The “Acting With Compassion & Truth (ACT)” is a restorative justice education program about LGBTQ held at San Quentin, California’s oldest prison at the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Marin County. The goal of the education program is to bring together prisoners to heal and work toward a better world for LGBTQ people. The curriculum draws parallels between straight inmates and their LGBTQ peers, and provides learning tools (e.g., “The Genderbread Man”) to distinguish gender and sexual orientation.
California is leading the way with LGBTQ curricula being included in K-12 public schools. Under the FAIR Education Act, it became a mandated law in 2011, allowing students to learn about LGBTQ history. A growing number of states are following suit, moving to mandate inclusive K-12 curricula in their public school systems. Challenges that arise include instructing teachers who may have never learned about LGBTQ history themselves, and debates amongst conservative and religious parents who deem the curriculum offensive or inappropriate.
In the past decade, California has adopted more than a half-dozen laws intended to prevent bullying, strengthen suicide prevention, and cultivate inclusive learning environments for LGBTQ students in the state’s public schools. However, the challenge remains in the implementation of these laws. Of the 130 K-12 school districts that participated in this years-long survey effort, 22 school districts were given “top tier” ratings, 80 were considered “middle tier,” and 28 districts were labeled “priority districts,” the lowest rating. Advocates and legislators have heightened their focus on policies that are more inclusive of LGBTQ students, as research generally shows that these students are more likely to drop out and experience bullying and attempted suicides at rates higher than the rest of their peers.
The Oakland Museum of California is holding an exhibit of LGBTQ history and culture through telling “Untold Stories” of various individuals, including a story about a World War II army veteran. The display will be held through August 11, 2019. Tickets and more information may be found at: museumca.org.
LGBTQ Asians Defend California’s Sanctuary Cities Ordinance
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander (NQAPIA)
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander (NQAPIA) is helping fight the Trump Administration’s lawsuits to block three laws passed in 2017 that curtail how private employers, local prisons and jails, and local law enforcement work with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). NQAPIA is taking a stance regarding the concerns of LGBTQ Asian American immigrants, because APIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States today and the largest segment of new immigrants. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT.
2019 Legislative Tracker
Freedom for All Americans
Freedom for All Americans is tracking each relevant LGBTQ-related bill in 2019 in partnership with the Equality Federation. This Legislation Tracker is an online tool to find legislation by state and/or category. Navigation categories include: anti-transgender, local control, religious refusal, and pro-LGBTQ nondiscrimination. Each bill can be clicked on to read more information about it, including sponsors, latest action, bill status, and a density map on where the most legislation is being considered.
We have been taught in school that pronouns are binary (she or he) and singular vs. plural (she or they). Yet today, pronouns used in social and work settings may not subscribe to these rules. For example, many people who identify as gender non-binary (not distinctly male or female) use the pronouns “they/them/theirs” as individuals. Meeting planners have a responsibility to create welcoming and affirming meeting spaces. This brief tip sheet provides standard guidelines and helpful tips for setting up inclusive meetings in professional and social settings.
In a recent study, researchers looked at national data on 10,311 suicides in effort to illuminate the circumstances, and unique factors associated with fatalities for young people with diverse sexual and gender identities. Youth 12 to 14 years old who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are much more likely to die by suicide than their heterosexual peers, a disparity that persists but becomes less pronounced by early adulthood, a U.S. study suggests. “Suicide is not caused because of their LGBT identity, but rather by how the world reacts to their identity,” said John Ayers, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego who wasn’t involved in the study.
New Research Shows School-Based Mental Health Professionals have a Serious Lack of Training to Support LGBTQ Students
Globe News Wire
School mental health providers (SMHPs) play a critical role in the wellbeing of LGBTQ students. A new report conducted by GLSEN, Supporting Safe and Healthy Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Students, indicates that the majority of SMHPs surveyed hold positive attitudes regarding LGBTQ students and feel they have an important role to play in supporting these students. However, many SMHPs do not receive LGBTQ-inclusive graduate education and professional development opportunities. The report identifies a strong need for education and training efforts for SMHPs. Key infographics for social media and reports may be found here.
GLSEN undertook the Supporting Safe and Healthy Schools study to provide a detailed examination of school mental health providers’ perspectives and experiences regarding their support of LGBTQ students. The data reveals that despite a lack of critical training and resources, school counselors, psychologists, and social workers hold positive attitudes towards and work to support LGBTQ students. The report found that 37% of school mental health professionals (SMHPs) never received any formal training on LGBTQ student issues during their career. The report provides recommendations on how schools can address this issue, including: improving SMHPs’ graduate education curricula by including more LGBTQ-related content; encouraging school districts to hire sufficient numbers of SMHPs to address the needs of LGBTQ students and their families; and advocating for adequate funding for school mental health services at both the state and the federal levels.
Military Special: LGBT Patriotism from Gay Ban to Trans Ban
Los Angeles Blade
December 22 marks the eighth anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” law banning lesbians and gay men from serving openly in the US Armed Forces. This special issue is a glimpse of the long battle for LGBT full patriotic equality—from gay World War II vets enjoying the freedom of authenticity during the 1993 March on Washington to trans plaintiffs riding in LA’s 2017 CSW Pride Parade.
The Ugly History of LGBT Discrimination
Los Angeles Blade
This article highlights the history of LGBT discrimination dating back to World War II. With the war came defense factories, including in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco where gay people found each other, developed community, and laid the groundwork for the civil rights and liberation movements of the 1950s and 1960s. “The theme of the Trump Administration with regard to LGBT people is erasure. And in this time of erasure, it is vital that gay, lesbian, and trans Americans understand their history and the roots of this terrible discrimination in the military,” Charles Francis, President of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., told the Los Angeles Blade.
This article describes the irony of the institution of the church: Jesus paving the way for Christian theology welcoming all people unconditionally, yet, many Christian leaders and religious institutions continue to fight for its cultural privilege to discriminate against “those its uncomfortable with”. Shifts in Christian leadership and social expectations have shifted towards inclusion; however, discrimination still persists. This Christmas season, many churches across the world are taking a stance, proclaiming the message of love for all people.
The University of New Mexico, Project ECHO
TransECHO uses the Project ECHO model (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) to work with health centers to create systems of care that support transgender and gender non-binary patients. Project ECHO is a collaborative telemetering model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live. This is an opportunity for health centers to learn from experts and apply those learnings to increase the availability of culturally responsible, comprehensive primary care for transgender and gender non-binary people. Highlights of the program have included didactic presentations on topics such as “Feminizing and Masculinizing Hormone Therapy,” “Surgical Gender Affirmation,” “Intersectionality,” and “Provider Bias: Working with Transgender and Non-Binary Identified People.”
Equality California sponsored 17 pieces of pro-equality legislation in Sacramento this year, 10 of which were signed into law. These laws will increase access to services for LGBTQ older adults, provide training for teachers and school staff to prevent bullying and harassment and ensure local hate crimes policies are updated regularly. In addition to these efforts, Equality California worked with the Legislature to secure crucial investments in LGBTQ health and well-being, including $25 million to address youth homelessness, $1.7 million for suicide prevention training in schools, $45,000 to update the state’s model policy on hate crimes and $90.3 million to ensure the 2020 Census fairly and accurately counts Californians.
Mentoring LGBTQI and Gender Nonconforming Youth
National Mentoring Resource Center
This review examines research on mentoring for youth who are LGBTQ, intersex, and gender nonconforming (LGBTQI-GNC). A growing body of literature has identified patterns of risks faced by LGBTQI-GNC youth and points also to the types of support that may be most closely associated with facilitating positive outcomes in this population. The considerations in this review offer insight into the potential of mentoring relationships and programs to respond to the unique challenges, risks, and needs of LGBTQI-GNC youth. However, because of the scarcity of research specifically answering questions posed by this review, evidence-based conclusions cannot be reached at this time.
Factors Impacting Implementation of Evidence-Based Strategies to Create Safe and Supportive Schools for Sexual and Gender Minority Students
Evidence-based strategies to ensure school safety and supports for SGM youth in the U.S. remain underutilized nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends six evidence-based strategies to improve safety and support for sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth in U.S. schools. This qualitative study highlights several outer- and inner-context factors impacting the ability of high schools and their staff to implement these evidence-based strategies. These can be used to inform the development of implementation strategies to modify school health systems from within to best support evidence-based practices for SGM youth and other stigmatized populations.
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Tools by Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA)
While the term “minority” is traditionally associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities within the US, Mental Health America (MHA) is focused on expanding this term to include individuals from a wide-range of marginalized and underserved communities, including those who may identify as part of the the LGBTQ+ spectrum, refugee and immigrant groups, religious groups, and others who are often overlooked. MHA launched #MyStoryMyWay campaign to increase awareness of minority mental health awareness and education.
Community Conversations About Mental Health by SAMHSA
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Community Conversations About Mental Health provides information on holding a community dialogue that builds awareness and support around mental health issues. The Toolkit contains briefs, guides, and other resources designed to help people promote mental health and access to treatment and recovery services within their communities.
Minority Mental Health Awareness Tools by SAMHSA
HHS Office of Minority Health
During National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, the HHS Office of Minority Health will join partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to help raise awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations. Downloadable tools include materials, graphics, and health resources.
While the Trump administration has tightened regulations on asylum qualifications related to gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants still can request asylum on the basis of persecution for their L.G.B.T. identity. But their chances of success are far from certain, and the journey to even reach the American border is especially risky for L.G.B.T. migrants. There are no numbers available disclosing how many L.G.B.T. migrants seek asylum at the border each year or their success rate, but lawyers and activists say that the number of gay, lesbian and trans people seeking asylum each year is at least in the hundreds.
National Healthcare Qualities and Disparities Report
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The report assesses the performance of our health care system and identifies areas of strengths and weaknesses, as well as disparities, for access to health care and quality of health care. Data show differences in utilization of mental health care and substance abuse treatment in large urban areas and small rural areas. High rates of utilization in emergency department visits may point to challenges in coordination of care and inadequate access.
LGBTQ Pride is traditionally celebrated in June, and provides safe spaces for community building and a venue for LGBTQ advocates to rally supporters. This article explains the history of Pride month and some of the fundraising events that took place. The Pride Run, for instance, each year raises funds for a different LGBTQ organization. This year, contributions are going to the True Colors Fund, which advocates on LGBTQ homelessness. In the past, the run supported the Anti-Violence Project, Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the It Gets Better Project, the Ali Forney Center, and Immigration Equality, among others. For a list of upcoming events, visit 2018 Gay Pride Calendar.
LGB High Schoolers Are More Likely Than Their Straight Peers to Feel Sad or Hopeless, or Attempt Suicide
In 2017, high school students who identified as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) were twice as likely as their straight peers to report feeling sad or hopeless—and four times as likely to have attempted suicide. Research suggests that schools can foster well-being among students who identify as LGBTQ by adopting evidence-based curricula, programs, and services that explicitly promote their health and well-being. This includes implementing activities such as gay-straight alliances and sexual education that address the needs of sexual minority youth.
2019 NorCal AIDS Cycle
NorCal Aids Cycle
From May 16 to 19, 2019, NorCal AIDS Cycle will ride again to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS service providers in the Sacramento Valley and beyond! In 2017 the NorCal AIDS Cycle distributed $120,000 to its 15 beneficiaries. This amounts to almost 70% of the funds raised by participants and makes NCAC the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the Sacramento and Northern California region.
Addressing Opioid Use Disorder Among LGBTQ Populations
National LGBT Health Education Center
Opioid use disorder has reached an alarming rate in the United States. As a population disproportionately affected by substance use disorders (SUDs), the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community has not been spared from the opioid epidemic. This brief discusses the impact that opioid use disorder has on the LGBTQ community. It highlights best practices, trauma-informed care, and behavioral health integration into primary care.
HHS Proposes Rollback of ACA Transgender Protections
American Medical Association
The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed rolling back Affordable Care Act rules that prevent doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people. The proposal comes after a Texas judge ruled that the transgender protections were “contrary to law and exceeded statutory authority.” James L. Madara, MD, “the chief executive of the American Medical Association, urged the administration to preserve the existing protections for transgender people,” emphasizing that the AMA “‘stands behind’ those protections and ‘opposes any modifications to the rule that would jeopardize the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning, and/or Gender Nonconforming and Transgender Girls and Boys in the California Juvenile Justice System: A Practice Guide
California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). Each Mind Matters.
This practice guide is designed to support California probation departments in meeting their obligation to promote the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, and/or gender nonconforming and transgender (LGBQ/GNCT) youth in their care and custody. The guide summarizes research showing that LGBQ/GNCT youth are significantly overrepresented in the state’s juvenile justice system, and are at higher risk than their peers for a host of negative outcomes. Based on these findings and emerging legal and professional standards, the guide recommends policies and procedures to prohibit discrimination, prevent harm, and promote fair and equitable treatment of LGBQ/GNCT youth in the state’s juvenile justice system.
Be True and Be You
California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). Each Mind Matters.
This brochure discusses caring for your mental health as an LGBTQ+ young adult, including information on sexual orientation, gender identity, and coming out; healthy relationships; common mental health challenges and their symptoms; when to reach out for support; and your rights as a young person seeking support.
LGBT Mental Health and Aging Support Guide
California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). Each Mind Matters.
This guide provides information on mental health for older LGBT adults, including considerations around caregiving, legal affairs, rejection and discrimination, and getting the support you need as you move into older adulthood.
Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams, Updated February 2018
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). National LGBT Health Education Center.
Language is powerful and influences many of our interactions. As a health care provider, becoming familiar with terms used by LGBT communities can help provide patients with the highest quality care. This glossary does not have every term used by the community, but includes terms most commonly used when patients are accessing health care. It is important to keep in mind that language can change over time, and so this glossary will be updated periodically to reflect those changes.
New Videos Demonstrate Best Practices in SO/GI Data Collection
National LGBT Health Education Center
These videos demonstrate common questions and issues that arise for frontline and clinical staff when asking patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity. These videos are intended to provide a valuable training tool for health care staff looking for sample language and best practices.
Despite ongoing discriminatory decrees by the Trump Administration, the Justice Department is proceeding with recruiting transgender servicemembers after spending a year and a half to determine it would not create any problems in troop morale, health expenditures, or military readiness. A government-commissioned RAND study released in May 2016 found that policy changes to open more roles, “had benefits for all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force.”
A new study finds that 27 percent, or 796,000, of California’s youth, ages 12 to 17, report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school. The study, released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, analyzed data collected from nearly 1,600 California households in the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey. It was found that gender nonconforming youth were more than twice as likely to have experienced psychological distress in the past year.
Demographic and Health Characteristics of Transgender Adults in California: Findings from 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey
This report provides the first look at demographics, health, and health care access among transgender adults in California who participated in the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). The outcomes reflect the systemic oppression and discrimination many transgender and gender nonconforming people experience. Compared to cisgender adults, transgender adults are more than three times more likely to have ever thought about suicide and nearly six times more likely to have ever attempted suicide. These findings call for future research to explain existing disparities and similarities, as well as for the creation of structural and clinical interventions that will improve health care access and mental and physical health outcomes for the transgender population.
The Open Society Foundations support a variety of groups and individuals to uphold intersex rights. Intersex is a term that describes a range of variations to sex characteristics—such as chromosomes, genitalia, and hormones—that occur naturally. Intersex people often experience prejudice and discrimination because their bodies do not conform to other people’s expectations about sex and gender. This article discusses definitions, history, and the background on the rights and repercussions of “normalizing” surgical options.
Dr. Jack Drescher discusses changes in the DSM-5 and ICD-11 that are meant to improve accuracy and reduce stigma but retain access to care. It was discovered that removal of the diagnosis “gender identity and sexuality disorders” might be problematic, as a diagnosis is what allows access to health care services. It becomes an argument of access to care versus stigma. Due to the stigmatizing nature of “disorder,” he discusses the transition in diagnosis from “gender identity and sexuality disorders” to “gender identity and sexuality dysphoria.” This effort parallels the effort to remove “homosexuality” from the DSMII in 1973. He also discusses the narrowing of the criteria to meet the diagnosis of “gender and sexuality dysphonia,” post-transition specifiers, and the decision to move “gender incongruence” from the ICD-11 section “Mental Disorders” into the section “Conditions Related to Sexual Health.”
Trans Lifeline is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the well-being of transgender people. They run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis, including people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While their goal is to prevent self-harm, they welcome the call of any transgender person in need.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are challenging the constitutionality of the recent ban on military service with a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, Gender Justice League, and multiple service members. The plaintiffs contend that the ban undermines constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process, and free speech. The ban on transgender service members was previously lifted in July 2016 in response to a government-commissioned RAND study that determined the cost of transition-related care is exceedingly small, there are no readiness implications to prevent transgender members from serving openly, and numerous foreign militaries successfully permit open service.
Immigration Equality is a leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization. They provide legal services and engage in policy advocacy for people worldwide fleeing from persecution due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Resources on their website include an Asylum Manual and legal information on an array of relevant immigration topics, including DACA.
The Mountain States Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) is hosting a webinar training series on the history of tribes and treaties, utilization of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services standards (National CLAS Standards), cultural sensitivity when working with tribal communities, and the impact of cultural needs assessments. Participant learning objectives include understanding health care in Indian Country, and understanding health equity challenges in tribal communities.
Napa County’s Upvalley communities were awarded a $1 million state grant for Napa’s LGBTQ Connection initiative that will be expand its services so that it can support youth in Upvalley, Sonoma Valley, Napa and Santa Rosa. The grant could also help communities across the state develop similar programs for LGBTQ youth and community initiatives.
The inaugural Supporting the Well-Being of System-Involved LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program will run from October 17-20, 2017 at Georgetown University in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Impact Justice. The curriculum will focus on the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth in child-serving systems (including juvenile justice, child welfare, education and behavioral health) as well as strengths and protective factors common to the population, and will highlight effective policy and practice reforms that promote positive youth development and take a holistic approach to addressing their needs. Applications are due by July 7, 2017.
With an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans in the US, this article highlights testimonials and statistics from two research studies, Transgender Military Service in the United States,” and “Prior Military Service, Identity Stigma, and Mental Health Among Transgender Older Adults”. Reports indicate transgender people serve in the military at higher rates than cisgender people (15% vs 9%), and while they experience depression at higher rates that cisgender veterans, military service appears to have positive, long-term effects on mental health and quality of life.
This article discusses conversion therapy, sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy.” These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory which has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization for decades. There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and a great deal of evidence such attempts are psychologically harmful, including increases in suicide among youth. California outlawed gay conversion therapy in 2012, calling it ineffective and harmful.
For years, LGBTQ groups have advocated to add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP), which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) uses to decide how to allocate federal funding for elder services. When these questions were added in 2014, researchers were able to determine that about 3 million Americans over age 55 are LGBTQ. The Trump administration’s 2017 draft of the survey eliminates these questions, which is the only change proposed.
The CSBE has unanimously approved new History-Social Science guidelines that include the contributions of minority communities, including LGBT Americans, in curricula across grade levels. The framework also adds material on voter education, financial literacy, the history of people with disabilities, and genocide. These new guidelines follow the passage of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, a 2012 California law that requires more inclusive representation in history education.
The British Home Office has issued new guidance that permits the government to refuse asylum to LGBTQ Afghans, even though homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death in Afghanistan. The move has been denounced by human rights groups as a violation of international law and criticized by the Home Office’s own Afghanistan unit. These changes shed light on emerging U.S. policies and the deadly consequences they can have for LGBTQ immigrants and refugees from some Muslim-majority nations.
The Boy Scouts of America has announced that transgender boys will be welcome in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, a decision praised by LGBTQ activists. The decision acknowledges the national conversation and changing state laws regarding gender identity. Previously, the Boy Scouts changed its policy to allow openly gay youth in 2013 and gay troop leaders and employees in 2015. The national Girl Scouts (no affiliation) has been fully inclusive of LGBTQ girls and leaders for many years.
The U.S. Transgender Survey is the largest survey examining the experiences of transgender people in the U.S., with almost 28,000 respondents in 2015. Key findings include pervasive mistreatment, violence, and economic hardship having harmful effects on physical and mental health. However, respondents also report growing visibility and acceptance.
The Williams Institute (UCLA) released the results of a survey of over 17,000 respondents regarding attitudes toward transgender people and rights. Among other findings, the report states that a majority of respondents in all countries supported the right to change identity documents based on gender identity, and a majority in 21 countries supported policies banning discrimination against transgender people.
The Office of Minority Health (OMH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the theme for the April 2017 awareness month. Throughout April, OMH and its partners will focus on bridging efforts across sectors to address the social determinants of health such as access to health insurance, safe schools, employment, and perceptions of discrimination and equity. Tools and resources will be available on the website.
In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2-8, 2016), Mental Health America released data collected through its anonymous mental health screening tools. 41% of screeners who self-identify as youth and LGBT qualify as severely depressed.
A new SAMHSA report focused on patterns of substance use and mental illness among adults of differing sexual orientations. In the past year, LGBTQ adults were more than twice as likely to have experienced any mental illness and more than three times as likely to have experienced serious mental illness. LGBTQ adults were somewhat more likely to have received treatment.