A State By State Look At Transgender Equality In America

And the other biggest LGBTQ wellness stories of the week.
02/16/2017 11:24 am ET Updated Feb 16, 2017

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón, bring you a round up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Transgender Equality, State by State

Movement Advancement Project released a report on the status of trans equality in all 50 states, including access to healthcare and protection from discrimination. 26 states had a negative score regarding trans health – with many receiving negative points for denying trans healthcare in state insurance policies – while only 10 states plus D.C. received “high equality” scores.

Truth: Tell Big Tobacco to #StopProfiling

Mashable reported that the Truth Initiative launched a new ad campaign during the Grammys, showcasing how the tobacco industry “profiles” vulnerable groups such as African Americans, low-income individuals, and the LGBT community. The videos have already garnered millions of views on YouTube, where youth have apparently had enough of Big Tobacco.

Depression, Anxiety Vex Breast Cancer Survivors

Researchers found that among queer breast cancer survivors, 15.4% had borderline or significant levels of depression and 28.8% had those levels of anxiety. A total of 47.8% had experienced sexual orientation-based discrimination, but this seemed to be a source of both mental health problems and resilience. The researchers recommend interventions for queer survivors to build resilience against mental health challenges.

Queer Youth Searching for Support Online

A study found that many LGBT youth are driven to look online for a supportive community and access to information, relating to a lack of relevant sex education and support from adults. The good news? CenterLink (which produces this roundup), PFLAG, and Planned Parenthood are working on a Digital LGTQAI+ Center to fill that gap and provide resources online. Stay tuned!

Barriers Persist Despite Right to Care

Relatedly, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation released a report on access to transgender care in the Boston area. They found that while Massachusetts insurers are required to cover gender-affirming care, patients encountered many barriers, including vague rules on what is covered and for whom. They also found that competent providers were few and far between, and that waitlists for quality doctors “can be years long.”

Day Provides Reminder of HIV Disparities

The Hill published an op-ed on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, addressing the massive HIV disparity African Americans face and the additional burden faced by gay and bi African American men, of whom approximately one in two will contract HIV. The author calls for improved healthcare, sex education, and social services to end these disparities.

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