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

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.


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


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.


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!