Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts

May 11, 2020

Covid-19 Has Placed LGBT in The Center of Discrimination,Racism Amid This Pandemic

                        Mourn the Dead, Fight for the Living: What Transgender Day of ...
LGBTQ Americans are getting coronavirus, losing jobs. Anti-gay bias is making it worse for them.
Petruce Jean-Charles
Transgender singer and actress Mizz June was coughing up blood and wheezing. Her ribs hurt when she breathed. She had painful migraines. 

But after she called 911, the emergency medical technicians told her she shouldn’t go to the emergency room unless she was really sick.

"I said I needed to go. I'm in pain. It hurts to breathe," she said. "They were like, you're just going to sit there. So do you want to, at 3 o'clock in the morning, go to this emergency room and just sit there?"

Mizz June pushed back. I can't breathe, she told them. 

“They began questioning me, but I was so angered that I demanded to go to the hospital,” she said. “If I had not been the kind of woman that I am, a black transgender woman who has been through so much adversity, I would be dead.”

The coronavirus outbreak is pummeling LGBTQ Americans, especially those of color, leaving a population already vulnerable to health care and employment discrimination suffering from high job losses and a growing rate of positive cases, according to preliminary data collected from multiple LGBTQ advocacy groups. 

Many LGBTQ Americans live in states that have seen the highest number of coronavirus cases, including California, New York and Washington. These areas have also been hit by job losses driven by economic shutdowns. 

As a result, many more LGBTQ people are struggling with unemployment, homelessness and food insecurity compared with other Americans, while simultaneously facing increased rates of health issues stemming from bias, mental illness and lack of insurance.

Scout, a transgender activist and deputy director at the National LGBT Cancer Network, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, said many LGBTQ Americans already face discrimination when seeking health care, and are worried these barriers could make it harder to get treatment during the pandemic. Scott cited a recent controversy over a field hospital in New York's Central Park run by a religious organization that requires its staff to sign a pledge against same-sex marriage.
"Imagine if you were in New York City and you're queer and your partner gets COVID. Your closest hospital might be that one in Central Park that is very anti-LGBT," he said. "Can you imagine what kind of fear you might have to send your partner to the hospital knowing you couldn't visit them again, right, because you can't visit the hospitals. And you can't be there to protect them and to make sure that they get the kind of care they deserve." 

Advocates said the U.S. needs more comprehensive data on who is being tested for COVID-19. So far, many states have collected COVID-19 data based on age, race and ethnicity, but are not collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data.

That's prompted activists to try to create their own data on positive cases in the LGBTQ community, while also surveying respondents on health care disparities stemming from discrimination from medical providers, including being turned away because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

"I would say that there is definitely not as much research out there as other communities because so few surveys ask questions about sex orientation and gender identity," said Naomi Goldberg, policy research director of the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank that provides LGBTQresearch in Colorado.

Scout said the health care system needs to take into account prior medical histories, as well as societal issues while treating Americans for coronavirus, especially LGBTQ people.

"No one's measuring our outcomes, which, in my mind, is people in the health care system forcing us back in the closet," he said. "They're hiding the way this pandemic is going to play out our extra vulnerabilities and have a disproportionate impact on us."

More:Fauci guided US through AIDS crisis, too. Survivors say it's a roadmap for coronavirus.

Experts agreethat LGBTQ people may have health complications that could put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or heighten complications after contraction. For example, LGBTQ people are more likely to be smokers than other Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign. They also are more likely to have asthma. LGBTQ Americans, especially those who are nonwhite, are also more likely to have chronic medical conditions such as HIV or AIDS.

Access to health care can also be contributing to high cases of COVID-19 among LGBTQ Americans. Roughly 17% of LGBTQ adults do not have any health insurance coverage, compared with 12% of non-LGBTQ Americans, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality based in Washington, D.C.

"We need to be talking about disparities, especially around race and class, recognizing that people of color have less access to health care," said Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy group based in Denver. 

Stigma and discrimination can also deter LGBTQ people from seeking medical care, even when they do have health insurance. One in four LGBTQ people reported experiencing discrimination, while 8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults and 29% of transgender adults reported that a health care provider refused to see them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a national survey by the Center for American Progress, a policy research organization in Washington, D.C.

Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Fenway Institute, a center for research and advocacy in Massachusetts, said there is still an anti-LGBTQ stigma in health care.

"This affects their health, well being and affects their sense of safety," he said.

Michael Adams, chief executive officer at SAGE, a nonprofit organization focused on LGBTQ aging in New York, suspects that many older Americans dying from COVID-19 could be part of the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ older adults are twice as likely to be living alone and four times less likely to have children compared to people their same age who aren't gay, which means that older LGBTQ people are especially at risk for lack of care or support from family during COVID-19, according to a study by SAGE.

“In a public health crisis like this there are very thin support networks among LGBT older adults,” Adams said. 

To help raise awareness, activists plan to host virtual pride events starting June 1, the beginning of gay pride month, said Brian Hujdich, executive director of HealthHIV, one of the largest national HIV nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.

Mizz June said she contracted COVID-19 in mid-March and fears she may get it again. The symptoms initially left her with a dry cough and blood in her mucus. Then she felt constipated for a week.  

“I had a mild case but still I was coughing up blood, wheezing and I could feel my lungs and ribs hurting when I breathed,” she said. “It’s just a disgusting virus.” 

She said was she baffled by the claims from the first responders that she should avoid going to the emergency room because it was too crowded. Only three other patients were waiting when she arrived. 

"They told me I could contract the disease if I went. How could I when there were only three people, I expected at least a full room of 100 coronavirus patients," she said.

She has recovered since her hospital stay, but is worried that other black transgender women might have the same experience where "symptoms weren't taken seriously." She's been encouraging other black trans women to get tested for the virus. 

"I don't think people understand the seriousness of it," she said. "Whenever I go outside I put on gloves and a mask, I keep my distance because I've had it. I don't know if I can still pass it on to people but also I don't want to catch it again."

For LGBTQ Americans who don't get sick from coronavirus, many are struggling with unemployment or other financial burdens, activists said. 

"When we think about the kind of economic earthquake that has happened as a result of COVID-19, with job losses and unemployment benefits, there's a lot of reason to be concerned about the precariousness of LGBTQ people and their families at this moment," said Goldberg of the Movement Advancement Project.

As the economy plummeted, more than 5 million LGBTQ workers were likely to have been impacted by COVID-19, according to recent estimates from the Human Rights Campaign. Jobs in restaurants and food service, hospitals, K-12 and higher education and retail industries have been hit, making up about 40% of all industries where LGBTQ people work, the organization found. More than 33 million Americans have submitted unemployment claims since March.

"While we do not have official numbers on how many LGBTQ people have contracted coronavirus or have died because of it, we know in addition to health disparities, LGBTQ people are employed in the industries heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as retail, nightlife, restaurants, and they are more likely to live in poverty, be food insecure, and uninsured," said Tyrone Hanley, senior policy counsel of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the first national LGBTQ legal organization founded by women in California.

Roughly 9% of LGBTQ were unemployed, compared with 5% of all Americans, before the outbreak. About 27% of LGBTQ people were food insecure, compared with 15% of all Americans.

LGBTQ Americans are also more likely to be homeless than other Americans. Up to 45% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, while LGBTQ people ages 18 through 25 are two times more likely to be homeless than their peers, according to the Williams Institute, a leading research center on sexual orientation and gender identity at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

"We estimate that 139,700 transgender adults were unemployed at the time the coronavirus pandemic began. Recent job losses due to official orders enforcing social distancing practices will likely increase this number and exacerbate existing employment disparities," said Jody L. Herman, a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute and co-author of a recent report on COVID-19 and transgender Americans.

A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads "Rent Strike" Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. With millions of people suddenly out of work, some tenants in the U.S. are vowing to go on a rent strike until the new coronavirus pandemic subsides.
LGBTQ people of color tend to face much harsher discrimination compared with their white counterparts because of their ethnicity, in part because of barriers such as inadequate or nonexistent nondiscrimination protection for LGBTQ workers, and a lack of mentoring, said Goldberg.

“We know that with the economic issues arising many of them won’t be able to work at their jobs, or their jobs aren’t remote, meaning they'll lose a paycheck,” Goldberg said. 

April 26, 2020

LGBT Finances Are Also Being Killed by COVID -19


David Rae

It could be argued that there has never been a better time to be gay in America. However, there are members of the greater LGBTQ community who continue to struggle, especially when it comes to finances, and unfortunately, things don’t appear to be improving anytime soon. Members of the Queer Community will face a slew of additional fiscal challenges thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) recently revealed the results of a study that highlighted the economic risks to LGBTQ people from the expected economic fallout due to the coronavirus. It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 is devastating to the health and finances of millions upon millions of Americans, but I will admit that I was surprised to learn just how vulnerable the LGBTQ community is because of the pandemic.    

There are an estimated 14 million LGBTQ adults, with an additional 2 million gay youth, in the United States according to the HRC. The nonprofit’s study revealed that more than 5 million LGBT workers had jobs that are more likely to be impacted by COVID-19. Most specifically, those were jobs in the restaurant and food services, hospital, education and retail industries. 

Forty percent of all LGBTQ people work in the five industries most affected by the pandemic. By comparison, only 22% of heterosexual people work in those industries. While I think most of us may be at risk of seeing our incomes drop during the current economic shutdown, some are more likely to be laid off or see their incomes drop much closer to zero. Sadly, it appears the drop in income will disproportionately affect gay workers. 

The top five industries that LGBTQ people work in, which comprise 40% of all LGBTQ workers, are five of those most affected by both the virus' spread itself and the shelter-in-place orders that have effectively shut down much of public life in the United States. These are, in order, food service, hospitals, K-12 education, colleges, and retail. 

LGBTQ Seniors Face Additional Coronavirus Challenges

I’ve previously written about the major concern of who will care for LGBTQ seniors. As a group, we are more likely to live apart from family or be estranged from them for that matter. Years of discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, lack of marriage equality, and the AIDS crisis, has left many LGBTQ seniors unprepared for a financially secure retirement. 

According to SAGE, LGBTQ retirees are twice as likely to be living alone and four times less likely to have children. They are also at a greater risk of having a lack of care and support from their families. As has been reported, COVID-19 has hit older Americans the hardest.

As a gay financial planner working with the LGBT community, I have seen firsthand the additional costs that come with retiring as a gay person. We often take for granted how valuable it is to have someone look out for us as we age. Without family to help with care, LGBT seniors are more likely to need assisted living facilities, but during this pandemic, senior care facilities appear to be hotbeds for spreading the coronavirus. 

Will Gays Get CARES ACT Stimulus Money?

The Williams Institute, an LGBT-focused think tank at the UCLA School of Law, estimated that more than 6.5 million LGBTQ adults, and more than 250,000 gay couples, will receive the full $1,200 stimulus check. I’m sure those individuals will all agree the delay in receiving their checks so the President’s signature could be added was worth it.

Eligibility is based on household incomes, which may limit the number of Americans; gay, straight, or otherwise; who receive the money.
The LGBTQ community is both richer and poorer. According to the US Department of the Treasury, gay married men earn the most income and are followed by lesbian couples and then opposite sex couples. That is based on tax data from 2014. If I had to guess, those numbers may be skewed in favor of the richer gay and lesbian couples who were married soon after marriage equality was achieved at the federal level. 

There is also a persistent “myth of gay affluence.” The reality is that not all members of the LGBTQ community live fabulously wealthy lifestyles. Not only are gay people more likely to live in poverty, we are also more likely to struggle to pay for healthcare. According to a 2019 Williams Institute analysis of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, about one-in-five (22%) LGBTQ adults in the United States live in poverty compared to an estimated 16% poverty rate among their straight and cisgender counterparts. In particular, the poverty rates of transgender adults (29%) and cisgender bisexual women (29%) in the U.S. tower over those of other groups. Furthermore, Black (40%) and Latinx (45%) transgender adults are more likely to live in poverty than transgender people of any other race. 

Thank you to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Williams Institute for their work and this valuable research. For those reading this, keep your heads up. This, too, shall pass. Do your homework and utilize all of the resources at your disposal: those specifically available to the LGBTQ community and resources as a result of the CARES Act, unemployment, and other services to those in need.

February 27, 2020

Fiji Poet Peter Sipeli Speaks About Being Gay As a Fijian

Peter Sipeli during a TEDx talk in Suva, Fiji. Source: Facebook
Fiji poet and activist Peter Sipeli has been campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights through storytelling.
Peter established a poetry shop and collective that organizes readings, slam events, publishes anthologies and collections of poetry, prose or writings of young Fijians. Peter is also known for conducting spoken word sessions to highlight the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals in Fiji.
In an email interview with this author, Peter shared how art is integral to advocacy, talks about the challenges that artists and activists face in Fiji, and highlights the need to rethink how advocacies are conceptualized in the Oceania region.
Peter observed how development issues are framed in many ways that do not totally capture the lived experiences of Pacific Islanders. Peter said colonialism is partly to blame for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
I think the problem we face in Fiji and generally across the Pacific is that the unjust laws that govern the lives of LGBTQ+ people are archaic and the ones created by the British that our people after independence have inherited; and that all these are not only reflected in our laws, but in Christian ideals as well that pervade and blur cultural ideas, and so we are left working to remind our peoples that before ‘contact’ we were quite sexually diverse and sexuality was very fluid.
Peter noted that colonial legacy has prevented Pacific peoples from interacting with each other:
I think the problem even we in the Pacific face is that we are so busy looking down working in our own burrows that we don’t look up to see other people in the Pacific, in Asia, across the world in Africa and beyond. There need to be newer ways of seeing that allows us to look at creative work being used for societal change so we can not only know but to learn from each other.
Too often the utterance that we hear in the Pacific, is ‘Asia, Pacific region’ and Asia is so large that they cannot even see us. The Pacific is broken up in three parts, parts that the colonizers created 1) French Pacific – that is locked from us because of language 2) the North Pacific, that was colonized by the Americans, we are unable to see them because of geographic location … they’re so far north, we know a little about their nuclear history and us 3) the Anglo pacific and we all work in isolation from each other… there are political and trade relations but the people are divorced from each other.
To remedy this, Peter tapped into the arts to create “a newer and more human conversation about rights, about pain and how we Pacific Island people are able to work to repair the rift that was caused by the colonizers.” Peter adds:
The idea behind ‘storytelling for advocacy’ is about remembering. In the Pacific, if you speak truth and do so with power and with resonance about a lived experience, and the levels of fracture of that experience and indicate to different audiences this reality, people understand, people are awakened to our needs and our work for equal rights.
Peter discussed how storytelling, instead of merely relying on legislative lobbying, became an effective approach to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights:
Too often the rights conversation is a linear one that talks about only one aspect of gaining equality, about advocating for rights, through this movement towards legislature and policy shift. I wanted to create a human conversation about the pain that we endure, that ostracization, and unpack that for people to see into. I also allow the talk to delve into scripture and to look deeply at the parts of the Bible that speak against homosexuality and to demystify these aspects for the audience, to again create a conversation about the biblical text and find kinder ways of caring for people.
Peter said storytelling proved ‘transformative’ in the sessions they conducted with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center and even with members of the military and police.
I think my work through poetry and through the storytelling for advocacy is finding new ways of having a conversation about creating kinder communities for LGBTQ+ people.
Finally, Peter emphasized the need to develop a ‘new way of seeing’ in the Pacific:
I think we need all collectively to find a new way of ‘seeing’ so we might appreciate, learn and thus become humanly connected to each other in a deeper way that can overcome meaningless utterances.
Watch Peter's TEDx talk about ‘storytelling as advocacy’ through this YouTube video:

January 29, 2020

Yucatán Diversifies its Tourism Offer and Departs from the Shadow of Quintana Roo


Para fortalecer el rubro de diversidad, el estado forma parte de un programa piloto del gobierno federal para la comunidad LGBT+ que arrancó hace 10 meses.
 Juan Tolentino Morales 

The state is part of a pilot LGBT + tourism program and seeks part of the flow of visitors that the neighboring state concentrates on. 
 Madrid, España

To strengthen the diversity line, the state is part of a federal government pilot program for the LGBT + community that started 10 months ago. (LUNAMARINA / Getty Images / iStockphoto)
Madrid Spain
For Yucatan, the name of the game in tourism is diversification: in destinations, trying to exercise more inclusive tourism for communities such as LGBT +, and also decentralizing the high demand that giants like Chichen Itza receive. 
Michelle Friedman, secretary of tourism of Yucatan, explains that the state is a multi-segment destination, where niches such as business, wellness, luxury, gastronomy, culture and even more specific ones, such as LGBT +, have enormous development potential.

“It is a state that has everything, and that has been in the shadow of the neighboring state for many years (Quintana Roo). We have a lot to work on in terms of connectivity, services, training, tourism products, establishments, and promotion, and that is what we have been doing: finding that development potential that Yucatan has, but doing it correctly, in a sustainability framework ” , he said during the 40th edition of the International Tourism Fair (Fitur), which is held in Madrid.

To strengthen the area of ​​diversity, the state is part of a federal government pilot program for the LGBT + community that started 10 months ago, which consists of raising awareness and training of destinations, hotels and service providers, in the first phase. Then, it will prioritize the development of specific products for this segment, as well as the adaptation of the latest trends in digital marketing and promotion, explains Oriol Pamies, CEO of Queer Destinations, a company that has accompanied the state in this process.

"The goal for 2020 is that every month we work with our team of trainers in a different destination, closing the year with businesses trained in more than 20 destinations (adding those of the first phase)," he said. 

This segment also has significant economic spill potential. According to LGBT Capital estimates, in 2018 the LGBT + community - made up of 496 million people - made a worldwide consumption of 3.6 billion dollars, so it is not enough to attract tourists, but also to distribute them in the attractions that house the state.

Therefore, Friedman points out that work has been done on decentralization and inclusion so that tourism benefits the entire population, in a work where the capital, Mérida, and the main archaeological destination, Chichen Itza, are not ceased to strengthen, but which contemplates the rest of the state.

“This is the case of Tekax, Las Coloradas, Río Lagartos, and we have worked hard to boost our magical towns in Izamal and Valladolid. We have made long-range political strategies in the field involving academia, private initiative, and government, along with other agencies that allow us to guide us. ”

Yucatan closed the year with several improvements in its tourist flows: it was in the first places of growth in tourists with a 15% increase compared to 2018, and broke the barrier of 2 million visitors, not counting hikers to other products and archeological zones, with which the indicator doubles, ensures the official.

During the year, more than 15,000 million pesos of private tourist investment were captured this year, and also added six new routes in air connectivity and 51 additional cruises.

Translation by Google

January 13, 2020

Downtown Abbey and 177 other Nominations for LGBT Awards

The growing voice and presence of the LGBT community in entertainment in the United States will be celebrated at the 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards, for which a record number of nominations have been announced. The awards presented by the Gay & Lesbian…

South China Morning Post

The growing voice and presence of the LGBT community in entertainment in the United States will be celebrated at the 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards, for which a record number of nominations have been announced.

The awards presented by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation are intended to highlight and celebrate those names in film and television who tell LGBT stories and portray LGBT characters in a fair, complex, and non-derogatory light.

With 176 nominees in 30 categories, 2019 was a banner year for LGBT stories and characters. In announcing the nominations, GLAAD also announced it would be bringing back the category for outstanding Broadway production and adding a category for children’s and family programming, reflecting the growing visibility of gay stories and characters in children’s entertainment.
“There are more nominees for the 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards than ever before, not only because LGBTQ diversity and inclusion have progressed, but because GLAAD’s work to forward LGBTQ visibility has never been more important,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president, and CEO. GLAAD presents awards in English- and Spanish-language categories.

Zoe Saldana and John Cho (right) in a still from Star Trek Beyond.
Zoe Saldana and John Cho (right) in a still from Star Trek Beyond.
Taylor Swift will receive GLAAD’s vanguard prize, a choice that has been questioned by some. Photo: Reuters/Caitlin Ochs
 Taylor Swift will receive GLAAD’s vanguard prize, a choice that has been questioned by some.
 Reuters/Caitlin Ochs

Among the many nominees, this year are Rocketman, Booksmart, 
and Downton Abbey,
and TV shows such as Schitt’s Creek, Vida, Pose, Dickinson, 
and Star Trek: Discovery. 
There are also categories for musical artists – where our money 
is on Lil Nas X – and even comic books and video games.
This year, GLAAD is giving special recognition to the Netflix series Special, 
which follows Ryan, a gay man with cerebral palsy, as he enters adulthood 
and tries to take control of his life.
There are also eight separate categories in journalism, covering everything
 from the best overall coverage to the best blog. This year two journalists, 
Karen Ocamb, the news editor of the Los Angeles Blade, and Mark Segal, 
the founder, and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News are being singled
 out for special recognition.
Winners will be announced at two separate star-studded events: the first 
in New York on March 19, and the second in Los Angeles on April 16. 

Much of the media coverage so far has centered on two honorees who
 will be singled out by GLAAD for their contributions to LGBT culture
 and visibility: Janet Mock and Taylor Swift.

Swift will receive the organization’s prestigious vanguard award, 
a choice questioned by some – and one which led to a flurry of
 sarcastic memes online – because of the singer’s history (until recently) 
of remaining non-political, the fact that she is straight, and a perception 
that she leverages her popularity among the gay community mostly
 to sell records.

August 2, 2019

Study Finds LGBT People More Likely to Have Memory Problems


LGBT Americans report increased rates of memory loss and confusion — two early signs of dementia — compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, a large survey has found. The observations present new risk factors to consider for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and raise questions about the potential influence of social stressors.
“This idea that LGBT people might have more … subjective cognitive impairment is a very interesting one,” said Yaakov Stern, a professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Stern was not involved in the research but said colleagues undertaking a small pilot study of cognition in the LGBT community around the New York area have “very similar findings.”
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, based their analysis on 2015 data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention across nine states in a random phone survey. The survey included questions about memory loss and confusion in the past 12 months and gender identity and sexual orientation. Responses from 44,403 adults age 45 or older were included in the analysis, with 3% identifying as LGBT and the remainder saying they were heterosexual and cisgender, or people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. One in seven, or 14%, of people in sexual and gender minorities reported memory problems that got worse over the past year. This contrasts with 1 in 10, or 10%, of heterosexual and cisgender people reporting the same problems. After adjusting for characteristics such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, marital status, and income, the researchers found that LGBT individuals were 29% more likely to report cognitive impairment compared to their counterparts. The observations are being presented Sunday at the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. Jason Flatt, an assistant professor at UCSF and lead author of the study, also noted the LGBT individuals had more problems with daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning, compared to heterosexual and cisgender individuals.
Previous studies have found a correlation between self-reported cognitive impairment and dementia. People with subjective cognitive decline are three times more likely to have future cognitive decline, Flatt said.
Dr. Victor Henderson, a professor of health policy and of neurology at Stanford University, cautioned that the age group the researchers were looking at included relatively young individuals. Dementia is rare below age 60.
“Subjective cognitive decline in the younger population may not have the same meaning as it would for someone who was in his or her 70s or 80s or 90s,” he said. Henderson was not involved in the study. “I think it’s an important observation that’s been made, but the actual interpretation in relation to an impending dementia remains to be determined.” Exactly why there might be a higher risk of memory loss and confusion among LGBT people is unclear. It could be due to challenges such as depression or stress in social situations, according to Stern and Henderson. Flatt noted that as LGBT individuals get older, they are less likely to have strong social support networks, such as a partner or children, and may end up living where people might not accept who they are.
The survey results don’t mean LGBT people will necessarily have higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Flatt noted, but instead, they show a concerning trend that needs additional attention.
“The community really needs greater support, education, screening for their memory, and opportunity to talk to their doctor about these problems,” said Flatt. Additional research is also needed, and he advocated for the inclusion of questions asking about sexual orientation and gender identity in national surveys. Otherwise, “how are we going to see how the community does over time?” he asked.
LGBT people are underrepresented in research on cognitive impairment, said Erin Dunn, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. “I think it’s a critical question that should be addressed.”

July 9, 2019

Tunisian Gay Advocate Running For Top Job in The Country as President

Mounir Baatour (AFP/Getty Images/F. Belaid)
 Gay rights activist Mounir Baatour wants to become president in Tunisia — and is putting the fight for LGBT rights at the center of his election campaign. He doesn't have much a chance, but he's determined to fight.
There's still quite a bit of time before Tunisia's presidential election in November, but a number of people have already declared their candidacy for the highest office in the land. Among them is Mounir Baatour, chairman of Shams, an organization that fights for the rights of homosexual and transgender citizens.

Baatour has been fighting for LGBT rights for years, and now he wants to do so from the top. "After so many years fighting for minority rights, I realized that no one can do the job better than I," he said as he announced his candidacy last week.

A lawyer by profession, Baatour said he already has the 100,000 signatures required to get on the ballot. Still, his chances of winning are slim. A survey conducted by the polling institute Arab Barometer shows that only 7% of Tunisians condone homosexuality.

Read more: Refugee centers in Tunisia 'out of the question,' says the president
Changing perceptions

Baatour said he wants to change perceptions by running for the presidency. He told DW that no other candidate has staked out the issues he has addressed. Individual and civil rights are of less concern to them, he said.

Baatour, on the other hand, has these rights the cornerstone of his campaign. "I am calling for the repeal of Article 230, which outlaws homosexuality, from the Tunisian criminal code. The Tunisian people should decide whether they want to bring criminal charges against homosexuals and put them in jail, or if they want to get rid of the law," he said.

Tunisian homosexuals have suffered under the weight of the law. In December, for instance, a young man near the western city of Monastir was brutally beaten by a group of men. The victim pressed charges, but when the judge learned he was a homosexual he let one of the perpetrators go and released the others on bail. The victim, however, was subjected to a long lecture from the judge.
Another young man had it much worse. He went online to arrange a meeting with another homosexual man, but when he arrived at the meeting place he was beaten and sodomized by two men. During the court trial that followed, the victim was subjected to a rectal exam to determine whether he had previously engaged in homosexual activity.

The court found that he had done so, and he was sentenced to six months in prison. The attackers were both acquitted. Homosexuality is punishable with up to three years in prison in Tunisia. 
Cases like these motivated Baatour to embark on his candidacy. He told DW that simply by running, he is shining a light on the problems that homosexuals face. He also said he will fight for gender equality in the North African country, pointing out that its laws lag behind Western countries.
"In Tunisia, women inherit half of what men are entitled to. I want to change that. I am calling for absolute gender equality, just as it's written in the Tunisian constitution. Gender inequality is unconstitutional," he said.

The situation became increasingly difficult for homosexuals after the Arab Spring protests. Under authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced to flee the country in January 2011, homosexuals were of little concern to the government. Ben Ali was far more intent on fighting sex tourism.

After the revolution, and with the rise of Islamist and moderate Islamic parties — including the Muslim democratic Ennahda party, which was in government in 2014 — the pressure began to mount.

Most conservative Muslims felt that homosexuality was incompatible with the values of Islam. This resulted in the passage of stricter laws regarding homosexuality. At the same time, that pressure led to the formation of the country's first homosexual rights groups.

Those groups were not only intent on changing or repealing laws targeting them; they also wanted to change the mentality of their fellow countrymen and women.
But Baatour wants to do something more with his candidacy: He wants to spark a fundamental debate about the idea of democracy itself. He believes many people have the wrong concept of what democracy means.

"Democracy doesn't mean that the majority dictates the rules to the minority. More importantly, it is about the responsibility of protecting the rights of minorities," he said. For that reason, he will also fight for religious equality for the abolition of the death penalty.

Rights are one thing, said Baatour, but many Tunisians also have a lot of other problems. They are under enormous economic pressure, with unemployment, high public debt, and a stagnating economy plaguing the state as well as individuals. And Baatour intends to tackle that problem, too.

He's convinced that education, health care, security, and defense are the responsibility of government, but, he thinks "everything else falls to the private sector." That's why his party wants to place only the most essential limits on private business. "That could spur dynamism in the Tunisian economy, create jobs and ease pressure on citizens."

Baatour has acknowledged he will only convince a small portion of Tunisians of the merit of his ideas. "But I'm sticking with my candidacy. And I will stand up for my values until the very end."

April 7, 2019

"Hang On Jr. Here It Comes The Mule" New Study~~20% of Rural America is LGBT and They Are Integral

 A new study finds that up to 20 percent of the LGBT population in this country live in rural America. For the most part, they chose that life for the same reasons others do: tight-knit communities with a shared sense of values. 


LGBT people are typically depicted as city and coastal dwellers. And those who live in rural America are often characterized as people yearning to escape rural life for more acceptance in urban areas.

But a new study from the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that advocates for LGBT equality, shatters that stereotype.

Between 2.9 million and 3.8 million LGBT people live in rural America, that's up to 5 percent of the rural population and up to 20 percent of the LGBT population. For the most part, they chose that life for the same reasons other Americans do: tight-knit communities with a shared sense of values that typically revolve around places like the church, schools or local businesses.

Same-sex parents, like many other parents, also gravitate to life outside the cities. The report says that "the highest rates of parenting by both same-sex couples and LGBT individuals are in the most rural regions of the country." It points to data from The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law that says 24 out of the 30 states where same-sex couples are raising children are mostly rural in the Midwest, the South and the mountain regions of America.

"The most important goal was to work against the stereotype that LGBT people only live in the cities or on the coast and to shine a light on the millions of LGBT people living in rural America," said Logan Casey, a policy researcher for the Movement Advancement Project. "They are a fundamental part of the fabric of rural communities across the country."

Discrimination against LGBT people is not unique to rural areas. But the impact is different.
Logan Casey, Movement Advancement Project
LGBT people face the same challenges that others in rural America face: limited access to health care, housing shortages, a growing opioid epidemic and job loss.

But being LGBT can make those challenges more difficult.

First, in small communities, there's a ripple effect, so if LGBT members are discriminated against, it can quickly spread through the community and vice versa. There are also fewer protections in rural areas.

"Discrimination against LGBT people is not unique to rural areas. But the impact is different," Casey said.

He says that in places where there are fewer doctors and employers, it makes the impact of discrimination more acute. If the local clinic decides it won't treat an LGBT person or if an employer won't give an LGBT person a job, alternatives are almost impossible to find. That's not the case in cities.

So it's incredibly important, the study says, to improve life for all rural Americans such as creating better access to health care, employment and the Internet, as well as by protecting the most vulnerable by passing "LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections at the federal, state, and local level," and by stopping or rolling back religious exemption laws "that may allow service providers to discriminate."

"When you don't have those non-discrimination protections, it disproportionately impacts LGBT people in rural areas," Casey said. "LGBT people throughout the country shouldn't have to choose between these basic rights and protections and where they call home."

The study comes as Congress debates the federal Equality Act. It was reintroduced last month. The act would amend civil rights laws to include protections for LGBT people against discrimination in key parts of their lives like employment, housing, public accommodations and federally funded programs.

November 10, 2018

Half of UK Have Experienced Depression, 52% For Gays

More than half of LGBT people in the UK have experienced depression in the past year, according to a LGBT charity.
Stonewall says 52% of the 5,000 lesbian, gay, bi and transgender people it surveyed said they'd struggled with it.
That's higher than average - mental health charity Mind says that, in the general population, 25% suffer from a mental health issue each year.
"The results are alarming but sadly they're not surprising," says NHS clinical psychologist Chris Wilson.
"They do reflect what we see in clinical practice."

'I was always called names'

Girls playing footballImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBree says she was worried her love for playing football at school would make her a target
Bree, who's 19 and lives in London, says she's struggled with her mental health because of her experiences as a young gay teen.
"When I was at school, I was always the butt of the gay jokes and it made me feel ill," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat. 
"I guess you'd say I'm your stereotypical lesbian. So at school I was always called names at every opportunity they had."
When she realised she was gay at 13, Bree says she was "terrified" her friends would find out because of their homophobia towards LGBT people.
"It's really depressing to realise that everyone around you thinks that you're disgusting and you can't actually do anything to change it."
Bree says she's now "comfortable" with herself and her sexuality, but even now says she suffers from anxiety when she is in public with her girlfriend.
"On the depression side of things, things are a lot better now, but you still do get that anxiety when you go out and you feel like you could be outed," she says.

'It was a tough place to be inside my head'

CounsellingImage copyright

Image captionCharlie, not pictured, struggled with alcohol addiction for 10 years
Charlie, not his real name, 29, says the mental health problems he experienced as a teen later led to alcohol problems.
He's only recently been able to deal with them.
"It was a tough place to be inside my head," the 29-year-old says. 
"There was no education on mental health and no education on LGBT issues - or even the existence of LGBT people in a normal, functioning role in society." 
Charlie says he began using alcohol in his late teens to feel more confident and "forget about all the stuff that was inside my head".
"From the age of eight to at least 16 or 17 I had to hide what I was feeling. 
"As those emotions got harder to deal with, it was harder to hide them and that caused a lot of strain on my brain, which led me to develop anxiety and depression throughout my teenage years."
Charlie is now in rehabilitation for alcohol addiction, but says he's sad to think of what he's "missed out on" during his life due to his mental health issues.
He urges young LGBT people to speak to someone they trust if they are experiencing mental health issues.

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