Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Higher Suicide Risk For LGBT Surfaces In Community Study

A first-ever research study of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Nebraska entitled Midlands LGBT Needs Assessment Community Report, has determined that the LGBT population has a significantly higher incidence of suicidal thoughts. Nearly 50 percent of the respondents indicated that they had serious suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. The study looked at physical, mental, social, and sexual health aspects of participants.

Conducted by researchers with the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative (MSHRC), the study provides a snapshot of the health and well-being of LGBT persons in Nebraska, a predominately rural state. Although LGBT Nebraskans overall see themselves as healthy, the study also found that more than 26 percent of the 770 people surveyed smoked. That compares to an average of 20 percent of the overall population. "Several studies have shown smoking rates to be higher among LGBT persons," Dr. Fisher said. "LGBT Nebraskans are no different and actually may be somewhat higher than other states due to higher levels of social stigma." Issues like suicide, smoking, sexual health and even seeking health care were linked to social conditions that allow for LGBT to be "out" about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Dr. Fisher said. "Almost across the board, we kept finding that persons who were more 'out of the closet' to family, friends, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances were more likely to be engaging in healthy behaviors," he said.
Read more on the Medical News Today website. Read the report at http://www.unmc.edu/publichealth/docs/Midlands_LGBT_Community_Report.pdf

Posted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com,

Talking About Suicide & Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Populations

mThere has been signifcant news coverage of several recent suicide completions by youth that are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). These highly publicized events have raised awareness about suicide risk among the LGBT population, but some of the coverage has "oversimplified or sensationalized a number of the underlying issues, and in some cases may have created the potential for suicide contagion risk" according to a new resource from a partnership between the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [GLAAD], the Movement Advancement Project [MAP], and others.

Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations provides detailed recommendations for more safely discussing suicide in public conversations and social media, while at the same time expanding public conversations about the well-being of LGBT people, promoting the need for family support and acceptance, and encouraging help-seeking by LGBT people who may be contemplating suicide. http://www.lgbtmap.org/effective-messaging/talking-about-suicide-and-LGBT-populations
Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com
There are other briefs on subjects ranging from transgender discrimination,improving the lives of older adults, workplace laws and policy change downloadable on this site as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Letting Aunt Betty Feel Awkward This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, Let Aunt Betty Feel a Little Awkward…

The LGBT community has a ton to be thankful for from the past year. But we also have a long way to go. And believe it or not, putting down that forkful of stuffing for a minute and just talking about yourself (if you can) this Thanksgiving can make a huge difference.

We've all had those Thanksgiving dinners where Aunt Betty decides this is the perfect time to discuss a year's worth of ailments and medical treatments. Well, you know what? If she can talk about her podiatrist, you can talk about your partner.

The fact is, while you're scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you're missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about. It's okay if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward at first, it's important for her to know that someone she loves cares deeply about LGBT equality. And the more we all talk about what's important to us, the less awkward those conversations will become.

Today some LGBT people can't be open about who they are. But if you do feel comfortable, speaking openly and honestly about your life with your loved ones is one of the best ways for all of us to move forward together.

Are you going to let Aunt Betty feel a little awkward this Thanksgiving?
Share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and enter to win a a Nixon Coolpix S6100 digital camera!

Why this is really important.
In 2008, we did a study of people who said their opinions on LGBT issues were more favorable than they were five years prior. Of those who were now more supportive of LGBT equality, four out of five cited personally knowing someone who was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as a primary reason.

The more comfortable you are talking about your life, the more comfortable other people will be standing up for LGBT issues with their friends and co-workers. Maybe Aunt Betty will speak up and use you as an example the next time someone at her office speaks out against marriage equality.

What about straight allies?
If you're a straight ally, there are a lot of perfectly natural and easy ways to talk about how important LGBT issues are with your friends and family. If politics come up, you can talk about where various candidates stand on LGBT issues. If you're watching the 49ers/Ravens game, you can talk about how Baltimore linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo has filmed multiple videos in support of marriage equality. If you're talking about the year in TV, you can talk about how great it was to see Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars, and the attention it brought to the transgender community. If you're talking about movies, mention an LGBT-themed film you saw, like Beginners, or J. Edgar, or even the last Harry Potter film. (Dumbledore!)

What are you thankful for?
2011 was a banner year for the movement towards LGBT equality. The number of same-sex couples who can get married in the United States doubled when New York legalized marriage equality. Gay men and women are now legally allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military. Millions of people "went purple" around the world to show support for LGBT young people on Spirit Day. Chaz Bono brought unprecedented awareness of the transgender community when he was picked to compete on Dancing with the Stars. Numbers came out showing that in the past decade, the number of same-sex couples who have adopted children in the United States has more than tripled, from fewer than 6,500 couples to nearly 22,000.

The Bottom Line.
At GLAAD, we try to amplify the voices of the LGBT community in the media, so that people in households all across America have a better idea about what it means to be LGBT. But there's no substitute for getting that info firsthand. Talking about our lives with our loved ones and family members is vital to advancing equality. It doesn't just put a human face to an otherwise politically charged issue. It puts YOUR face on the issue. And to people who care about you, that really matters.

So go ahead and tell your stories. Be true to who you are around your loved ones this Thanksgiving. And even if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward this year, she'll be greeting you with open arms and asking you for info next year.
Posted at http://www.glaad.org/thanksgiving and reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

Penn State, my final loss of faith

Posted at 06:58 PM ET, 11/11/2011 Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com
By Thomas L. Day Posted at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/penn-state-my-final-loss-of-faith/2011/11/11/gIQAwmiIDN_blog.html

I’m 31, an Iraq war veteran, a Penn State graduate, a Catholic, a native of State College, acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky’s, and a product of his Second Mile foundation.

And I have fully lost faith in the leadership of my parents’ generation.

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno arrives home Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in State College, Pa. (Matt Rourke - AP)
(Read Day’s follow up to this post in his chat Monday with readers here. )

I was never harmed by Sandusky, but I could have been. When I was 15, my mother, then looking for a little direction for her teenage son, introduced me to the Second Mile’s Friend Fitness program. It was a program resembling Big Brother, Big Sister with a weekly exercise regimen.

Instead of Sandusky’s care, I was sent to a group of adults, many of whom were in their 20s. They took me from a C-student to the University of Chicago, where I’m a master’s student now. They took the football team’s waterboy and made a 101st Airborne Division soldier.

I was one of the lucky ones. My experience with Second Mile was a good one. I should feel fortunate, blessed even, that I was never harmed. Yet instead this week has left me deeply shaken, wondering what will come of the foundation, the university, and the community that made me into a man.

One thing I know for certain: A leader must emerge from Happy Valley to tie our community together again, and it won’t come from our parents’ generation.

They have failed us, over and over and over again.

I speak not specifically of our parents -- I have two loving ones -- but of the public leaders our parents’ generation has produced. With the demise of my own community’s two most revered leaders, Sandusky and Joe Paterno, I have decided to continue to respect my elders, but to politely tell them, “Out of my way.”

They have had their time to lead. Time’s up. I’m tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.

Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.

We looked to Washington to lead us after September 11th. I remember telling my college roommates, in a spate of emotion, that I was thinking of enlisting in the military in the days after the attacks. I expected legions of us -- at the orders of our leader -- to do the same. But nobody asked us. Instead we were told to go shopping.

The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, “nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” Not exactly Churchillian stuff.

Those of us who did enlist were ordered into Iraq on the promise of being “greeted as liberators,” in the words of our then-vice president. Several thousand of us are dead from that false promise.

We looked for leadership from our churches, and were told to fight not poverty or injustice, but gay marriage. In the Catholic Church, we were told to blame the media, not the abusive priests, not the bishops, not the Vatican, for making us feel that our church has failed us in its sex abuse scandal and cover-up.

Our parents’ generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country’s sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers’ hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation’s credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on K Street and Wall Street.

Now we are asking for jobs and are being told we aren’t good enough, to the tune of 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34.

This failure of a generation is as true in the halls of Congress as it is at Penn State.

Perhaps the most vivid illustration this week of our leaderless culture came with the riots in State College that followed Paterno’s dismissal. The display resembled Lord of the Flies. Without revered figures from the older generation to lead them, thousands of students at one of the country’s best state universities acted like children home alone.

This week the world found the very worst of human nature in my idyllic Central Pennsylvania home. I found that a man my community had anointed a teacher and nurturer of children, instead reportedly had them hiding in his basement. The anger and humiliation were more than I could bear. I can’t wait for my parents’ generation’s Joshua any longer. They’ve lost my faith.

Thomas Day is a graduate student at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What To Do If a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder Is Arrested

Reposted at keystothecloset.blogspot.com
If a loved one with mental illness or suspected mental illness is arrested, the goal is to transition the person as quickly as possible from the legal system to the healthcare system. The Los Angeles NAMI Criminal Justice Committee has posted a very thorough seven-step guide to help families navigate the criminal justice system in Los Angeles County when a family member who suffers from a brain disorder (mental illness) is arrested. It’s called “Mental Illness Arrest: What do I do?”

This post changes the process a bit, removes details related to the Los Angeles jail, includes some additional notes and tips, and presents everything in more of a checklist format.

1.Support your loved one.

◦If he/she calls, remain calm and supportive.

◦Remind your loved one of the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

◦Assure your loved one that talking about her diagnosis and medications with the jail’s nurses or medical staff is safe.

2.Contact the jail.

◦Ask to speak with the person in charge – the supervisor or “watch commander.”

◦Inform the supervisor of your loved one’s diagnosis or, if your loved one hasn’t been diagnosed as having a mental illness, why you suspect that mental illness may be involved.

◦If your loved one has been exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, request to have him or her taken to a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation.

◦Ask if your loved one is expected to be released directly from the jail and find out where and when so you can be there. If your loved one will not be released soon, request that he or she receive a mental health evaluation.

◦If charges are filed, obtain the court date and address of where the first hearing will take place.

◦Obtain information about the facility and about family visits.

◦Obtain the name, phone, and fax number of the supervisor or watch commander.

◦Ask if the jail has a medical or mental health services department and, if it does, ask for the phone and fax number and the name of the person in charge.

3.Fax personal/medical information to the jail. If the jail has a medical or mental health services department, fax the information to both the jail supervisor or watch commander and the medical or mental health services department. Include in your fax the following information:

◦Your loved one’s full legal name, date of birth, booking number, and current residential address.

◦His/her diagnosis or why you believe the person’s behavior is the result of a mental illness.

◦Psychiatrist or treating physician’s name, phone number, and address.

◦All current medications, dosages, time of day to be administered, name and number of pharmacy.

◦Information about medication that’s proven to be effective/ineffective or that has caused serious negative side effects.

◦Any history of suicide attempts or threats.

◦Information about other medical conditions that might require attention.

◦Whether your loved one has provided you with a written confidentiality waiver. If not, ask that he or she be requested to sign one while in jail.

◦Important: Do NOT address any impending charges in the fax. Keep all communication focused on health issues, not legal issues.

4.Report the arrest to the person’s psychiatrist, treating physician, and therapist. If your loved one has a history of mental illness, keep the doctor and therapist in the loop.

5.Contact an advocacy group for assistance. States, counties, and municipalities may all have mental health advocacy programs or organizations that can help. Explore the following options:

◦Mental health court program: Ask the jail if the jurisdiction has a mental health court program to assist mentally ill defendants in the criminal justice system. Ask if the program has a mental health caseworker who can be assigned to the case.

◦Community Mental Health Center: Call the County Mental Health Department or Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) that’s in the same county/jurisdiction as the jail and report the arrest and your concerns. Someone at the CMHC may have more success at obtaining information and ensuring that your loved one receives the necessary medication/treatment.

◦Mental Health America: Call the Mental Health America affiliate in the same county/jurisdiction as the jail for additional information and support. (Go to www.nmha.org to look up affiliates.)

◦National Disability Rights Network: If you believe that your loved one is being mistreated, report your concerns to your state’s disability rights agency. Visit www.in.gov/ipas to look up information about your state’s disability rights agency.
◦National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Contact the nearest NAMI affiliate for support for yourself and your loved one. You can look up your local NAMI affiliate online at nami.org. Chances are good that a NAMI member near you has had a similar experience.

6.Seek legal assistance if charges have been filed.

◦If your loved one doesn’t have or can’t afford a private attorney, a public defender will be appointed. Public defenders often have knowledge of the system as it pertains to mental health services.

◦If your loved one chooses to retain a private attorney, find one who’s had experience defending people with mental illness and knows how to use the system’s mental health resources to a defendant’s advantage.

7.If your loved one is hospitalized, call his or her health insurance provider. If your loved one has health insurance, contact the provider to ensure that the cost of treatment will be covered. For example, you may need to make sure that the treatment facility is in-network.

Warning: Avoid the temptation to merely bail out your loved one. Always consider the endgame – if you bail out the person, then what? You’re usually better off working through the justice system to try to transition your loved one to a mental health facility for treatment. The justice system may have more power than you do to help someone who doesn’t think he or she needs help or refuses treatment.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An open Letter to Kim Kardashian

The Real L Word stars Jill Goldstein and Nikki Weiss-Goldstein’s open letter to Kim Kardashian.

Hollywood power couple Jill Goldstein and Nikki Weiss-Goldstein (former stars of The Real L Word) have something to say to another woman on reality TV — Kim Kardashian — on the news that Kardashian’s million dollar marriage has ended after 72 days.

Dear Kim Kardashian,

Like much of the world, we were made aware of the news of your impending divorce from Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage. We are sorry for any personal anguish this is causing you. No one likes to hear about hardships when it comes to matters of the heart.

That said Kim, we can’t help but wonder if your “sacred union” was indeed a ploy to boost the ratings of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, while earning millions of dollars from the media in the process.

That thought greatly disturbs us.

As businesswomen, we respect your entrepreneurial spirit. But using a wedding/marriage as a catalyst to further your brand recognition, your celebrity, and your wallet is truly hurtful to those of us who so deeply value the union and yet are unjustly denied the right.

Did you know that gays are denied more than 1,000 federal protections as a result of not being allowed to legally marry? Are you able to understand how devastating it is to love someone dearly, want to spend your life with them through a legally recognized and respected union, only to be denied that civil right because people in position of political power don’t think it’s “right”?

We were unlawfully wed in the State of California on October 9, 2010, where amongst dear family and friends, we vowed to love, honor, cherish, and respect one another. It was truly the most magical day of our lives. Yet despite how meaningful and genuine our commitment to one another was, that “I Do” was not enough to protect our relationship. We had to take countless measures to ensure that our honorable bond was guarded, in areas of healthcare, parenting, benefits, and taxes—just to name a few. We wonder if you appreciated just how many rights your marriage with Kris was afforded when you collected all those profits.

Kim, we have no doubt that a woman as smart, savvy, and beautiful as you will find love and marriage again. But for the respect of the millions of people who hear about it at every turn (many of whom you rely on to build your brand) please do take into consideration the uphill battle that so many of us have to fight for marriage equality. Perhaps you can demonstrate a bit more respect for the union next time around, instead of using it as a business gain.

We leave you with this idea: Why not take a portion of the millions of dollars you earned on your wedding and donate it to the Human Rights Campaign to help fight for marriage equality? It would speak very loudly.

Reposted from The Advocate http://news.advocate.com/post/12173041787/lesbian-outrage-over-kim-kardashian
Reprinted at keystothecloset.blogspot.com

Federal Report Shows Stark Health Disparities in Lesbian and Bisexual Women

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is including lesbian and bisexual women as a special population in the Women’s Health USA 2011 report for the first time ever. This annual data book identifies priorities, trends, and disparities in women’s health. “Women’s Health USA provides the public with a valuable resource for describing the status of women's health throughout the nation,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “By highlighting critical health issues affecting women, this volume draws attention to age, income and race and ethnic disparities in women’s health.”

The report acknowledges that the unique status and health needs of lesbians and bisexual women are shaped by sexual identity and behavior, as well as traditional factors like age, education, race, and ethnicity. The report suggests that lesbian and bisexual women are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including being overweight and obesity, poor mental health, substance abuse, violence, and barriers to accessing health care due to social and economic inequities. For example, lesbians reported receiving an annual gynecological check-up at half the rate of straight women despite reporting the same level of insurance coverage. Lesbians and bisexual women are also twice as likely to report smoking and binge drinking as opposed to their straight counterparts.

As a recent Institute of Medicine Report concluded, more data is needed to adequately identify and address the unique health needs and disparities in the LGBT population as a whole. HRC supports the development of this much needed data. HRC also recognizes that bias on the part of health care providers and fear of discrimination can intensify these health disparities and outcomes. Through HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index, we are working to improve this landscape and empower LGBT individuals to demand equal, quality health care.

Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com
Posted at HRC blog at http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/federal-report-shows-stark-health-disparities-in-lesbian-and-bisexual-women?utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_term=News-link-3&utm_campaign=HRCnews-November-2011

Comprehensive Sex Education Bill Introduced in House and Senate

Today, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. This legislation would provide youth and young adults with comprehensive sex education replacing ineffective abstinence-only programs and also would provide funding for teacher training in sex education. The legislation would make grants available to public or private entities that focus on adolescent health and education or have experience with training sex educators. Grants also would be available to institutions of higher education.

In response to introduction of the Act, HRC President Joe Solmonese stated, “Senator Lautenberg and Representative Lee understand that schools should be providing our nation’s youth with comprehensive, age-appropriate, evidence-based sex education.” He added, “[f]or too long our nation’s youth have been left in the dark without access to accurate information and resources. HRC has long opposed federal funding for abstinence-only programs because they exclude, or even denigrate, LGBT students. This bill ensures that all students, including LGBT students, receive the instruction and information they need to make informed, responsible life decisions.”

The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would require, rather than merely encourage, inclusiveness of LGBT youth in sex education. It also would prohibit federal funding to programs that are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of LGBT youth. The goals of the legislation include preventing unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sexual abuse, dating violence, bullying, and harassment. The program also seeks to promote healthy relationships and aims to uphold the rights of youth to accurate information about sexual health. Federal funding would be prohibited for any programs that withhold information about HIV, are medically inaccurate or proven ineffective, promote gender stereotypes, are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active or LGBT youth, or are inconsistent with ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.

Posted at HRC blog http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/comprehensive-sex-education-bill-introduced-in-house-and-senate?utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_term=News-link-5&utm_campaign=HRCnews-November-2011
Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

IRS Formally Agrees with Historic Court Ruling for Transgender Taxpayers

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced its intent to formally agree, termed a "notice of acquiescence," with an historic 2010 decision of the U.S. Tax Court that overturned IRS policy disallowing tax deductions for medical care related to gender transition. The case, O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner, was brought by our colleagues at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders on behalf of a transgender woman who was denied the ability to utilize a federal income tax deduction for medical care costs because the IRS considered her transition-related care not to be medically necessary. In asserting its position, the IRS had cited 2005 guidance from the IRS's Chief Counsel.

The announcement notes that the IRS now agrees with the Tax Court's conclusion and that the IRS rescinds its contrary 2005 guidance. The announcement follows HRC’s formal request as part of HRC’s recommendations to the Obama administration, the Blueprint for Positive Change -- and actively lobbying the IRS Chief Counsel. The decision to formally agree with the O'Donnabhain decision, makes clear to transgender taxpayers that they are equally able to utilize the medical care deduction for medically necessary care, and helps to ensure that IRS field agents are aware of the law.

We applaud the IRS for taking a step that will help to address the financial burdens many transgender people face in simply trying to obtain appropriate care.

Posted at HRC blog http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/irs-formally-agrees-with-historic-court-ruling-for-transgender-taxpayers?utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_term=News-link-6&utm_campaign=HRCnews-November-2011
Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

13 Years Ago: November 1998

November 20 is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender and gender non-conforming people continue to face rampant discrimination in every area of their lives, from school to home, from health to even how they're treated by the police. Transgender people continue to be murdered for simply being who they are, and the Transgender Day of Remembrance was created to memorialize them. We'll remember them on November 20, and vow to keep up the fight against hatred and prejudice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Resources for Men's Healthcare

Free and/or Low Cost Health Care
Please note: This page provided for information only. Men’s Health Network does not endorse the services offered by any facility or company.

Clinics vary in range of services provided and services may vary during the year based on availability of funding. To find clinics in your area, see webpage at http://www.menshealthmonth.org/freehealthcare/index.html

Contact the administrative office listed or the clinics in which you are interested to verify services available and possible costs before going to the clinic. Also verify location and hours of operation. If the clinic near you does not provide the services you need, ask for the name and address of a clinic that does provide those services.

Please notify MHN if you find an error on this page or if you know of other clinics and services that should be listed. Send the information to info@menshealthnetwork.org

Also available resources for prescription drugs and clinical trials.

Reposte at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com
Posted at http://www.menshealthmonth.org/freehealthcare/index.html

BREAKING – Joint Commission Releases Historic Field Guide on LGBT Health Care

Posted on November 8, 2011 by The Network for LGBT Health Equity

Daniella Matthews-Trigg, Program Associate
Exciting News, Joint Commission Releases New Guide to LGBT Health!
Drum roll, please…
Today the Joint Commission released a historic guide to LGBT health disparities: Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community: A Field Guide.

The Joint Commission, the organization responsible for accrediting Health centers and Hospitals, has a history of going above and beyond for LGBT rights. If you may remember, last July the Joint Commission started to require that all hospitals have LGBT non discriminations policies in order to maintain their accreditation. This new guide is their most recent commitment to the health and well-being of our community.

The Field Guide is designed to help hospitals and health centers provide better, more culturally competent care for LGBT patients and their families. It focuses on identifying areas that need improvement, as well as provides resources and information to “strengthen outreach efforts to the LGBT community”. Additionally, the field guide can be used as an educational tool for training staff, and for “compliance efforts related to laws, regulations and standards”.

The Network is so excited to have been involved in the creation of this important resource, and we want to thank all of you for your suggestions and responses to our action alert related to the guide.

United we spoke, and our voices were heard… Let’s all keep up the good work!

For an expanded read, check out posting link at
http://lgbthealthequity.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/breaking-joint-commission-releases-historic-field-guide-on-lgbt-health-care/. Reposted at keystothecloset.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Handbook On Female Sexual Health And Wellness is Now Available

The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) published a new handbook in September, 2011. The Handbook On Female Sexual Health And Wellness provides clinicians with practical and clinical tools needed to care for women with sexual concerns. The handbook includes:
• Clinical Competencies: Screening And Starting The Conversation
• Elements Of A Complete Sexual History
• Clinical Competencies For Sexual Health: Top 10 Things You Should Know
• Emerging Sexual Pharmacology
• Sexual Dysfunctions Related To Commonly Seen Ob/Gyn Conditions

Free copies are available on ARHP’s website.

Latest News Stories from LGBT Health Digest

Have you told your LGBTQ health care story yet?
Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. is committed to creating opportunities for LGBTQ health care consumers to tell their story. For too long LGBTQ consumers have been left out of the conversation. Contact us at mystory@rainbowaccess.org to tell yours. Find us on Facebook at Rainbow Access Initiative. - Why, because you matter! Help us build the largest video collection of personal health care stories specific to LGBTQ consumers!

Step 1: Contact us. Let us know you want to share your story. email: mystory@rainbowaccess.org
Step 2: Schedule an appointment (date/time) with an RAI representative that's convenient for you.

Step 3. Prepare. Think about your health care story. What is it that you would like to share?

Step 4: Document your story. Put it on video and help change the face of LGBTQ health care.
WPATH Releases Revised "Standards of Care"
On September 25, 2011, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) released a newly-revised edition of the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People at the WPATH conference in Atlanta.

First published in 1979, the Standards of Care (SOC) is considered the standard document of reference on caring for the transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming population. The newly-revised, 7th edition SOC will help health professionals better understand how they can offer the most effective care to these individuals. The SOC focuses on primary care, gynecologic and urologic care, reproductive options, voice and communication therapy, mental health services and hormonal and surgical treatment.
Medicaid Coverage for Transgender Surgery Considered in NY
According to a September 29, 2011, Forbes article, a panel in New York is considering a proposed program that will provide Medicaid coverage for surgery and hormone replacement therapy for low-income, transgender New York residents. If approved, New York will join California and Minnesota in providing this coverage.
New Study Examining Impact of Social Inequality for LGB People
According to a recently published study, experiencing consistent stigma and social inequality can be stressful and reduce well-being for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people. The study's co-author, Ilan Meyer, PhD, stated, "Imagine living life anticipating exclusion from your friends, family and professional circles simply because of who you are and who you love - that resulting stress takes a toll on one's life and health."

"We'd Be Free": Narratives of Life Without Homophobia, Racism or Sexism was published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Everyday Stigma May Take Toll on Lesbians, Gays
Stress results from daily exposure to inequality, not just traumatic crimes or abuse, study shows

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas Monday, October 10, 2011

The stigma and inequalities that lesbian, gay and bisexual people face on a daily basis can increase their stress level and affect their well-being, according to a new study.

"Imagine living life anticipating exclusion from your friends, family and professional circles simply because of who you are and who you love -- that resulting stress takes a toll on one's life and health," said the study's co-author, Ilan Meyer, of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

The researchers set out to determine how stress resulting from daily, non-traumatic events, such as isolation at work and estrangement from families, affected 57 lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people. The researchers were interested in everyday occurrences, rather than overt abuse or hate crimes.

Black and Hispanic study participants reported the stress from homophobia, racism and sexism led to certain missed life opportunities, including educational advancement, and less self-confidence.

"For members of minority groups, day-to-day life experiences that may seem minor to others can and do have significant and lasting impact on one's well-being," said Meyer. "The idea that simply walking out your door will expose you to societal rejection and stigma creates a climate of stress that can lead to detrimental, long-term consequences."
The rest of the story can be read here.
HIV and AIDS among Gay and Bisexual Men
Gay and bisexual men - referred to in CDC surveillance systems as men who have sex with men (MSM)- of all races continue to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV. CDC's most recent data show that between 2006 and 2009, the number of new infections that occur each year increased among young MSM - driven by an alarming 48 percent increase among young, black MSM 13 to 29 years old. These data clearly show the urgent need to expand access to proven HIV prevention programs for gay and bisexual men, and to develop new approaches to fight HIV in this population.

The full fact sheet is available here.
President Obama Honors Janice Langbehn with 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal

GLMA congratulates Janice Langbehn for being honored with a 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal.

Langbehn is one of thirteen recipients of this year's Citizen Medal, which is the nation's second-highest civilian honor, and will be honored at the White House on October 20, 2011.

"The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. Like last year, President Obama is recognizing Americans this year whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention," according to the White House press release. The press release also noted why Langbehn was selected to receive the honor:

"While on vacation with her family in February 2007, Janice Langbehn's partner, Lisa Pond, suddenly fell ill and was rushed to the hospital. Langbehn was refused access to her partner, who had experienced a brain aneurysm and later died alone. With the help of Lambda Legal and GLAAD, she filed a federal lawsuit and worked to get her story out to the nation. Janice's story received attention from President Obama, who personally apologized to her for the way she and her family was treated. He went on to revise hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples, which went into effect this past January for any hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. Langbehn receives the Citizens Medal for her efforts to ensure all Americans are treated equally."

"Janice's leadership and courage has played an integral role in the advancements we have made to improve the health and well being of LGBT people," said Hector Vargas, GLMA's Executive Director. "GLMA joins the entire community in congratulating her for this tremendous honor the President has decided to bestow on her."

GLMA led a coalition of LGBT organizations to successfully change policies at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Langbehn was refused access to her partner. In 2010, Jackson Memorial implemented a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; a patient's bill of rights that demonstrates the hospital's commitment to providing quality care for LGBT patients; and a visitation policy that updates the definition of family to include same-sex partners and other people who may not be legally related to a patient.

Gautam Raghavan Named to White House LGBT Liaison Position
As reported in MetroWeekly, on October 5, 2011, Gautam Raghavan joined the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs as the LGBT liaison. In his position as Associate Director of Public Engagement, Raghavan will be the LGBT community's "point of contact" at the White House.
LGBT Movement "Founding Parent" Dies
On October 11, 2011, at 86 years old and after decades of fighting for the rights of LGBT people, Frank Kameny died. As has been noted by many in the press, including on The Rachel Maddow Show, Kameny started the fight for equality almost a decade before the Stonewall riots and two decades before Harvey Milk's election. His work has been archived and is on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The LGBT movement has also witness the passing of another leader this October. On October 7, 2011, Paula Ettelbrick died at 56 years old. As reported in the New York Times, Ettelbrick's work "focused on defining 'family' in the broadest possible way."
LGVMA Announces 2011 Leadership and Achievement Awards
The Lesbian & Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) is proud to announce both Lisa Greenhill and Shane Snowdon as the recipients of the LGVMA 2011 Achievement Award.

LGVMA Achievement Awards are presented to individuals and/or organizations at the LGVMA Annual Meeting. Recipients should evidence commitment to one or more of the following: improving the quality of veterinary services to animals belonging to the LGBT community; for bettering the professional environment for animal health professionals; for enhancing the academic learning environment for LGBT veterinary and/or veterinary technician students; and/or for contributing to the advancement of equality of the LGBT community or of the mission of LGVMA.

LGVMA is also proud to announce the Student Chapter of LGVMA/ Tuskegee the LGVMA 2011 Leadership Award. The LGVMA Leadership Award is given to individuals and/or organizations that show outstanding leadership and/or community activism within the veterinary profession.
The Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association
Join our network! Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association was developed in March of 2011 in response to a growing vocalized need for the exchange of ideas, community, and resources between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and allied (LGBTQI&A*) veterinary students. For more information on the organization or for information on how you can get involved, please visit our website.
Victory Congressional Internship is accepting applications for Spring 2012

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute will bring outstanding LGBTQ college students to Washington, D.C., for an intensive leadership program, including a Congressional internship with an LGBT-friendly member of Congress.

The program includes a generous stipend, placement in a congressional internship and travel to/from Washington, D.C., as well as travel and registration to the International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference in Long Beach, California, in December 2012.

Applications for Spring 2012 are due Monday, November 7. For more information, please click here.

The Victory Congressional Internship is open to current undergraduate students of all genders, orientations, abilities, races and political affiliations, including people with majors other than political science.

Information in this report is compiled from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's LGBT Health Digest, the National Coalition for LGBT Health's Updates and other LGBT health resources.]