard Business Review, and found that one of the most important things was to have management create a climate of affirmation and support when employees were transitioning. They also found that acceptance by co-workers was key to the wellbeing of transgender employees.

Gay Dads United on Facebook

Vice reported on a Facebook group seeking to connect experienced and prospective gay dads from around the country to share questions and advice. Dads interviewed said that they can face discrimination from non-LGBT people as well as from other queer folks who do not understand their decision to be parents, and that the group (now with 5,000 members) provides them with an affirming community.

LGBT Training Shows Promising Results

A study evaluating a sexual and gender minority training that was conducted in PEPFAR offices in 38 countries found that the one-day training was successful in decreasing negative attitudes towards LGBT people. PEPFAR (which works on HIV issues abroad) had identified such attitudes as a barrier to success, and sought to reduce them with cultural competency training.

Opening SlideNew Presentations on Tobacco and Cancer

LGBT HealthLink published two new presentations: one on colorectal cancer among LGBT individuals, and the other on developing community-clinical linkages to aid in tobacco cessation efforts. Both publications are available at the link above after creating a free account.


#LGBTWellness this week: Is Your Company Helping?

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.


When Companies Help, And When They Hurt

The Pride reported on new research investigating what corporations are doing to help and hinder the advancement of the LGBT community. In addition to looking at workplace LGBT equity issues, they also looked at intersectional issues, like whether the company is involved in tobacco products (whichdisproportionately harm LGBT folks) and their policies around climate change.

What America Thinks about Trans Fertility

A study of a U.S. population sample found that 76.2% of people agreed that “doctors should be able to help transgender people have biological children,” with 60.1% also believing doctors should aid transgender men in carrying pregnancies. People who reported not knowing a gay person, or only knowing a gay person without children, were less likely to be supportive.

Landmark Study of Suicidality and Trans Youth

A representative study of Californian youth – the first of its kind in the U.S. – found that transgender youth reported suicidal ideation in the past year at nearly twice the rate of their peers, with one-third of students reporting such feelings. After adjusting for other factors, depressive symptoms and victimization were both linked to even higher odds of suicidality.

ICYMI: Happy Bi Awareness Week! BiBiBi

Movement Advancement Project celebrated Bisexual Awareness Week by launching a new resource on bisexual older adults (did you know 1% of people 65 and older identify as bisexual?) and another on bisexual transgender people (yes, transgender folks have sexual orientations, too!). They also shared a Spanish-language infographic on the bisexual community.

Exploring HPV Among Queer Men

Two new studies out of Italy explored HPV among men who have sex with men. A study of oral infections found that among queer men living with HIV, age at first sexual experience and quantity of receptive oral sex partners were determinants of HPV infection. Another study examined multisite infections and found that nearly half of queer men were HPV positive at one or more sites.

NIH ReportCDC Explores Tobacco Disparities

The CDC released a report on “a socioecological approach to addressing tobacco-related health disparities,” which explores why populations such as LGBT communities, ethnic and racial minority groups, and people of low socioeconomic status see disparities in tobacco use. It also discusses how tobacco marketing targets these groups, and how policies can help undue disparities.


Is The Air Around Us Making Us Sick?

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.

PollutionAre Air Pollutants Adding to Disparities?

A study of national air pollution and census data found that same-sex partners faced 12.3% higher cancer risks and 23.8% higher respiratory risks from hazardous air pollutants than did opposite-sex partners. Researchers warn that these environmental factors could compound other elevated risk factors in the LGBT community, such as higher likelihood of smoking.

“Gaydar” Program Proves Controversial

NBC News reported on a controversial study that tested a computer program’s ability to scan faces and detect if an individual is gay, a feat the program was able to pull off with 81% of gay men and 74% of lesbian women. Some LGBT advocates expressed concern about reducing sexual orientation to an algorithm, especially one that could be used to target sexual minorities.

New Guide to Suicide Prevention Launched Drowning

Movement Advancement Project published a new guide on suicide and the LGBT community, including facts on what we know (and don’t know) about suicidality among LGBT people, as well as sources of resiliency that queer people draw on. The publication also includes guidelines for how to discuss suicide in a way that they say can help advance LGBT health and wellbeing.

Untying Surgery and Gender Marker Changes

JAMA Surgery published an article explaining why having surgery should not be the standard by which to allow transgender individuals to change their legal gender marker between “male” and “female.” They argue that there are many types of clinically-appropriate care and that ultimately transgender individuals should have their right to self-determination honored.

Primary Care Providers and PrEP

Researchers found that in focus groups of queer men, many theoretically preferred the option of getting information on PrEP – the HIV prevention treatment – from their primary care provider. However, the majority cited discomfort actually having such a conversation with their current PCP, underscoring the importance of provider relationships in facilitating HIV prevention.

Trans flow

Making Measures Matter for Trans Folks, Too

Health Affairs published an article on how healthcare quality measures can be adjusted to be inclusive of transgender individuals and help ensure that they receive quality care. The authors say that measures are currently tied to a patient’s sex, which does not match well to the needs of trans patients; this leads to a lost opportunity to educate providers and collect good data.


Trans Men Prefer To Do It Themselves

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.

Trans pap

How Trans Men Prefer Screening for Cancer

Researchers found that transgender men greatly prefer self-sampling to screen themselves for cervical cancer versus having a provider administer a Pap smear screening, with 57.1% voicing this preference compared to just 20.9% who preferred having a Pap smear. Participants who reported discrimination were more than three times more likely to prefer the self-testing method.

Role of Alcohol in Queer Culture

A Scottish study found that LGBT people find drinking heavily to be a major part of the queer scene, and that things like one’s choice of drink were read as an important statement on one’s identity. While focus group participants rejected many of these stereotypes in their discussions, they nonetheless discussed their pervasiveness, suggesting a dangerously powerful relationship between queer culture and drinking.

Prostate Cancer Study Funded

Minnesota Daily reported that a study on prostate cancer survivorship in the queer community has been funded with a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Cancer survivorship in among LGBT folks is a generally under-studied issue, and survivors of prostate cancer often face sexual health challenges that may vary for gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Queer Men Still Flocking to Apps Apps

A study found that 55.7% of men who have sex with men frequently used dating apps and websites like Grindr (the most popular), Jack’d, and Scruff. Two-thirds of these regular users had had only casual sex partners in the last twelve months, making them a high priority population for HIV prevention messages and services.

Experiencing Bias as a Healthcare Profession

JAMA Internal Medicine published an op-ed on how racial bias impacts healthcare professionals, who often face microaggressions from their colleagues and pressure to stay silent. The author points out that patients also become the target of various forms of bias, and calls for targeted interventions to improve the climate of healthcare settings and better advance equity.

Australian flagAustralian Vote Yields Need for Support

Gay Star News reported that Australia’s newly-announced, non-binding referendum on whether it should enact marriage equality has led to stress and anxiety among LGBT youth, who feel stigmatized and worried about the outcome. Politicians had called for a “postal vote” to see how the public is feeling before they decide whether to support same-sex marriage in the legislature.


Check Out That Butt… Literally!

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.

Self and Partner Anal Exams Prove Promising ProtectButts

A Texas study looked at whether queer men could successfully self-examine or examine a partner for anal abnormalities, including those that could be cancerous. The patients were largely successful in detecting the same abnormalities that the doctor could. Only a small percentage reported that the testing was painful, and 93% said they would do such a test again.

New Info on Trans Folks and Mammograms

A new study of CDC data found that transgender men and women reported having had a mammography screening within the past year at about the same rate as did cisgender women, with transgender men more likely to have done so than transgender women. Researchers caution that the study may overestimate adherence and note the unclear (and perhaps elevated) risk that transgender individuals face of developing breast cancer.

Low HIV Testing Rates for Trans Women

A CDC study found that only 37.5% of transgender women and 36.6% of transgender men reported having ever been tested for HIV, a rate on par with cisgender heterosexual individuals despite the much higher risk that transgender people face. Black transgender men and women reported being tested at about double the rate of white transgender peers, perhaps reflective of higher HIV risk in communities of color.


Queer Millennials Reflect on Mental Healthcare

Bustle explored problems that LGBT millennials encounter in seeking mental healthcare, including therapists who think that queer identity is “just a phase.” Others said that providers fixated on coming out and internalized homophobia without seeing their LGBT identities as intersecting with other parts of their identity and mental health needs.

What Your Mayor Can Do for You

The Center for American Progress released a report on how municipal executives, such as mayors, can take actions to improve the health, safety, and lives of LGBT individuals. They outline ideas such as banning discriminatory healthcare policies, mandating better collection of data, and ensuring equal access to social services through policies and competency trainings.

New E-Cig Tool Launched

The CDC launched a website aimed at dispelling the myths regarding e-cigarettes and warning consumers about potential dangers, including chemicals that they contain and the fact that they have not been proven to help fight cigarette addiction. The resource could be valuable for LGBT health advocates, since findings show LGBT youth use e-cigarettes at a higher rate than others.


Secrets To Good LGBTQ Health

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.

RainbowTIPSThe #1 Way to Improve Queer Health

A Huffington Post op-ed argued that the best way to improve queer health is targeting the community’s disproportionately high smoking rate, which “has barely moved” even as use among other groups has dropped. The author highlights resources published by LGBT HealthLink, such as best practices for reducing LGBT smoking and state tobacco control report cards.

Mixed Results in Queer Women’s Exercise

Researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women conducted more aerobic exercise than their heterosexual female counterparts, according to data on nurses nationwide. However, they also spent more time sedentarily, such as sitting at work or at home. The results mean queer women have both healthier and riskier behaviors when it comes to maintaining good overall health.

Competent Care? There’s an App for That

NBC News reported that a group of med students are launching an app that will help LGBT folks find local healthcare providers who have been recognized as LGBT competent. Long-term plans for the app include rolling it out to geographically cover as much ground as possible, and to let users review their experiences to help provide real examples of care to other would-be patients.

Letters Expose HIV Status of Thousands FYEO

Intersex “Care” Has Gotten a Lot Wrong

A recent statement from three former surgeons general and detailed report from interACT and Human Rights Watch proven groundbreaking support for rejecting unproven genital surgeries on children too young to consent. They say such irreversible surgery injures rather than aids intersex youth, who should have the right to develop without surgical intervention until if and when they so choose.

Upcoming Webinars to Address Cancer & Tobacco 

LGBT HealthLink announced two virtual convenings of public health professionals on oft-overlooked topics in the LGBT community: tobacco cessation programs and colorectal cancer interventions. The online events, to take place in September, aim to provide best practices and foster dialogue on services that research shows are disproportionately needed by the community.


Healthcare News For Our Transgender Veterans

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.

Flag w trans

Transgender Veterans Are Being Left Behind

A new study found that many transgender veterans have problems accessing basic care that all veterans need. While most who used the VA system were satisfied with it, nearly half of transgender veterans had never gone to the VA. Additionally, 46% of transgender veterans had put off seeking medical care in the past year (at the VA or otherwise), possibly due to stigma.

Another Smoking Disparity Exposed

Meanwhile, another study found that rural-residing transgender veterans were 39% more likely to be addicted to tobacco compared to transgender veterans who live in cities, which is consistent with past studies finding that rural LGBT people may smoke even more than urban LGBT people. The study also found that rural transgender veterans were more likely to have PTSD.

Lesbian HealthcareBetter Care for Lesbians, Explained

Reuters reported on the advice offered by experts at the Mayo Clinic on how physicians can improve care for middle-aged lesbian women, including by creating a more welcoming environment and aiming to reduce healthcare stigma. The authors also discussed risk disparities that lesbian women face, including higher rates of smoking, obesity, and substance use.

More Details on Queer Health Study

Slate reported on the PRIDE study, which aims to track the health of a whopping 100,000 LGBT people over several decades. Lead researchers told Slate that they hope the data will help prove to healthcare professionals – who often cite a lack of LGBT-specific research – the evidence they need to provide quality care. Enrollment is open for LGBT folks who want to participate.

How Effective are HPV Vaccine Programs? HPV

An Australian study tested different options for vaccinating young men for HPV, which can cause cancer and is especially prevalent among queer young men. The best scenario tested would include both a program for young men generally and a program specifically engaging queer young men. They also found that faster roll-outs of such programs would yield better results.

Trans People with Disabilities Speak Out

Buzzfeed published profiles of transgender and gender-nonconforming persons with disabilities, exposing the intersectional discrimination that they can face and how they understand their identities. The article also discusses the potential of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) to protect trans lives and rights.


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.