Minding Your Health – In the News: Affordable Care, Smoking, Dolphins and More

Lots of interesting things are happening in LGBT health care this spring! First off, make sure you take a gander at the page called “The Affordable Care Act and LGBT Americans” at HealthCare.gov, a website from the federal government. Imagine providing insurance for folks who have pre-existing conditions, are below poverty level, are middle-class families barely able to afford health care as it is … and then imagine insurance plans actually covering LGBT partners and families! See it for yourself at: www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/01/new-options-for-lgbt-americans.html. And if you just want to cut to the good stuff, check out the pridesource.com review at: www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=52742.
Did you know that Kansas City, Mo., is hosting the 8th National LGBTQ Health Equity Summit in August 2012? The conference is titled, “Bridging the Gap: Promising Practices in LGBT Health & Tobacco Control,” and Kansas City seems to be a particularly great place to hold the event because 21.1 percent of Missouri residents smoke, while the national average is 17.4 percent. Stats are here: apps.nccd.cdc.gov/statesystem/HighlightReport/HighlightReport.aspx?FromHomePage=Y&StateName=Missouri&StateId=MO#ReportDetail … and you can get help quitting here: www.lgbttobacco.org.
Check out Becoming Me, a great documentary from PBS on transgender youth. It explores the stories of eight families with transgender and gender non-conforming children, ranging in age from 5 to 25. You can watch it at: www.itlmedia.org/clips/entry/becoming-me-full-episode.
Speaking of great documentaries for youth and parents of LGBT youth, here’s one that is getting lots of attention and was featured last month at PFLAG’s Sunday afternoon meeting. Titled Lead with Love, the 35-minute documentary is focused on showing how families can respond to learning that their child is gay. Watch it at: www.leadwithlovefilm.com.
The Lives of Transgender People, a book based on a study with more than 3,000 participants, is focused on the lives and milestones of transgender individuals. You can read a discussion by the authors at: www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/03/30/two_authors_speak_and_share_stories_.aspx.
I will bet you didn’t know that male dolphins are now thought to have fluid sexuality… and with all innuendo aside, fluid means possessing the potential to shift or transition between various sexual orientations. You can read more about this interesting tidbit at: news.discovery.com/animals/dolphin-society-120327.html.
Speaking of studies, here’s a no-brainer. According to a report published last month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “Homophobic Attitudes Likely to Be Stronger Among Those Who Have Repressed Same-Sex Attraction.” Well, at least it is now official. You can read the review of the report at www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/04/09/homophobia-people-same-sex-attraction-study_n_1412306.html.
The journal Psychotherapy Networker featured an article last month called “The New Monogamy,” which talks about a growing trend in married straight couples who seem to be negotiating non-monogamy in their relationships. You can check out a review of the article in Psychology Today at: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-without-limits/201008/the-new-monogamy.
The Huffington Post reports, “Same-Sex Marriage: North Carolina’s Proposed Ban, Amendment One, Could Create ‘Legal Chaos.’” Check out the chaotic mess at: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/-same-sex-marriage-north-carolina-amendment-1_n_1408756.html?utm_campaign=040912&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-gay-voices&utm_content=FullStory.
Here’s a big one: Truth Wins Out published a story last month titled “Dr. Robert Spitzer Renounces Infamous ‘Ex-Gay’ Study.” In case you don’t remember, Spitzer is the guy who in 1973 helped remove homosexuality from a list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association and who later, in 2001, released a shocking study claiming that gay people could somehow become “ex-gay” if they tried hard enough. That fueled the fire for several religious-based reparative and ex-gay conversion programs to claim some type of legitimacy. Well, now he’s retracting those comments. I guess it has to do with the fact that a few years back the APA conducted a comprehensive study on the legitimacy of sexual orientation change efforts and found that there is no evidence supporting their effectiveness … and that they could even be potentially dangerous. You can read about Spitzer’s retraction at www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/04/24187/?utm_source=Huge+News%3A+Dr.+Robert+Spitzer+Renounces+His+Infamous+2001+Ex-Gay++Study+&utm_campaign=Kony+Mass&utm_medium=email.
For those of you who want to reclaim your Christian heritage, or simply become more articulate about how LGBT people are a part of “God’s creation” then check out this insightful theological debate regarding the Bible and the role of gay Christians in the church held at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan., on March 8. The link is at: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ezQjNJUSraY#!.
For those interested in LGBT’s role in education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities has published a special issue of its periodical Diversity & Democracy on “Making Excellence Inclusive: Higher Education’s LGBTQ Contexts.” The issue can be accessed at diversityweb.org/DiversityDemocracy/.
Last, but certainly not least, an interesting article at Slate.com announced Sweden’s new gender-neutral pronoun: hen. No wonder the country was designated as the most gender-equal country in the world. Check out the article at: www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/04/hen_sweden_s_new_gender_neutral_pronoun_causes_controversy_.html.
Jeff Lubsen is the organizer of the LGBT-Affirmative Therapists Guild of Greater Kansas City, a grass-roots organization of licensed psychologists, social workers and professional counselors, who offer support and resources for sexual minorities. He also works with individuals and their families who are dealing with relationship, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, sexual identity and gender identity issues.

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