Special Report: Coronavirus Pandemic

Jim Parsons and Husband: Coronavirus Couple

Here's How You Can Support the LGBTQ Community



The Pride Study

LGBTQ Youth Need to Be Counted

LGBTQ People Have Higher Risk of Coronavirus

UN and WHO: COVID 19 May Caused 500K HIV-Related Deaths

Love and Compassion: Recognizing LGBTQ Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

Nurse's Guide to Caring for LGBTQ Patients

Conscience Rule Will Threaten LGBTQ Healthcare

NBC News: Hospitals Make Tremendous Strides Toward LGBTQ Inclusive Care

Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

LGBTQ Healthcare: To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am

Surgeon General Says LGBTQ Youth Should be a Priority

HRC: Healthcare Equality Index 2018

World Health Organization: Transgender Not a Disorder


LGBTQ Healthcare Publications: National LGBTQ Health Education Center



Coronavirus: LGBTQ Population at Higher Risk


The LGBTQ population may be at increased risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. To get the word out, over 100 national and local organizations have signed an open letter initiated by a coalition of six organizations. According to the letter, three main factors increase the vulnerability of the LGBTQ community to COVID-19:

--The LGBTQ population uses tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than the general population. This is relevant because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is harmful to smokers.

--The LGBTQ population has higher rates of cancer and HIV, both of which can compromise a person’s immune system and make someone more vulnerable to COVID-19.

--The LGBTQ population still faces discrimination, including in health care settings. This makes many people hesitate to seek care.
The letter also notes that because LGBTQ seniors may fear harassment or discrimination, they are less likely than straight elders to be involved in health and wellness programs for seniors. Over 3 million LGBTQ older people are living in the United States and they are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, which has a higher mortality rate among older people in general.

The initial signers include the National LGBTQ Cancer Network, GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Whitman-Walker Health, SAGE, New York Transgender Advocacy Group and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

COVID-19 Poses Higher Risk to LGBTQ Population

LGBTQ People Have Higher Risk of Coronavirus

Coronavirus Poses Increased Risk to LGBTQ People

Coronavirus: Added Risk to LGBTQ Community


Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm


In enacting the ban on transgender troops, President Trump stated, "The US government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military."


Dr. Juno Obedin-Maliver is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Along with Dr. Mitchell Lunn, Dr. Obedin-Maliver is the Co-Director of The PRIDE Study, the first large-scale, long-term national health study of people who identify in the United States. He says there is no rationale for the president's cruelty, except being cruel.  Here are his further comments, as reported in Advocate Magazine:

Astounded. Alarmed. That’s how I’m feeling right now (as a doctor, as a researcher, and as a queer person) while our government threatens to erase the existence and experiences of transgender and gender expansive people.

Trump's transgender military ban has become reality: openly transgender people cannot join the military — and many who are already within its ranks can face discharge if they receive a gender dysphoria diagnosis while serving. According to guidelines from The Pentagon, trans service members will be required to serve according to “the standards associated with their biological sex” and cannot “serve in their preferred gender.”


This is not a fringe issue. This is a deliberate move to define personhood in a very particular way — a straight, white, male cisgender-dominated, Republican, wealthy, colonial way. But news flash: Sex is not binary. Gender is not binary. And sex and gender don’t always match. In short, some men have vaginas. Some women have penises. And some people have both.

Today I worked on three projects: one about challenges to abortion and contraception for trans masculine and gender expansive people, one about family-building and fertility preservation for transgender people, and another about contraception and abortion for sexual minority women, especially lesbian and bisexual women. What all of these projects have in common is that they arise from the understanding that health care is worse when we don’t acknowledge all of who people are, and the totality of their experiences.

That includes acknowledging the existence of more than two genders and recognizing that people’s gender can be potentially different from their sex assigned at birth. When our laws define sex as either male or female, and gender as either woman or man, real people receive worse care, avoid care, or are harmed in the process of getting health care. Legislating the fallacy of binary sex won’t make things better for anyone.

In fact, there is tons of evidence that shows denying the existence of transgender people and their health care needs and resiliencies leads to worse health care. On the other hand, when we call people by their affirmed names, use their self-identified pronouns, and provide services needed to transgender people, health outcomes improve. Challenges to fully participate in civic life will also become easier—whether it’s getting a job, obtaining a driver’s license, having health insurance, or going to school. Our country and military benefits by more diversity, not less.


Denying the reality of who people are including that someone’s gender and sex assigned at birth are different, makes life unsafe. It exposes people to violence and vitriol. When this country is unsafe for anyone — specifically immigrants, people of color, and transgender people (and especially folks who live in all of these domains at the same time) — it is unsafe for us all. We are all hurt by narrowed definitions of humanity that only seek to limit the possibilities of life. We are all diminished when some among us are rendered invisible, cloaking the true diversity of nature and humanity.

We must all fight now because our lives depend on it. Even if you are not LGBTQ or trans specifically, we must stand strong and be heard. Now.

This fight must be waged beyond the ballot box. Speak out. Write op-eds. Talk to friends and families. Tell people about the lives of trans folks and how this ban flies in the face of science and what is supported in medicine. Do what you can in your jobs and in your free time. Support trans-run programs, projects, and businesses with time, money, and visibility. Hold people accountable to being trans-inclusive and supportive. Teach your kids not to assume gender or ascribe gendered activities to people. And while you’re at it, teach yourself to do the same: it can be tough to unlearn that life is more than either/or, but it’s not hard to understand if you simply respect, listen, and love people as who they are.

For the nearly 1.5 million trans people in the US, I will keep fighting every day to make sure your lives are recognized, respected, and that we make medicine and health care a better place for you all and all of us in the process. I hope you’ll join me.


[Source: Juno Obedin-Maliver, MD, Advocate Magazine, April 2019]


The Pride Study

Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

Advancing Healthcare for the LGBTQ Community

Info: LGBTQ Mental Health and Wellness

Conscience Rule Will Threaten LGBTQ Healthcare

LGBTQ Healthcare: To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am

Creating LGBTQ Friendly Communities in Healthcare and Education

Advocate Mag: LGBTQ Friendly Hospitals

High Rates of Depression Among Rural LGBTQ Population
Info: Alcohol/Drug Abuse

Foundation for Better Understanding: The Health of LGBTQ People


Unique Healthcare Vulnerabilities for LGBTQ People


In 2010, more than half of LGBTQ people reported being discriminated against by a health care providers and more than 25 percent of transgender respondents reported being refused medical care outright. Since then, LGBTQ people have gained protections from health care discrimination—most notably, regulations stemming from the Affordable Care Act  have prohibited federally funded hospitals, providers, and insurers from discriminating against LGBTQ patients. Despite progress, LGBTQ people, and transgender people in particular, remain vulnerable to healthcare discrimination: In 2015, one-third of transgender people who saw a health care provider reported “at least one negative experience related to being transgender.” These negative experiences included being refused treatment or even being physically assaulted. Transgender people of color and people with disabilities reported particularly high rates of discrimination from health care providers.


Unsurprisingly, people in these vulnerable groups are especially likely to avoid doctor’s offices, postponing both preventative and needed medical care:

--23.5 percent of transgender respondents avoided doctors’ offices in the past year, versus 4.4 percent of cisgender LGBQ respondents
--13.7 percent of disabled LGBTQ respondents avoided doctors’ offices in the past year, versus 4.2 percent of nondisabled LGBTQ respondents
--10.3 percent of LGBTQ people of color avoided doctors’ offices in the past year, versus 4.2 percent of white LGBTQ respondents

These findings are consistent with research that has also identified patterns of health care discrimination against people of color and disabled people. For example, one survey of health care practices in five major cities found that more than one in five practices were inaccessible to patients who used wheelchairs.

[Source: Sejal Singh and Laura E. Durso, May 2017]


USA Today: LGBTQ Tolerance Survey by GLAAD

CDC: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Graph: GLAAD Tolerance Survey

Center for American Progress: Widespread LGBTQ Discrimination

USA Today: Review of LGBTQ Equality Over the Past Decade

Battles the LGBTQ Community is Still Fighting

Human Rights Watch: Anti-LGBTQ Laws Around the World


LGBTQ Health Report


The Division of Gender, Sexuality & Health, at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, wrote this report regarding LGBTQ health issues.


Over the past decade, and especially in the past few years, there have been sweeping changes in US society, law, and public policy, including the following:

--In 2003, the Supreme Court invalidated all remaining anti-sodomy laws in its ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.

--In 2004, individual states began adopting same-sex marriage.

--In 2010, the “It Gets Better” online campaign was launched, a signal of growing societal support for LGBTQ youths, parents, and families. It now has over 50,000 videos and 50 million views on YouTube.

--In 2011, the federal government repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy in the military and articulated LGBTQ rights as a foreign policy goal.


--In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on the health of LGBTQ people. Federal agencies such as CDC, SAMHSA, and others have also highlighted the issue.

--In 2012, marriage equality was endorsed by President Obama, the Democratic Party’s platform, and a plurality of poll respondents.

--In 2013, President Barack Obama, in his second inaugural address, articulated equality for a LGBTQ people as a priority area of his administration.

--In 2013, the Supreme Court allowed the restoration of marriage equality in California and struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prohibited the federal government from recognizing married same-sex couples.

--In 2014, a range of challenges to state same-sex marriage bans are being pursued and the federal government continues to proactively implement the Supreme Court's partial overturning of DOMA.


--In 2015, the US Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.


Troubling Statistics

Despite these advances, the health and mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals has emerged as a major concern across the nation. Numerous examples of stigmatization, discrimination and health inequities have been documented, including the following:

--Increased rate of suicide attempts and of homelessness among LGBTQ youth (Estimates indicate that as many as 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ).

--Decreased utilization by lesbians of preventive services for cancer and increased risk factors and elevated rates of cancer (Estimated relative risk of invasive breast cancer among lesbians is 1.74).

--Higher risk of HIV and STDs among gay men, especially in communities of color (From 2006-2009, gay men accounted for 56-61% of all new HIV infections; MSM 13–29 represented more than 27% of all new HIV infections; among MSM 13-29, HIV among black MSM was up 48%).

--High prevalence among transgender individuals of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicidal ideation (41% of trans respondents reported suicide attempt vs. 1.6% of the general population; 23% were impacted by at least three major life-disrupting events due to bias.)

--Barriers to health faced by elderly LGBTQ individuals because of isolation, and lack of social services and culturally competent providers (Older LGBTQ people are 2 times as likely to live alone; 1/3 plan to hide LGBTQ status if in long-term care).

Higher rates of mental health morbidities and tobacco, alcohol, other drug use (Alcohol abuse and smoking are more than 2 times greater among LGBTQ people).

--A significant proportion of people with serious mental illness (SMI) in the US are LGBTQ (Estimates suggest that about 720,000, or about 4% of people with SMI, are LGBTQ).

At the same time, new areas of concern are also emerging across the lifespan, such as:

--children "coming out" at ever-younger ages.
--schools trying to tackle the problem of bullying.
--early medical interventions becoming available for transgender youth.
--new family dynamics emerging among same-sex couples who are legally married and/or who are raising children.
--the first large cohort of openly LGBTQ people becoming senior citizens.


These are no longer merely potential or emerging issues with regard to mental and physical health. Rather, they are immediate and pressing needs demanding focused efforts in research, clinical practice, education, and public policy. Yet far too few LGBTQ individuals, particularly from within poor and marginalized communities have access to the quality services they need. Through the LGBTQ Health Initiative, we aim to address these and many other related issues.

HHS: LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing

HRC: Healthcare Equality Index 2018

Info: Aging/Elder Care

Creating LGBTQ Friendly Communities in Healthcare and Education

2016 Was a Banner Year for AIDS/HIV Research

Info: Safe Sex

Pediatrician Group Endorses Affirming Care for Trans Youth

LGBTQ Health Link

US Health & Human Services Reports: LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing

Ethical Guidelines for Professionals Working With LGBTQ Clients

Info: Reparative Therapy

Foundation for Better Understanding: The Health of LGBTQ People

Huff Post: LGBTQ Wellness

I Have to Show You Something



LGBTQ Access to Care and Coverage

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals often face challenges and barriers to accessing needed health services and, as a result, can experience worse health outcomes. These challenges can include stigma, discrimination, violence, and rejection by families and communities, as well as other barriers, such as inequality in the workplace and health insurance sectors, the provision of substandard care, and outright denial of care because of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

While sexual and gender minorities have many of the same health concerns as the general population, they experience certain health challenges at higher rates, and also face several unique health challenges. In particular, research suggests that some subgroups of the LGBTQ community have more chronic conditions as well as higher prevalence and earlier onset of disabilities than heterosexuals. Other major health concerns include HIV/AIDS, mental illness, substance use, and sexual and physical violence. In addition to the higher rates of illness and health challenges, some LGBTQ individuals are more likely to experience challenges obtaining care. Barriers include gaps in coverage, cost-related hurdles, and poor treatment from health care providers.

[Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015]

National LGBTQ Cancer Network

Info: Alcohol/Drug Abuse

LGBTQ and Public Health
Info: LGBTQ Mental Health

CDC: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

NIH: Launches Call for Input on LGBTQ Health

HRC: Healthcare Equality Index 2018



Gay & Lesbian Health Association


LGBTQ Medical Issues

LGBTQ individuals are as diverse as the general population in terms of race, ethnicity, age, religion, education, income, and family history. A number of health concerns are unique to or shared by the LGBTQ community, however, including an increased risk of certain cancers, infectious and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and mental health disorders; issues relating to nutrition and weight, tobacco use, and substance abuse; and discrimination by health care and insurance providers.

The definitions of different sexual identities have shifted over the years, as have the perceptions and stereo-types of the general population. Because of the wide range of behaviors and identities that exist in the LGBTQ community, it is difficult to develop an inclusive definition. It is generally accepted, however, that gay men and lesbians are sexually attracted to or participate in sexual behaviors with individuals of the same gender, while bisexual men and women are sexually attracted to or participate in sexual behaviors with individuals of both genders. Transgender individuals live part- or full-time in a gender role opposite to their genetic sex.

It is estimated that approximately 2.8% of men and 1.4% of women identify as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual while 9.1% of men and 4.3% of women have participated in sexual behavior with someone of the same gender at least once. The true extent of the transgender community has not been well researched in the United States; one study from the Netherlands in 1993 found that one in 11,900 males and one in 30,400 females are transgender.

Info: Safe Sex

Reporting on Health: LGBTQ Health Issues
Healthline: Gay and Lesbian Health

Info: Reparative Therapy

Doing the Right Thing for Transgender Health

PrEP Directory Goes Live

LGBTQ Health Professional Journal

Info: Ageing/Elder Care

Nurse's Guide to Caring for LGBTQ Patients



LGBTQ People and Mental Health Issues

Most LGBTQ people have had mental health issues because of their jobs. Mental health issues in the workplace are a common occurrence for LGBTQ people, according to a poll conducted by YouGov on the behalf of Business in the Community and Mercer.

72% percent of LGBTQ employees have experienced mental health issues as a result of their workplace.


The survey also showed that a little more than a quarter of LGBTQ employees are not open about their sexual orientation in the workplace, and 28% of LGBTQ upper management and owners have been encouraged to hide their sexual orientation.

What’s more, people of color who were also LGBTQ were twice as likely to face negativity from customers and clients than their white LGBTQ counterparts.

Customers or colleagues have physically attacked 7% of LGBTQ workers, with that number rising to 13% among blue-collar workers. That also includes 15% of people of color, 20% of non-binary identified people, and 30% of seniors.

Additionally, 9% felt that being seen as LGBTQ prevented them from getting a job or a promotion, with 6% saying that it as a significant factor losing a job in the past year.

According to the report, good employee mental health is crucial to running a successful, sustainable organization. These numbers point to failures in handling employee mental health, particularly for LGBTQ and other minority populations in the workplace.

The report, titled “Seizing the Moment,” is Business in the Community’s 2018 report on mental health at work.

[Source: Gwendolyn Smith, LGBTQ Nation, October 2018]


On the Job: LGBTQ People and Mental Health Issues

NAMI: How Mental Health Conditions Affect LGBTQ Community

Family Doctor: LGBTQ Mental Health Issues

LGBTQ Healthcare: To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am

Ethical Guidelines for Professionals Working With LGBTQ Clients

Info: LGBTQ Mental Health

Mental Help: Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community

Counseling Today: Promoting LGBTQ Wellness

Creating LGBTQ Friendly Communities in Healthcare and Education


Puberty Blockers

Puberty blockers (puberty inhibitors, puberty suppressors, hormone suppressors) are a group of medications used to inhibit puberty. They were originally used to treat children with precocious puberty or other such early onset of puberty. Puberty blockers are commonly used for the transgender community. In this community, puberty blockers are used to provide transgender youth with time to further explore their identity, while halting the development of their predisposed sex characteristics caused by the onset of puberty.

The medication that is used in order to stop puberty comes in two forms: injections or an implant.

Puberty blockers prevent the development of biological secondary sex characteristics. They slow the growth of sexual organs and production of hormones. Other effects include the suppression of male features of facial hair, deep voices, and Adam's apples for children and adolescents and the halting of female features of breast development and menstruation.

Transgender youth are a specific target population of puberty blockers. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists (leuprorelin, histrelin) to halt puberty, can be used for transgender youth before the development of natal secondary sex characteristics.

Puberty blockers serve the transgender community by giving future trans men and trans women more time to solidify their gender identity, without developing secondary sex characteristics. If a child later decides not to transition to another gender, the effects of puberty blockers can be reversed by stopping the medication. Another function of puberty blockers is that it gives the future transgender individual a smoother transition into their desired gender identity as an adult.

Wikipedia: Puberty Blockers

Health Topic: Blocking Puberty in Transgender Youth

Video: Struggles of Transgender Youth

AMA: Suppression of Puberty in transgender Children

Info: Transgender

Puberty Blockers and Hormones for Trans Kids

Video: Trans Youth Share Struggles and Hopes


LGBTQ Health Issues and Sexual Concerns

There are a number of issues that arise when trying to define sexual orientation. Many gay men and lesbians have participated in or continue to participate in sexual activities with members of the opposite sex but choose not to identify as heterosexuals or bisexuals. Others have never participated in sexual activities at all yet still identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Some men and women identifying as bisexuals are in long-term, monogamous relationships with individuals of the same or opposite sex. Male-to-female (MTF) or female-to-male (FTM) transgender individuals may or may not identify themselves as gay or lesbian.


The implications of these identity issues are far-reaching. Misdiagnoses or improper medical recommendations might come from health care providers who have mistakenly assumed sexual behaviors or risks from the patient's stated identity. For example, a provider might incorrectly assume that a lesbian patient has never had sexual intercourse with a male and therefore would not have contracted STDs not normally transmitted by sexual activities between women. It has been difficult to closely estimate the numbers of LGBTQ individuals in the United States because of varying definitions. Likewise, the statistics in medical or social studies and surveys on LGBTQ issues might vary widely depending on what definitions were provided for the respondents. Because of this, many researchers have opted for the more inclusive terms of "men who have sex with men" (MSM) and "women who have sex with women" (WSW) to categorize gay, lesbian, and bisexual respondents.

Info: Reparative Therapy

HRC Healthcare Equality Index

Advancing Healthcare for the LGBTQ Community


Gay & Lesbian Medical Association

CDC: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

How Medical Schools Are Failing the LGBTQ Community


LGBTQ Health and Coming Out

Many LGBTQ individuals have difficulty revealing their sexual identity ("coming out") to their health care providers. They may fear discrimination from providers or believe that their confidentiality might be breached. In some cases health care workers have been poorly trained to address the needs of LGBTQ individuals or have difficulty communicating with their LGBTQ patient (one study indicated that 40% of physicians are uncomfortable providing care for gay or lesbian patients). In addition, many questions posed in questionnaires or examinations are heterosexually biased (asking a lesbian which birth control methods she uses or a gay man if he is married, single, or divorced).

Other reasons why LGBTQ individuals are often hesitant to share their sexual identity are more logistical. Many insurance companies deny benefits to long-term partners on the basis that they are not married. LGBTQ patients may have inadequate access to health care, either because they live in a remote rural area or in the crowded inner city. Some same-sex partners encounter discrimination in hospitals and clinics when they are denied the rights usually given to spouses of a patient such as visiting, making medical decisions, and participating in consultations with physicians.

Understanding & Eliminating Health Disparities in the LGBTQ Community

Kaiser Family Foundation: LGBTQ Health & Access to Care & Coverage

APA: LGBTQ Health Disparities

US Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion: LGBTQ Health Update

Ethical Guidelines for Professionals Working With LGBTQ Clients

Foundation for Better Understanding: The Health of LGBTQ People

Info: LGBTQ Mental Health


LGBTQ Medical Notes: Risk Factors

Some of the health concerns and risk factors that are relevant to LBGTQ individuals may be shared by the general population, while others are more specific to the LGBTQ community, and still others are specific to different subgroups of LGBTQ individuals. These health concerns may be grouped into the following areas of concern:

Sexual behavior issues: STDs such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and genital warts (human papillomavirus or HPV); anal, ovarian, and cervical cancer.

Cultural issues: body image, nutrition, weight, and eating disorders; drug and alcohol abuse; tobacco use; parenting and family planning.

Discrimination issues: inadequate medical care; harassment at work, school, or home; difficulty in obtaining housing, insurance coverage, or child custody; violence.

Sexual identity issues: conflicts with family, friends, and work mates; psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide; economic hardship.


The Pride Study

LGBTQ Youth Need to Be Counted

Nurse's Guide to Caring for LGBTQ Patients

Conscience Rule Will Threaten LGBTQ Healthcare

Creating LGBTQ Friendly Communities in Healthcare and Education

Info: LGBTQ Mental Health

NBC News: Hospitals Make Tremendous Strides Toward LGBTQ Inclusive Care

Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

LGBTQ Healthcare: To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am

Surgeon General Says LGBTQ Youth Should be a Priority

HRC: Healthcare Equality Index 2018

World Health Organization: Transgender Not a Disorder

Info: Living With AIDS/HIV

LGBTQ Healthcare Publications: National LGBTQ Health Education Center

I Have to Show You Something



QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017