Anti-LGBT Bias & Racism Are Bad for 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: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Anti-LGBT Bias & Racism Are Bad for Health

A new study found that in states with higher indicators of structural racism and anti-LGBT policies, Black sexual minority men were more likely to drink heavily, experience anxiety, and see themselves as a burden to others. Queer Black men were also less likely to get tested for HIV in states with more anti-LGBT policies. The results demonstrate how policies and structural biases can directly impact health, and also show the importance of intersectionality for LGBT people of color.

Celebrating International Asexuality Day

ABC 10 marked the first-ever International Asexuality Day, which tool place this month to bring awareness to asexuality and other related identifies such as demisexual. Advocates say that asexual individuals are disproportionately young, meaning that (like nonbinary and queer folks) the population of people who identify as asexual will likely grow over the coming years. Asexual folks have reported higher levels of discrimination and mental health issues compared to other LGBT+ individuals, according to several studies.

New Clinic Focuses on Sex Workers 

Gay City News reported on a free health clinic launched by Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and transgender activist Cecilia Gentili, that will provide holistic care to sex workers in New York. The goal of the program, which is free and is currently funded through June, is to connect members of this broad population – who often encounter stigma and other barriers in accessing care, and who face disparities in many health conditions – to a variety of health services. 

LGBT Care Options Grow

Nearby, Out in Jersey reported on the growing number of LGBT-focused health programs in the state, which have begun to fill the gaps that LGBT folks often find in encountering inclusive and competent care. Many of the programs are offshoots of larger health systems serving the general population. Common services include gender-affirming care, HIV and STI testing and treatment, and mental health services, all areas of care that can be especially difficult to navigate when providers do not have sufficient LGBT-related training. 

Trans Youth Transitioning Care 

A study explored how transgender youth moved from pediatric to adult care, and found that many barriers existed with respect to issues such as insurance problems and patients not feeling ready. Study participants identified ways to improve such transitions, including by having referrals from trusted sources and building patient independence over time. The authors also called for more collaboration between providers and families as such transitions of care occur. 

Policy Could Boost Fertility Options

WBEZ reported on legislation in Illinois that would require insurers to cover fertility treatment for anyone who was eligible, rather than limiting such coverage to different-sex couples, as is currently the case. The bill could make a big difference in the lives of prospective LGBT parents, who often have little to no benefits through their insurance – thus leaving them to foot enormous costs in seeking to have children. 

School Support Lags for Trans Youth of Color – #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: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

School Supports Lacking for Trans Youth of Color

Researchers found high levels of mental health issues and victimization among Black and Latinx transgender youth, surpassing those found among cisgender youth of color. They also found that Black and Latinx trans youth had lower levels of school connectedness than did their White trans peers, which is concerning given that this often serves as a protective factor for youth.

LGBT Youth Exposure to Suicidality

Relatedly, a new study found that LGBT youth were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to have known someone who attempted or died by suicide. Gender minority youth who were assigned female at birth had the highest rate of suicidality exposure, with about 2 in 3 reporting that they had personally known someone affected by this issue. The study’s authors say that the results suggest building resilience among LGBT youth should be a priority. If a youth you know needs support, check out Trevor Project

Continuing Health Services during COVID-19

The Fenway Institute published a brief on how to continue to support the health needs of LGBT folks during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discuss how telehealth (including through investments made with government pandemic funds) has made care accessible to many, but that it is still critical for in-person care to be offered for those who cannot get services virtually. They also note the need for expanded sexual health counseling as advising simply social isolation is unrealistic.

Marking Trans Day of Visibility

UNAIDS marked Transgender Day of Visibility with a video encouraging adults to support youth in exploring and expressing their gender. They discussed how discrimination against transgender and other gender minority individuals puts them at risk for things like discrimination and homelessness – and thus health conditions such as HIV. 

A Presidential First

Meanwhile, GLMA recognized the occasion in the US by noting several positives – such as the first-ever presidential proclamation to mark Transgender Day of Visibility – but also challenges faced by trans folks, including a recent spike in bills eliminating access to care or athletic opportunities for trans youth. 

Utah Center’s Kits Push Prevention

CenterLink highlighted the work being done at the Utah Pride Center to address suicide prevention, including through its resource distribution program that sends boxes of educational materials to businesses and organizations. One challenge has been getting information out during COVID-19, when much of the outreach has had to be virtual but when physical materials are still needed as spaces reopen. 

Tele Trans Care Shows Promise, #LGBTWellness Roundup, Week of March 29, 2019

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: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Tele Trans Care Shows Promise

A study examined how gender minority youth felt about telemedicine, which has expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to access gender-affirming care. They found that almost nine in 10 (88%) were willing to use telemedicine in the future, though most prefered in-person care for their first visit – suggesting a potential model of care for the future. 

HIV App Gets Five Stars

Elsewhere in health technology news, researchers found that young sexual minority men responded well to an app designed to help them access HIV-related resources, according to a small pilot study. The app provided users with tailored recommendations on HIV testing and accessing PrEP, and also helped users locate services. 

Financial, Logistics Challenges for Centers

Forbes reported on the challenges facing LGBT community and health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial struggles as some have faced more than 50% falling revenue, as well as increased needs among the LGBT population. They have also had to work towards making services available from home, including innovations like online groups and at-home self-test kits for HIV and STIs. 

Trans Youth and Heart Health

Researchers found that youth with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria are more likely to have a medical diagnosis related to cardiovascular or metabolic health. For example, youth with gender dysphoria (which includes transgender and questioning youth) were 1.8 times more likley as others to have abnormal cholestoral levels, and transgender males were 1.5 times more likely than others to be overweight or obese. 

Teen Activists Take the Lead

NBC News reported on youth activists who are leading the fight against bills seeking to limit transgender rights across the country. For example, one eleventh grade student in South Carolina is fighting that state legislature’s attempt to ban transgender studyn athletes from participating in sports. The activism surge comes as lawmakers have shifted in recent years from general anti-transgender legislation to bills that target youth in ways that they say protect minors but that advocates say cause harm.

Tracking Athletic Bills

Relatedly, Movement Advancement Project published a map that is tracking states that ban transgender student athletes from participating in sports in alignment with their gender identity. Currently, five states have such bans, although the first state to issue such a measure – Idaho – currently has its ban held up while a court reviews its legality. Check out CenterLink’s ActionLink program to get involved in policy issues at the local level.

Trans Students Face Insomnia – #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: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Trans Students Face Insomnia, Depression
A new study found that transgender college students in the U.S. and Canada were more likely than their cisgender peers to have insomnia as well as daytime sleepiness. The study also found that trans students were about twice as likely as cisgender students to report depression or anxiety, and about four times as likely to report having attempted suicide.

Queer Men with HIV at HPV Risk
Researchers in Australia found that among gay and bisexual men, those who were living with HIV or who engaged in receptive anal intercourse were more likely to contract high-risk HPV. The results suggest that these men in particular (in addition to queer men in general, who are at higher risk than their heterosexual counterparts) should be considered for HPV vaccination efforts.

GSAs Struggle During COVID
NBC news reported on how school closures and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen drops in GSA registrations and participation, especially from new students, as groups have had to move online. For many, the school GSA is the only place they feel safe and supported – and many report needing that support now more than ever.  

Implementation Science and Disparities
Researchers explored how implementation science – or the study of how evidence-based practices are actually implemented– can help address LGBT mental health disparities. They note that research often fails to consider the effectiveness of interventions among LGBT folks, and many providers do not collect LGBT identity data – making it more important to thoughtfully implement practices to serve LGBT people.

UK’s LGBT Community Struggles in Pandemic
BMJ explored research on how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated LGBT inequities in the UK. For example, LGBT mental health disparities already existed before the pandemic, and now – with lockdowns limiting social support – one study found that self-harm among gender diverse people had increased 7% during the pandemic compared to a 2% increase among cisgender folks.

Historic Ruling Hits Japan
The Japan Times reported on a Japanese court ruling that the failure of the government to offer any recognition of same-sex relationships was unconstitutional (even though the constitution describes marriage as between “husband and wife”). Some municipalities do offer partnership certificates that bestow limited protections, like hospital visitation rights. The ruling does not immediately change the law, but advocates say it was a big step.

Reproductive Health Barriers for Trans Folks – #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: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Reproductive Health Barrier for Trans Folks A new study found that 36% of transgender and gender expansive people who became pregnant considered terminating the pregnancy without clinical supervision, and 19% actually attempted to do so. Rationale for not using the medical system included privacy and mistreatment concerns, as well as factors such as cost, legality, and availability, underscoring the complexity of the issue of trans and nonbinary people. 

Deep Dive into All of Us Research Program
We at CenterLink published a special edition of our weekly podcast in which we sat down with Justin Hentges of the All of Us research program. Along with special guests from LGBT centers across the country, we discussed how the NIH is taking steps to engage the LGBT community in their data collection efforts, so that future health care breakthroughs can truly include everyone. Check out this long-form interview here or by searching for the LGBT Wellness Roundup wherever you listen. 

Three in Four Had Mental Health Impact
US News reported on a new study finding that three-fourths of LGBT people say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, with about half saying that the impact was major. In contrast, half of non-LGBT folks reported a mental health impact with only one-fourth saying it was major. LGBT people were also more likely to have lost work due to the pandemic, and to see getting vaccinated as a social responsibility.   

Gender-affirming Care Has HIV Benefit
POZ reported on new data showing that transgender folks living with HIV who received gender-affirming surgery through New York Medicaid saw their HIV viral loads drop after receiving the surgery. Access to this critical form of care helped to reduce the disparities typically found between trans folks living with HIV and their cisgender counterparts, who tend to fare better, highlighting yet another health benefit of gender-affirming care. 

Surgery Delays Harm Community
Relatedly, ABC News reported on delays in accessing gender-affirming surgery that have faced transgender people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many reported having already waited for months or years to schedule gender-affirming surgery, only to see appointments canceled as hospitals marked these procedures as non-essential. Advocates note the psychological impact of having such important procedures delayed months or years more. 

Queer Women with Children
The Los Angeles Blade reported on new research finding that about one in four queer women have children, with bisexual women partnered with men being the most likely to be parents. Bisexual women parents also reported higher levels of distress and less connection to the LGBT community than did lesbian women with children. 

Some Skeptical of COVID-19 Vaccine – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Some Skeptical of COVID-19 Vaccine

The New York Times reported on hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among LGBT folks, particularly those of color. They cite a recent study which found that among LGBT individuals, medical mistrust and concern around vaccine stigma were both associated with hesitancy towards taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it was available. That same study found that within the LGBT community, Black individuals were less likely to be willing to take the vaccine than were their White peers. 

Groups Pan Anti-LGBT Bills

HRC published a letter from 1000 child welfare organizations across the country, together representing 7 million professionals, speaking out against a slew of anti-LGBT youth legislation brewing at the state level. So far this year, 65 bills have been introduced targeting the rights of transgender youth in particular, including to prevent them from accessing gender-affirming care or educational opportunities (such as participation in school sports). 

Equality Updates Across the US

Relatedly, Movement Advancement Project published an update to its equality maps, which included positive changes like Virginia and Hawai’i making it easier for people to change their gender marker on state IDs, and examples of municipalities taking action at the local level to ban discrimination or end the practice of conversion therapy. Check out our ActionLink program to learn how to advance positive change in your area.

Intersectional Disparities in Homelessness

True Colors United released their annual report on homelessness, which among other things found that LGBT youth faced 120% higher risk of experiencing homelessness compared to their non-LGBT peers. Black LGBT folks were the highest-risk group, with nearly one in four young Black LGBT men reporting homelessness within the past year (not including those who expressed housing instability, such as having to “couch surf”). 

Study Looks at Bi Women

NBC News reported on research finding that bisexual women who were in a relationship with heterosexual men were less likely than other bisexual women (e.g., those in a relationship with women or bisexual men) to be “out.” The study also found that bisexual women in relationships with heterosexual men tended to face less discrimination than did bi women in relationships with other types of partners. 

Group Speaks Out against Conversion Therapy

The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution opposing efforts to change someone’s gender identity (such as what is often known as “conversion therapy”), with their Council of Representatives finding that such efforts caused harm and interfered with natural and healthy understandings of one’s own gender. They also updated a similar policy against trying to change a patient’s sexual orientation, which had been previously iterated in 1997 and 2009. 

House Passes Landmark Bill – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

House Passes Landmark Bill

The Washington Blade reported on the U.S. House passing the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That would mean protections from discrimination in places like healthcare settings and employment. Advocates noted that, despite progress including the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, 29 states still do not have LGBT nondiscrimination laws on the books.

Trans-inclusive Care in Family Planning Clinics

Researchers explored the integration of gender-affirming care at family planning clinics. They found that many clinics who have done so were motivated by requests from existing patients, community members, and even their own staff. They also found that about 10% of nationally networked clinics have begun to offer gender-affirming care, while more than double (21%) of independent clinics are doing so. 

New Treatment Could Address LGBT Meth Epidemic

NBC News reported on a new treatment to help individuals stop methamphetamine use – an issue that is four times more prevalent among gay men than it is among their heterosexual peers. The treatment, which was recently studied, involves a daily pill as well as an injection every three weeks, and is meant to reduce cravings. No similar treatment currently exists on the market.  

Sexual Orientation Data among Veterans

Researchers found that within the Veterans Health Association over the course of 20 years, most documentations of a patient being a sexual minority (58.7%) came from a mental health provider, while only 9.6% came from primary care providers, revealing a big gap that could be narrowed. They also found that documentations of sexual minority status increased about sevenfold between 2000 and 2018. 

Queer Foster Care History

The New Yorker reported on untold stories of how private child welfare offices and even some government agencies began to “quietly place” gay foster children with gay foster parents in the 1970s, despite significant stigma and obstacles facing both queer prospective parents and youth. In 1982, New York became the first state to have a nondiscrimination rule for sexual minority adults looking to adopt. 

LGBT Orgs Funded for COVID Outreach

The Bay Area Reporter shared examples of LGBT community centers being funded to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They plan to conduct outreach to the LGBT community to answer questions about vaccination, connect folks to testing and resources, and more. Find resources from your local LGBT center using CenterLink’s interactive directory

Modelling HIV Prevention During the Pandemic – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

Modelling HIV Prevention During the Pandemic

A study examined how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact HIV rates among queer men in the U.S. Using modelling of Baltimore as an example, they found that if the number of sexual partners was reduced by 25% for six months due to shutdowns – and there was no dip in HIV prevention services – new HIV infections could be reduced by an average of 12.2%. On the other hand, if the number of partners remained the same and service access dipped, there would be an average 10.5% increase in infections over a one-year period. The results show the importance of maintaining service delivery, including as sexual activity returns to pre-pandemic norms. 

Alcohol Use among Queer Women

Researchers explored alcohol use among sexual minority women, who tend to experience alcohol use disorder at about twice the rate of their heterosexual peers. They found that alcohol use as well as levels of social support and discrimination were all associated with symtoms of depression. Interestingly, though, they did not find that discrimination was associated with alcohol use. The results are part of the PRIDE Study

Equality Act Returns to Congress

Gay City News reported that the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBT individuals in a number of areas, has been reintroduced in Congress. The bill has previously passed the House but has not made progress in the Senate. The law would expand on the Supreme Court ruling that included LGBT folks in employment nondiscrimination law, which is slowly spreading to other areas of the law as cases apply the Supreme Court’s reasoning. 

Trans Masculine Folks and PrEP

Researchers examined PrEP use among trans masculine individuals who have sex with men, and found that 84% had heard of PrEP and 67% were interested. However, only 28% were on PrEP and only two-thirds of those on PrEP used it consistently, indicating room for increased usage among this population. 

Chosen Families Matter in Leave Laws

Center for American Progress explored why it is important for LGBT individuals that families of choice be considered in paid family and medical leave policies. Fewer than half of LGBT Americans say they would rely on their families of origin if they were sick, and fewer than one-third would rely on a spouse; rather, many rely on friends and partners who are often not legally recognized. Coverage for LGBT people is especially important given the health and socioeconomic disparities the community faces. 

Sexuality, Race, and Incarceration – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

In recognition of Black History Month, we’re continuing to cover stories relevant to Black LGBT communities, as well as other important LGBT health news and research.

Unpacking Sexuality, Racism, and Incarceration 

A new study found that discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and HIV status all contribute to the disparities that Black sexual minority young men face in terms of being arrested and facing incarceration. Experiencing racism was the strongest predictor of criminal justice involvement, but having experienced sexual orientation and HIV-based discrimination also made Black young men more likely to be involved in the system. 

Film Coming on Racial Justice, LGBT Leader

Gay City News reported on a new biopic coming to Netflix that will explore the life of Bayard Rustin, who was an ally of Martin Luther King, Jr., and also an early leader of the LGBT rights movement. The announcement, which appropriately comes during Black History Month, says the film will be produced by the Obama family’s production company and will feature several LGBT filmmakers working behind the scenes.

LGBT Troops Face Health Challenges

Researchers found that sexual minority women in the armed forces were more likely to engage in problematic alcohol use and smoking than their heterosexual peers, while sexual minority men were at higher risk for suicide than their straight counterparts. Meanwhile, transgender servicemembers were more likely than their cisgender peers to experience anxiety, PTSD, depression, and suicidality. 

Trans Healthcare Workers Celebrate Nomination

Spectrum News 1 reported on how transgender healthcare workers are responding to the historic nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary of health, which would make her the first Senate-confirmed transgender public servant in history. Those interviewed said they hope that Dr. Levine’s role will both inspire transgender youth to enter the health profession, as well as increase acceptance of transgender folks who work in healthcare (and sometimes face mistreatment from educators, colleagues, and patients). 

Self-testing for HIV Proves Popular

Researchers in the UK found that an HIV self-testing program was popular among transgender individuals, with nearly all saying that it was easy to use and provided a good overall experience. Over a two year period, those who were in the self-testing study reported taking more than three times the number of HIV tests as those who continued going in for regular, in-person testing. The study notes, however, that recruitment and retention of trans women (compared to trans men) was low. 

Dial in Some Love

Dazed reported on a hotine being offered by a digital provider of LGBT health services that provides messages of hope and inspiration during a time when many in the community feel isolated. LBGT individuals can call 1-888-FOLX-FAM to listen to messages of support from people like activists, authors, and drag performers. 

LGBT Folks Hesitant on Vaccine – #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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Subscribe to our weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

LGBT Folks Concerned about Vaccine

Out Boulder County published what could be the first study in the U.S. on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among LGBT people. LGBT folks there were nearly twice as likely as non-LGBT folks to express reluctance to take the vaccine, with 17% expressing concern compared to 9% of their non-LGBT peers. Cisgender LGBT folks assigned female at birth were most likely to express reluctance. Find more LGBT centers and learn how they are tackling the pandemic here.

Building Trust in the Community

Meanwhile, the American Independent reported that advocates say the federal government must build trust with LGBT folks regarding the vaccine. This could include increasing data collection so LGBT people are seen and heard, ensuring nondiscrimination in those promoting and providing the vaccine, and conducting targeted outreach to the community.

LGBT Folks Face Elevated Risks

The CDC published findings that LGBT individuals have higher prevalence of several health conditions that are associated with negative COVID-19 outcomes, including among racial and ethnic minorities. These include asthma, cancer, heart disease, and smoking. Researchers say that more data on LGBT folks and COVID-19 could help us to better understand disparities.

Med Students Face Mistreatment, Burnout

Researchers found that LGB medical students faced higher levels of various forms of mistreatment than did their heterosexual peers (including with respect to gender and race or ethnicity), and also faced higher rates of burnout. Those facing mistreatment specifically based on their sexual orientation had eight times higher probability of burnout than did heterosexual peers.

We Heart Hearts

HRC launched a new My Heart, My Pride campaign to coincide with American Heart Month and raise awareness about heart health among LGBT communities. The American Heart Association, which has recently found LGBT people to experience worse cardiovascular health than the rest of the population, is working in coordination and promoting healthy behaviors.

Drinking Rates Rise

NBC News reported on research suggesting that LGBT folks have been consuming more alcohol than usual during the pandemic, and that their increases have surpassed those of the general population (which has also seen a rise). Experts point to a higher sense of isolation among LGBT individuals, which has increased as LGBT social spaces (and social spaces in general) have shuttered.

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