Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here.
Pride Month: Recognition from HHS and Special Trans* Awareness Program
June, which Obama has officially declared as LGBT Pride Month, has just begun and already so much is happening! Seattle’s 40th anniversary Pride parade will be smoke free this year, President Obama has called on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), HHS Secretary Sebelius has issued an announcement and the National Institute of Health (NIH) is launching a year-long internal awareness campaign to educate their workforce about trans* discrimination & health disparities.
Oddly, Medicare leads the way
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On Friday, the Obama administration ended the 33-year ban on Medicare coverage for gender-confirming surgeries, citing the current exclusion was “no longer reasonable” since the surgery is safe and effective. and can no longer be considered experimental. This may only be the beginning, as private insurance plans often take their cues from Medicare on what which treatments should be covered.
To Live and Die in the Gender I Choose
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Effective immediately, transgender people in New York State can change the gender marker on their birth certificates, no longer needing proof of surgery or hormones to do so. Meanwhile, across the country, California’s state senate is set to vote on a bill that helps ensure that transgender people will have their true gender recorded on their final form of legal identification, their death certificates. In between, we are still working to ensure that accurate transgender information is included on electronic medical records.
Finally, some good news about gay men and prostate cancer
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Prostate cancer is a leading cancer in men, gay and bisexual men carry the burden of the HIV epidemic, and risk of cancer tends to increase with an HIV infection; news that people with HIV were found to have lower prostate cancer rates is a pleasant surprise. And in mixed news, another study showed that gay men with prostate cancer reported more physical discomfort and emotional issues related to their cancer, they also reported better sexual functioning.