Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Does Your Child's Doctor Know About LGBT Health Disparities?



It’s hard for a parent to really know what goes on in their child’s doctor’s office.  Even a minor, WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT, by state laws, has access to:
STI and HIV Services
Mental Health Services
Drug or Alcohol use Treatments
Contraception
Abortions

Take your teen to the pediatrician and before the visit is over, you are asked to leave the room while the doctor asks your child questions in private.  What does the doctor want to know that you are not privy to?

It has been documented that LGBT youth have a hard time confiding to their doctors when the supposed health care providers presume they are heterosexual.  Or the doctors are judgmental once they know their patient is LGBTQ and treat them with bias.

HEALTH DISPARITIES

In order for your LGBT child to get the best total care, the doctor should realize that LGBT children/adults have health disparities:

Over ½ of LGBT adolescents report disordered eating behaviors.
Recent study showed higher risk of pregnancy among LGBT youth. (identity and behavior don’t always align.)
60% of youth with HIV don’t know they are infected. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends testing all youth at least once by the age of 16-18 regardless whether they report sexual activity).
There are low rates of HPV vaccination for all teens and preteens.

Not only are teens not hearing enough about sexual health at their check-ups, but they are not being asked by their doctors open-ended questions that will lead to better communication, reduce fear of discrimination, such as:

Tell me more about the types of people you are attracted to.
How comfortable are you in your identity?  What makes you feel that way?
Do you see positive examples of LGBTQ people/relationships around you?
How does your family/community talk about LGBTQ people?
How do others treat you at school?  Do you feel comfortable there?  Are you bullied? It is estimated that 84% of LGBT youth have been verbally harassed at school, 1/3 of LGBT students drop out of school at some point due to violence, and 65.3% had been sexually harassed, according to a National Survey of LGBT youth.  LGBT youth are 4 to 5 x more likely to attempt suicide and 50% of transgender youth have attempted suicide.

Many doctors are not trained to look for these health disparities resulting from social stigma, family rejection or school violence.  If your child is not comfortable talking about his identity and revealing his true self and has trouble raising concerns about his social development, medical and physical changes, you might consider switching doctors.  You can find gay-friendly doctors on the hrc.org. site.http://www.hrc.org.








Sunday, August 14, 2016

BACK-TO-SCHOOL HOMOPHOBIA WITH NO RECESS



Gay and Lesbian youths face greater risk of violence, according to the first nationwide study administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first time that the federal government’s biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey investigated sexual identity.

PARTICIPANTS IN THE SURVEY

Some 15,600 students across the country, ages 14 to 17, took the survey that looked at more than 100 health behaviors, including two NEW questions: how do they identify themselves sexually, and also the sex of those with whom they had “sexual contact?”

The survey found that about eight percent of the high school population self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual.  This figure equates to roughly 1.3 million students.  Unfortunately, the survey did not include questions for transgender students to answer.

The report notes the fluidity of adolescent sexual identity:

3.2% of students chose “not sure.”
25% identified as heterosexual.
13.6 % identified were uncertain of their sexual identity.
2.8% described themselves as LGB although they had sexual contact with only someone of the opposite sex.

The Alarming Findings

While this survey does underscore similar previous findings that LGB students face disproportionate psychological problems compared to heterosexuals such as low self-esteem, truancy, greater drug abuse, for example, this survey points to a greater risk of VIOLENCE. Self-identified LGB students were:

3 x more likely to be raped than straight students.
29 % had seriously considered suicide.
1/3 at least had been bullied on school property.
Twice as likely to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

What’s the Answer?

The survey did not concentrate on why LGB students are at such risk for violence.
It also did not include an explanation of what sexual contact is.  The test was only given to students currently in high school.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, attributes the violence to “ the intensity of homophobic attitudes and acceptance of gay-related victimization, as well as the ongoing silence around adolescent sexuality.”  The marginalization of young people increases their vulnerability to exploitative and violent relationships.”

What Parents Can Do

Self- Acceptance, like hate, can begin at home.  Says Dr. Miller, “we have to start conversations early with young people about healthy sexuality, attraction, relationships, intimacy and how to explore those feelings in as safe and respectful a way as possible.”

Source: gay-and-lesbian-youths-face-greater-risk-of-violence/nytimes/8/12/16


Friday, August 5, 2016

Know Where Your Party Stands For LGBT Rights



When it comes to LGBT rights, the Republican and Democratic party differ sharply.
In a nutshell, The Republic platform did not specifically use term LGBT, favors state rights, freedom of religion to exercise opposition to gay marriage, and allows parents to employ conversion/reparative therapy for their LGBT children to make them straight.  This form of “therapy” is still practiced by some therapists as well as religious camps (pray-the-gay away) although it is frowned upon by The American Psychiatric Association.

During the 2016 Democratic Convention,  Silicone Executive Peter Thiel, declared he was “proud to be gay” before a group of Log Cabin Republicans from California in the forefront.  Yet, Thiel didn’t mention what the Republican Platform stood for in terms of advancing gay rights, probably because his party wants to rescind gay rights and return to pre-2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court 5 to 4 decision legalized gay marriage nationwide:  Republicans against and Democratic in favor.

Certainly, the Family Research Council, a right-wing, right-to-life organization, believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman as stated in the official platform of the Republican party.  States Rachel Hoff, first openly gay person to serve on Repubilcan National Convention platform committee,, “our party, outside of the platform committee, is ready to move on. I think we’ve got to catch up, not just on marriage, but on a full spectrum of issues effecting LGBT community. “  However, Hoff defends her party when she attests that “plenty of Republicans, National Republican leaders, came out for equal marriage before Hilary did.”

Democratic Position on LGBT Equality

Obama didn’t support marriage equality until 2008 when he was practically forced to when Vice-President Joe Biden told a news interviewer that he was in favor of it.

On July 30, 2012, Democrats drafter same-sex marriage as part of their party’s platform.  At that convention, Freedom to Marry Founder, Evan Wolfson, favored repeal of the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as only between a man and woman) signed by President William Clinton in 1996.   Wolfson wanted DOMA replaced with the passage of Respect for Marriage Act.

At the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, the party denounced marriage equality and endorsed federal constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage.  The party was critical of Obama’s administration for its decision not to defend DOMA.  And wanted states to pass constitutional amendment against marriage equality.

As far back as 1980, Democrats finally added “sexual orientation” to the platform’s blanket endorsement while the Republican platform included a plank in favor of the “traditional American family.”

The Democrats at the Convention this year had a transgender speaker, Sarah McBride, reflecting the mantra that “we support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities and protections under the law.” The Obama Administration redefined sex discrimination laws to include transgender individuals.

It is obvious to me which party will try to advance LGBT rights NOW!



Friday, July 15, 2016

Conversion Therapy Still Endorsed by Republicans

Family Research Council Hammers Home

The President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, succeeded in introducing an amendment to the Republican Platform affirming “the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy for their minor children.”

You know what this means…The FRC approves of conversion or so-called reparative therapy, aka. pray-the-gay-away therapy.  Although conversion therapy has been banned in New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, California, Vermont, Iowa, and the District of Columbia, and in 2015, Cincinnati, Ohio passed the 1st city level conversion therapy ban, the FRC, a Christian public policy ministry, is all about religious liberty and right-wing causes at the expense of the LGBT population.

Traditional Family Values Don’t Reflect Modern Society

The American Psychiatric Association knows better.  It disapproves of conversion therapy.  In 1973, homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder by the APA.  It opposes psychiatric treatment based upon the assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation and describes attempts to change sexual orientation by practitioners as UNETHICAL!

Dangers of Conversion Therapy

There don’t seem to be any long-term studies of conversion therapy.  Organizations such as NARTH don’t disclose the side effects in its propaganda.  This kind of so-called therapy may cause social harm by disseminating unscientific views about sexual orientation.

Rarely, does conversion therapy work in the long run.  It can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and suicide.

Better Means for Coping

If you are Republican, religious, and having trouble accepting your LGBT child’s sexual orientation, try consulting these organizations that have proven track records for parental support:

Family Acceptance Project

familyproject.sfsu.edu.

 The Parents Project

http://www.theparentsproject.com

PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays, now includes bisexuals and transgenders)

http://www.pflag.org


Monday, July 4, 2016

We Celebrate Our Independence Today



And Our Inclusive Military Policy

Yet, just six days ago, transgender members of the U.S. Military served in silence and were considered unfit for serving openly.  According to Palm Center, an independent think tank that researches issues of sexuality, there are 12,800 actively serving transgender members of U.S. Military currently serving secretly.  The Department of Defense’s medical regulations prohibited their service and required their separation from the military.

Over a year ago, the American Medical Association approved a resolution that concluded there is no medically valued reason to block transgender individuals from military service.  The Defense Department dragged its heels until it was goaded by its first openly gay U.S. Army Secretary, Eric Fanning and President Obama.

Honor, Dignity and Courage

“We have to have access to 100% of America’s population for our all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among them the most highly qualified and to retain them,” emphasized Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

By ending the ban on transgenders, the military and our nation will be strengthened.  The transgender service people want to be held to the same standards as their straight counterparts.

The military services are likely to ask for a period to educate the force before the transgender-friendly policy is put into place while Carter is in office.  Considerations are uniforms, grooming, and bathroom usage.  In order to qualify,  transgender recruits must have completed medical treatment their doctor has determined to be appropriate.

If transgendered military personnel are willing to die for their country, it’s only right that they are allowed to be themselves and serve openly. Eighteen other nations have known this before the U.S. came to its senses.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Don't Believe Everything You Read!



Call me gullible but when I read that President Obama had declared June 26, 2016 as National Equality Day, I was thrilled!  It made sense. After all, June is Gay Pride Month, according to Obama.

 The month of June has many LGBT victories: On June 26, The Supreme Court decided in favor of  James Obergefell (Obergefell  v. Hodges) that set a precedent for same-sex marriage throughout the United States just a year ago. The laws banning so-called sodomy were struck down in Lawrence v. Texas.on June 26th in 2003, and a significant part of the Defense of Marriage Act (Windsor v. U.S.) was coincidentally struck down on June 26th .

In just three days, Stonewall, the gay bar and tavern on Christopher Street will have its forty-seventh anniversary of its riot against the police who were trying to raid  their hangout. Some consider that retaliation against the police the official beginning of the modern gay rights movement that lead to pro civil rights’ groups.

This week, The White House did designate Stonewall a national monument, an addition to America’s National Park System. All of these June events were the result of courage by the LGBT community against the status quo.  Obama called these fighters “heroes and deserve to be recognized for their courage and sacrifice.”  Supposedly, the President added, “I can’t think of anything more deserving of a national holiday than fight for equality.”

As these accomplishments by the LGBT population could warrant a federal holiday just like Martin Luther King Day, I was surprised to learn and miffed that this was a canard. An article spoofed U.S. Today in which Obama supposedly called on Congress to enshrine June 26th as National Equality Day.

Supposedly, it was reported to many blogs that President Obama told comedian and podcast political commentator Marc Maron that he couldn’t think of anything more deserving. Congress didn’t add National Equality Day to the calendar nor did he use his executive order to declare June 26th as National Equality Day.

Too bad as the LGBT long struggle for equal rights has finally been recognized so why make light of it?
     


Monday, June 13, 2016

Backlash of Gay Rights During Gay Pride Month



President Obama proclaimed on May 31st that June is LGBT month.  Said he, “ I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people. “

Despite his announcement, on the cusp of Gay Pride Month, Omar Marteen, who lives in St. Lucie County,  Florida and has sworn his allegiance to the Islamic State, decided that LGBT persons are better off dead than living their lives as homosexuals. Isis doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state.  Consequently, he killed more than fifty LGBT persons in a gay nightclub called Pulse in Orlando.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and what Obama called an “act of terror against people who are LGBTQ. It was an attack on the fundamental belief in equality and dignity for all people.”

Although Gay Pride celebrates the advancement of civil rights for gays, from a time when it was illegal for LGBT people to congregate at a bar or for bars to  even serve LGBT people. (hence the Stonewall Inn rebellion in June 1969).  It also celebrates sexual and gender identities in public.

But recent happenings also remind us that we have a long way to go.  Unrelated to the Pulse shooting, James Wesley Howell, 20, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was headed to the West Hollywood, California gay pride parade.  However, he wasn’t planning on marching or being in solidary with the LGBT population.

He, like Marteen, came equipped to harm.  Howell was found with three assault rifles and chemicals used to make explosives in his car and was stopped by police.
Unrelated to the nightclub massacre in Florida, Howell’s plan gives one pause.  How many others are out there with similar hatred? How can we assure safety for LGBT citizens?

While great strides in LGBT rights such as legalized gay marriage, gay adoption, why this backlash? What do you think? As a mother of a gay son, I worry for his safety as well as others.

Frank Langella, in his Tony Acceptance Speech on June 12th, said “when something bad happens, we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us. “ United in spirit and offering food, shelter, and blood to those who were maimed, let us continue to support those in need of equality.