Spotlight on Policy – #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.

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

What’s the Evidence on Trans Youth Policies? 

Society for Research in Child Development published a review of the evidence on how policies impact the health of transgender youth – a timely piece given the wave of anti-transgender youth legislation making its way through state legislatures. Studies show that overall, transgender youth have higher rates of mental health problems than do their cisgender peers; however, these disparities are reduced or eliminated when students have access to gender-affirming care, receive support at home, and are able to socially transition at school and in the community. Policies that can bolster inclusion in schools include nondiscrimination policies, allowing name and gender marker changes, access to facilities and sports teams that match the students’ gender identity, and training staff to foster healthy conversation and provide support. In other words, banning trans students from accessing care, playing sports, or talking about their identities is (unsurprisingly to advocates) not the way to support youth. 

Interesting Factors Tied to Birth Outcomes

On the subject of policies impacting health, Columbia University shared new research finding that there was an association between risk for preterm births and decreased birth weights and what researchers called “structural heteropatriarchy.” They defined this by looking at whether an area had positive or negative LGB policies, good or bad reproductive health policies and funding, and relative equality or inequality on women’s socioeconomic opportunity. They found that in areas with negative policies and poor opportunity, there was higher risk for these negative birth outcomes, which can lead to lifelong health problems. Moreover, this was true regardless of whether someone felt personally affected by these issues. Researchers say this is evidence that a lack of social equality can impact health in ways that might not even be apparent to us on the individual level – and that everyone thus stands to benefit from inclusive societies. 

Nondiscrimination Rule on Deck (Again)

And in yet more policy news, WebMD reported that the Biden administration has proposed to require health insurers to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orietnation or gender identity in the benefits that they offer to patients. Such a rule had been included during the Obama administration before being removed by the subsequent administration. Some insurers have voiced concerns that the rule could prevent them from limiting coverage based on “evidence” and to limit costs, while advocates say it is necessary to prevent plans from not covering services for LGBT people that they cover for everyone else. 

Trans Woman Sues for Jail Assaults

Gay City News reported on a transgender woman who is suing the city of New York after being repeatedly assaulted in the men’s jail where she is being held. Corrections officers did not intervene to help her during the incidents, her suit claims, and while she was temporarily moved to a women’s facility, she was promptly moved back to the men’s prison because of “security concerns.” Violence against transgender people facing incarceration is sadly not uncommon, and the city and state of New York have faced scrutinity for conditions there. 

Incorporating Pleasure into Sexual Health Interventions

Plos One published a study that found fairly little research on incorporating considerations of pleasure into sexual and reproductive health interventions, despite pleasure being a major factor in sexual behaviors and decision-making. Most of the studies looked at higher risk populations, which generally includes LGBT individuals, and tended to measure condom use as an outcome for the intervention. Overall, the research suggests that including considerations of pleasure had a positive effect on higher use of condoms, which means that more interventions that take pleasure into account and measure its impact could advance sexual and reproductive health. 

Experiences of Trans Women in Brazil

Transgender Health published a study of transgender women in Rio de Janeiro, and found that prior experiences of discrimination and violence were associated with having had symptoms of depression. While not surprising, the result is disturbing – especially as a majority of participants had experienced violence and nearly all (96%) had experienced at least one instance of discrimination. Additionally, resilience seemed to not have helped with these experiences as much as one would hope. 

Major New Findings on Vaccination – #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.

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

Major Findings on Vaccination among LGBT Folks

The CDC published new findings providing the best evidence to date on COVID-19 vaccination coverage of LGBT adults. They found that gay and lesbian adults had higher rates of vaccination coverage when compared to their heterosexual peers, while transgender adults had roughly equal rates to their cisgender peers. Interestingly, gay men had higher rates of vaccination than did lesbian women, even though among the general population, women outpace men in getting vaccinated. The results are promising given that the CDC acknowledges LGBT people as being at increased risk for negative COVID-19 outcomes, but major gaps remain; for example, Black LGBT people – who likely face particularly high COVID-19 risks – were the subgroup least likely to be vaccinated. 

LGBT Youth Face High Rates of Homelessness

Trevor Project published a new study finding that 28% of LGBT youth had experienced homelessness or housing insecurity at some point in their lives. That number jumped up to 44% among Native/Indingenous LGBT youth, while Asian American / Pacific Islander LGBT youth had the lowest rate at 16%, and other subgroups fell in between. Rates were also higher amoung transgender and nonbinary youth than they were among other LGBT youth. The report also explores the challenges that LGBT youth face while experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, as well as possible solutions and resources that they need. 

New Home in Arkansas for Youth in Need

Relatedly, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on the opening of a new home for LGBT youth in that state’s River Valley region. The home is now accepting applications from LGBT youth who lack a safe place to live. The founder, who also runs a social space for LGBT youth in the region, says that housing insecurity has been the main issue youth there are confronting, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will also help youth address physical and mental health issues that can often accompany housing insecurity, especially for those who faced an unwelcoming or unsafe environment at home as a result of their LGBT identity. 

Online Support Space Recognized 

And also on the subject of safe spaces for youth, Anthem Awards announced that Q Chat Space won a silver medal in its inaugural competition as selected by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). The award recognizes Q Chat Space’s innovative creation of an online meeting place for LGBT youth to meet and chat with professional support. The need for such spaces – which can replicate and supplement the work being done by physical LGBT centers, which contribute to the project – grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when youth lost many of the “safe spaces” in schools and communities where they could typically connect. Q Chat Space is an initiative of YouthLink, Centerlink’s youth program.

Dangerous HIV Variant Discovered 

NPR reported on a more transmissible and severe variant of HIV that appears to have been concentrated in the Netherlands. The variant seems to have been around for decades and to have already peaked, but was only recently discovered. The case highlights how (just as with COVID-19) HIV can still mutate and become more dangerous over time, underscoring the importance of ongoing surveillance and study. The good news: existing HIV medications still work excellently with this variant for those who are tested and get (and stay) on treatment. 

Med Students Lose Interest in LGBT Status Over Time

LGBT Health published a study that found, concerningly, that medical students were less likely to ask their patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity for every year that they were studying. By the end of their fourth year of study, only about half of students asked patients their sexual orientation and only about a quarter asked their gender identity. Most decided over time to only ask about sexual orientation and gender identity to when the patient complaiend about sexual health – despite the wide-ranging medical issues for which risk factors and needs vary for LGBT patients, and the fact that the vast majority of LGBT patients are happy to answer these questions.

LGBT Athletes at the Olympics- #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.

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

LGBT Athletes at the Olympics

Gay City News reported that there are 35 “out” LGBT athletes participating in this year’s Winter Olympics, which is more than double the number of LGBT participants when the competition was last held four years ago. Female-identified athletes make up the majority of that number, although LGBT men almost tripled their numbers from four in 2018 to 11 this year; meanwhile, Timothy LeDuc, a US pair skater, is the only nonbinary athlete at the games. The historic LGBT representation at the Winter Games comes at a time in which several US states have moved to ban transgender student athletes from participating in sports. 

New Report on LGBT Youth Equity

The National Academies Press published a report on reducing inequities among LGBT youth, based on a workshop convened last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The proceedings covered challenges and opportunities across various sectors – child welfare, education, health systems, families, and communities – and included a focus on equity among LGBT students, of whom Black and Latinx students tend to face the greatest disparities.

Learn more about our YouthLink program, which was represented in the deliberations, here

In Florida, School’s Not “Out” 

On the subject of LGBT youth, CBS News reported that a bill is progressing in the Florida legislature that would ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as through support services offered by the schools. Proponents of the bill says that it would improve “parents’ rights,” while opponents say it will contribute to stigma and harassment facing LGBT students. Research has found that LGBT students in Florida face high levels of bullying, but that most have at least one supportive adult in their school – relationships that could be threatened by the prospective law. The bill is still making its way through the Florida senate, but the state’s governor says he supports it.

Environmental Justice and Queer Communities

American Journal of Public Health published a study exploring how the topic of environmental justice applies to LGBT communities, which face factors such as discrimination and socioeconomic inequities that are connected to elevated risk of negative environmental exposures. LGBT people tend to have higher levels and/or worse outcomes with conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer that can be in part attributed to environmental issues. Additionally, because LGBT people have underlying health inequities and unmet needs in the healthcare system, navigating the negative consequences of these environmental exposures can be more challenging. 

Want Who and What? Think Where, Why, How

LGBT Health published a study exploring how LGBT people feel about being asked their sexual orientation and gender identity by researchers. The found the most important factors for LGBT people to share this information was knowing why the questions were being asked – including, for example, to identify and address disparities – and feeling safe and supported in the environment where they were being asked. Research suggest that communicating more about the questions, as well as offering “environmental clues” that it is a safe space, could improve the quality of data we have on LGBT health by ensuring people self-identify to researchers who ask.

Gay, Bi Men Face Prostate Cancer Gaps

DocWire News reported that many medical providers who screen for and treat prostate cancer are not prepared to best serve gay and bisexual patients. The physical health problems that accompany a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment – and the mental and emotional consequences that come with them – are similar but distinct for gay and bisexual patients. Additionally, data and research on the needs of this group are lacking. The article also highlights a first-of-its-kind urology program at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago that specifically serves sexual minority men and is exploring solutions to improve care. 

Update on Transphobic State Bills – #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.

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

Update on Transphobic State Bills

MSNBC reported that a bill in Mississippi would block transgender incarcerated individuals from being able to change their name to align with their identity, and would also block transgender youth from updating their gender marker. Idaho was the last state to try to ban transgender people from acquiring name changes, but their law was stopped by a federal court; outside of the US, Hungary recently banned all name and gender marker changes for trans individuals. MSNBC also reports that seven states moved within the first week of 2022 to ban transgender atheletes from participating in school sports. 

COVID-19 Vaccination among People Living with HIV

AIDS Patient Care and STDs published a study finding that between March and May 2021, 64% of people living with HIV reported being vaccinated against COVID-19. LGBT folks living with HIV, as well as those with undetectable viral loads, were more likely than others living with HIV to have been vaccinated. Beyond that, some factors that make the general population more likely to get vaccinated, such as being older and having higher perceived risk, also held true among people living with HIV. The results signal that the overall vaccine rate in the population is relatively high, but that more targeted outreach and education is needed. 

Telehealth Promising but Understudied for Trans Youth

Transgender Health published a study calling for more research on delivering gender-affirming care to youth using telehealth services. Telehealth services generally have expanded greatly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the closure of physical health spaces and easing of regulations that made telehealth harder to offer. However, authors of the study say that only five scientific articles have looked at telehealth for gender-affirming care for youth, despite its potential to overcome many barriers for this population (such as physically traveling to providers that offer such services, which is especially tough for rural youth). What little research exists suggests high interest in and satisfaction with gender-affirming care via telehealth. 

Supplement and Drug Use Signals Symptoms

Eating Behaviors published a study finding that use of appearance and performance-enhancing drugs and supplements (APEDS) was common across cisenger bi and gay men and women, especially men. Furthermore, it was associated with symptoms for eating disorders and muscle dysmorphia, suggesting use of APEDS could be an important symptom for providers to look out for among queer patients, and something that could be addressed through proper treatment. 

Marking National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The CDC published a toolkit for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is observed each year on February 7th as Black individuals continue to bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic in the US. This year’s social media messaging highlights topics like how intersectional discrimination contrinbutes to this disparity; how individuals can access HIV self-test kits; and learning more about accessing PrEP, including for Black women, who still represent a small fraction of those who have been able to access the HIV prevention drug. 

Dermatology Concerns for Trans Individuals 

Healio reported on a study exploring the dermatology needs of transgender patients. Trans individuals have some unique needs – for example, transmasculine individuals on hormone therapy often experience acne as a side effect – and also unique concerns, as some dermatological treatments can interact with gender-affirming therapy. Additionally, the paper calls for gender-inclusive medical histories to be the norm, which could ensure that such issues are properly identified and that trans patients are treated with respect. 

Trans Veterans Can Now Self-ID – #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.

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

Trans, Nonbinary Vets Can Now Self-Identify 
The Hill reported that veterans can now identify as transgender or nonbinary with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This will allow individuals to receive better care and to exercise their right to self-identify, said VA leadership; such a move is needed given studies finding increased mental health and other challenges facing transgender veterans. Additionally, the move would allow the VA to monitor patient experiences and outcomes across the VA system, which could become an important source of trans and nonbinary health data. 

Senators Push to End Blood Ban

KARE11 reported on a new push from 22 U.S. senators to have the FDA end the ban on sexual minority men from giving blood, if they have had a same-sex sexual partner within the last three months. The three month ban is an update from a previous 12 month ban, which itself replaced a lifelong ban. Such rules emerged during the early years of the HIV epidemic, in which sexual minority men as well as transgender individuals were disproportionately impacted. However, advocates say that the rules are outdated based on current science; unnecessary, given that all blood donations are tested for HIV; and discriminatory. The senators sent a letter to the FDA to make the request. 

Why Some Students Feel Left Out

Salt Lake City Tribune published an article exploring how LGBT students in Utah feel left out from school curricula. Beyond just talking about sexual health – which, by law in Utah, must be “abstinence-based” – many LGBT students do not see their lives, identities, and needs represented. In addition to not receiving the health information they need to stay well, the exclusion contributes to isolation and stigma, which itself is the root of many health problems for youth, according to research cited from the Youth Behavior Risk Survey. 

COVID’s Lingering Impact on Trans Communities

Seattle Times reported on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transgender populations. They note new data from the Census Bureau indicating that LGBT people are at increased risk for socioeconomic vulnerability as the pandemic continues, which makes them less likely to be able to access housing, food, care, and other necessities. The article also discusses remaining gaps in data on trans health during the pandemic, such as gender identity data in COVID-19 case surveillance, and the challenge of not undercounting transgender people (if and when they are encouraged to self-identify) given the stigma facing the community. 

Californians Can Test at Home

LGBTQ Nation reported that a new law has gone into effect in California, making it the first state in the country to require insurers to pay for at-home HIV and STI testing kits. While a few states have tests available from their public health departments or individual nonprofits, California is now the first to include such tests under insurance just as a test in a provider’s office would be covered. Advocates say the news is particularly welcome during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which many HIV and STI providers have been redirected to work on COVID-19, and stigma and public health concerns meet those who may wish to get tested. 

HIV Services for Latinx Men During COVID

Relatedly, Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care published a study of twenty sexual minority Latinx men, exploring their access to HIV prevention and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants reported new barriers, like fear of contracting COVID-19 if they came in for services and confusion about what services were available, but also positive developments, such as being able to use telehealth options to access care. The results suggest that the pandemic has posed a barrier for many sexual minority Latinx men, but also an opportunity moving forward. 

Trans Survey Launches After Delays – #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.

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

Trans Survey Launches After Delays

PBS reported that work has resumed on the next iteration of the U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest study of exclusively transgender and gender minority individuals in the country. The survey has been postponed for multiple reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has now been seven years since more than 27,000 took the previous version of the survey. The limited amount of data on trans health makes research like the U.S. Transgender Survey, PRIDE Study, and All of Us Research Program critical to understanding the community’s needs.  

Body Image Issues Examined 

LGBT Health published a study looking at body image concerns among sexual minority men and transgender and nonbinary folks who are Black or Latinx. They found that just over half (51%) expressed body image concerns at some point over a four year period, and that they were more common among Latinx than Black participants. Additionally, they found that such concerns were more common among people with food insecurity or unmet financial needs, suggesting an intersection of socioeconomic issues and body image. 

Gender-affirming Care in ACA Plans

WFAE reported on a new policy report from the Biden administration arguing that Affordable Care Act healthcare plans that exclude gender-affirming care are discriminatory. The move comes as the White House seeks to reinstate and expand LGBT nondiscrimination regulations that were nixed by the previous administration. Most plans offered for 2022 did not include discriminatory provisions, but six percent of plans offering a mid-cost “silver” option did explicitly exclude trans-related care, which was actually an increase from the previous year, demonstrating the need for nondiscrimination rules.

Gay Partner Loses Insurance 

Elsewhere, LGBTQ Nation reported that a South Korean court kicked a man off of his same-sex partner’s health insurance, saying that such a benefit requires the couple to be married – which is not legal for same-sex pairs in Korea. The pair had been able to register as dependents, but after their story became public, the government retracted that recognition, a move that the court let stand. Advocates say that this and other policies need to change in the country, including banning discrimination and making changes to gendered and discriminatory military rules. 

Trans Veterans Face Higher Rates of PTSD

LGBT Health published a new study looking at more than twenty years of data of transgender veterans and their cisgender peers. They found that PTSD prevalence was between 1.5 and 1.8 times higher among trans veterans than their peers, with data also suggesting a range of other elevated mental health issues. The authors say that the study is consistent with what we know about minority stress and its impact on transgender mental health, and they recommended more resources and outreach to support the mental health of trans veterans. 

Build Back Better – and Queerer

The LA Blade reported on some of the ways that the Build Back Better plan could impact LGBT health. These include funding to address issues like HIV, mental health, and older adult needs that disproportionately affect the LGBT community. The bill also includes fixes that could improve the lives of LGBT immigrants and improvements to enforcement of employment discrimination law, which now includes LGBT people. 

Exploring Stigma Facing Men 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.

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

Exploring Stigma Facing Men of Color

Social Science and Medicine published a study which found that among Black and Latino sexual minority men, those with higher levels of sociostructural barriers – such as food and housing insecurity – also had higher odds of facing greater and more complex types of stigma. Additionally, those facing “compound stigma,” which included intersectional stigma, had the highest levels of sociostructural barriers and also mental health needs. Researchers say the results demonstrate the importance of sociostructural issues and intersectionality in addressing LGBT health. 

Less Bias, Better Screening

Health Promotion Practice published a study finding that among primary care providers in Kentucky, those with most positive explicit attitudes towards lesbian women were more likely to recommend members of this group be screened for depression; doctors who recommended such screening also had slightly lower levels of implicit bias against lesbian wwomen. Given the mental health disparities facing queer women and the importance of screening for depression in addressing these disparities, the results suggest that LGBT inclusion and anti-bias training may make providers better equipped to address mental health among the community. 

Record Fatilities in 2021

Time Magazine reported that anti-transgender violence and rhetoric contributed to 2021 being the most dangerous year for transgender and nonbinary people in the US, with at least 50 gender minority individuals killed this past year. Noting that about half of these individuals were initially misgendered in police or media reports, this research likely represents a significant underreporting in the full number of transgender and nonbinary people who faced fatal violence in 2021. 

Southern Youth Face Disparities

The Hill reported on research finding that LGBT youth in the southern United States faced lower levels of community acceptance than did youth in other parts of the country, with almost half of southern LGBT youth saying their community did not accept them compared to under a third of youth in other regions. They also faced some higher mental health risk factors and lower access to gender-affirming care, which itself has a strong relationship to acceptance, stigma, and mental health. 

Demographic Differences in Suicide Risk Factors

JAMA shared new research on suicide risk among LGB individuals. They found that LGB adults faced up to six times greater levels of risk for different suicide-related factors when examining different demographic subpopulations, based on factors like age and race. This analysis also found interesting disparities within LGB adults, such as bisexual women facing some higher levels of risk compared to lesbian women. Such nuanced differences might be important in considering interventions to reduce disparities. 

A Roundup Roundup

NBC News published a list of its 21 most popular LGBT-related news stories of 2021. These stories included many pieces related to LGBT health, such as coverage of bills targeting the ability of transgender teenagers to access medical care or participate in school sports, and conditions facing incarcerated transgender men. They also included positive news stories like LGBT athletes making history at the olympics and high-ranking LGBT officials like Rachel Levine and Pete Buttigieg making professional and personal history themselves. 

Let’s End 2021 on a High Note – #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.

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

Ending 2021 on a High Note

As 2021 comes to a close, and many of us gather with our families or families of choice to observe holidays or just catch up after a difficult year, don’t forget that many LGBTQ folks may still be hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or face barriers to doing so, or may wrongfully believe that COVID-19 vaccines interfere with HIV treatment or hormone therapy. (They don’t.) You can help combat misinformation in the community and protect those you care about by getting vaccinated and boostered. Looking for local LGBTQ resources during the end-of-year holidays? Check out our interactive LGBT center directory. And most importantly, take care of yourself and we will see you in 2022!

Addressing Abusive Online Conduct

Health Leaders reported on an effort by the organization Building Healthier Online Communities to address discrimination, insults, and generally hateful language in online dating apps for the LGBT community. The organization has heard from thousands of users of such apps about their experiences, through surveys and focus groups, and many note the stresses of being shamed or excluded for factors such as their race, perceived gender expression, HIV status, weight, and more. The users also provided suggestions for solutions that the initiative is looking to support app developers in employing, such as ensuring that everyone (not just those with paid memberships) can block abusive participants and more privacy options for sensitive information, such as HIV status. 

Homophobic Language Explored

On the subject of hateful language, University of Houston shared research exploring why heterosexual men sometimes use anti-gay language even against other straight men. Aftering randomly assigning male college students as having a gender role that was either average male or average female, those who had been assigned in the female range were more likely to lash out against men in hypothetical stories who were depicted as bucking male gender roles. In other words, those who felt their male identity threatened by being labeled as more feminine themselves sought to protect their male status by labeling others as not sufficiently masculine, thus perpetuating homophobic and sexist gender norms, according to reachers’ conclusions. 

Hormone Access Boosts Trans Youth Mental Health
NBC News reported on new research linking access to hormone therapy among transgender teens and young adults to lower risk levels for suicidality and depression, according to a large survey involving thousands of youth. For those under the age of 18, having access to hormone therapy was associated with a dramatic 40% drop in the odds of having recent depression or a past-year attempt at suicide. While the positive side effects of access to this treatment is encouraging, the results also come at a time when many states are attempting to make it more difficult (or even illegal) for youth to access hormone therapy, raising alarms among advocates. 

Food Insecurity Prominent among Trans Folks
A new study found that transgender people were three times more likely than were cisgender people to experience food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, a problem that was especially prominent among transgender people of color and low-income transgender people. In addition to problems with affordability of food (which could relate to issues such as lower socioeconomic opportunity in the community), transgender people were also more likely than their cisgender peers to have barriers to accessing food beyond just the cost, such as not being able to get out of the house or not feeling safe doing so. 

LGBT Adults Top 20 Million

The Hill reported on new research estimating that at least 20 million American adults identify as LGBT, representing about 8% of the total adult population. This number includes 4% of adults who identify as bisexual, 3% who identify as gay or lesbian, and two million adults who identify as transgender of any sexual orientation, all of which exceed previous estimates. The analysis was made possible by new census data, which until recently has not identified sexual orientation or gender identity, making population estimates very challenging. 

Canada Bans Conversion Therapy – #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.

Canada Bans Conversion Therapy
Them reported that Canada has become one of few countries around the world to ban conversion therapy nationwide. Starting in January, it will be illegal to perform or advertise conversion therapy, as well as to take a minor outside of Canada to participate in the discredited practice elsewhere. Despite being found to cause serious harm to those involved, conversion therapy – in which someone tries to change another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity – remains legal in most places, although bans prohibiting the practice against youth are slowly becoming more widespread. 

Employment Inequities in Trans Communities

Washington Blade shared recent research regarding employment in the trans community, which found that cisgender people were twice as likely as their trans peers to be employed and also made on average 32% more money. Furthermore, more than half of transgender people were not comfortable being out as transgender at work, underscoring the stigma they face. The author suggests that voluntary reporting from large employers on their transgender workforce would help bring transparency and accountability, especially as gender identity is not included in official employment data, thus reducing the visibility and clarity of the challenge. 

2020 Was Tough for Queer Women

Behavioral Medicine published research finding that the unique stressors of the summer of 2020, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased attention to police-based violence against people of color, may have contributed to negative health outcomes for sexual minority women who had prior exposure to trauma. Namely, the study found in a sample of these women higher indicators for PTSD and problematic drinking than prior research suggested would normally be the case, during the period of April to August 2020. This corresponded to qualitative reports about the impact of the events during that period. 

Children’s Home Sues to Discriminate

Pink News reported on a new lawsuit filed by a children’s home suing the federal government after the Department of Health and Human Services reinstated rules prohibiting such facilities that receive federal funds from discriminating against LGBT people. More recently, the department also said it would crack down on the practice of allowing organizations to discriminate despite federal laws if they claimed doing so was an expression of their organization’s religious affiliation. The children’s home does not want to place youth at the homes of LGBT families despite the law requiring that these families have equal access to services. 

VA’s Pride Program Explored

The US Department of Veterans Affairs shared an update on their “Pride in All Who Served” health education program aimed at LGBT veterans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program added a telehealth option called telePRIDE to ensure continued access to services. They also shared the story of a transgender veteran who says the program helped her to better understand her own identity and to find community among her fellow former service members. 

UK Rallies for Better Trans Healthcare

Yahoo! reported on rallying in the UK to demand better healthcare for transgender patients. Among their concerns are that gender identity clinics (GICs) in the UK create a segregated system of care that, among other things, have long wait lists. Advocates note that delays in gender-affirming care can cause serious harm to the well-being of transgender folks. These clinics were recently evaluated in new research, which identified some unmet needs. 

Reflections from World AIDS Day – #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.

On World AIDS Day, a Focus on Transgender Inclusion 

Helping to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, the Journal of the International AIDS Society published a study looking at different countries’ national strategic plans for addressing HIV, and found that two-thirds mentioned transgender populations in at least one of five key areas – but that only 8.3% of plans mentioned transgender folks across all five areas. Moreover, transgender individuals were more likely to be included in background materials than in sections around data and budgets, which might be concerning, given the needs for data and funding to address HIV among this disproportionately-impacted population. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region were most likely to mention trans people throughout their HIV strategic plan. 

Trans Experience across HIV Care Continuum

AIDSMap shared research finding that less than eight in ten transgender women living with HIV in the US had ever received care to treat the condition, and less than two in three initiated care within the first three months of being diagnosed as HIV positive. These estimates are based on a review of available studies and meta-analysis, given the lack of comprehensive data on the HIV care continuum among transgender women in the US, despite the severely inequitable impact of HIV on this community; even less data is available on transgender men. 

Major Disparity in HIV Risk for Trans Women – and Men

Plos One published a study finding that on average across various sources of data, the prevalence of HIV among trans feminine individuals was almost 20% and among trans masculine individuals was about 2.6%. That put these populations at a 66 times and 7 times increased risk, respectively, when compared to the general population. The numbers reveal the dire extent of the inequitable burden of HIV among not only trans women, who are somewhat better included in research, but also among trans men. 

State of HIV across Europe

The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention published a report on HIV across the European region, finding that sex between men was still the biggest mode of HIV transmission, accounting for about four in 10 new cases, while injection drug use was responsible for about one in 25. Transgender individuals, sex workers, and people who are incarcerated also faced increased risk, although there was no standardized measure between countries to measure many of these disparities, which researchers note as an area needing improvement.  

COVID-19 Vaccines and HIV Concerns in LGBT Community

WFAE reported on a new study finding that one in three (32%) of LGBT adults were worried that the COVID-19 vaccines could interrupt their HIV treatment or prevention medication, a concerning fact given that the vaccines have not been found to have complications for people on ART or PrEP to treat or prevent HIV, respectively. Black LGBT adults were more likely than others to believe this, with 39% reporting concerns, as were Latinx LGBT folks at 34%. Another study found that about two-thirds of people living with HIV had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by May. 

Center Confronts Youth Homelessness Crisis

Pink News reported on what the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth, Florida, is doing to support LGBT youth experiencing homelessness. The center’s staff say that most of the youth they serve are experiencing homelessness due to family conflict, which is especially common among transgender youth and leads to the population having 120% higher odds of ending up without stable housing compared to other youth. The center helps connect youth to resources and support, and notes that the entire community does better when these youth enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Find out more about your local LGBT community center using CenterLink’s interactive directory

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