By: Oscar Cazares, 2020-2021 AMSA WSL Programming Coordinator
Oscar Cazares is a senior majoring in Psychology and Biology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
June 2021, Pride month, brought some great news to the LGBTQ+ community, as the U.S. Department of Education announced Title IX will now cover the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This protection was sorely needed as a record-breaking 94% of respondents in a 2021 national survey for LGBTQ youth indicated that politics have taken a toll on their mental health. ACLU indicates that “at least 20 states have….considered bills limiting access to transgender health care in 2021.”
Because of certain types of discrimination and other social stressors, transgender individuals have higher than average mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Providing transgender individuals with comprehensive healthcare can certainly go a long way.
A recent study by a Harvard Medical School student and a Fenway Institute researcher indicates that gender-affirming surgery is associated with lower psychological distress, less tobacco use, and less suicidal thoughts.
COVID-19 has caused social isolation among us all, and socially disadvantaged minorities are usually the ones affected most during trying times such as these.
Sam Brinton, a head of the Trevor Project, declared:
“Legislators need to be concentrating on providing services and supporting individuals rather than limiting opportunities. In a moment of crisis, we need to make sure that LGBTQ youth can access services rather than be told no.”
AMSA carries out an Inclusion Campaign to promote awareness on issues faced by marginalized LGBTQ+ groups. The campaign includes a Transgender Health module for healthcare providers in training. The module’s goal is to improve the access to and quality of transgender healthcare.
The campaign also includes a module on queer people of color (QPOC) to promote the acceptance of QPOC medical students and to call attention to physicians on QPOC-specific health issues. This is of utmost importance during these times as women of color who identify as transgender tend to experience more violence than other LGBTQ+ subgroups. Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has recorded the violent and fatal crimes towards transgenders and other gender minorities. 2020 had a record number as 44 fatalities of this nature were documented by HRC.
The Trevor Project offers a number of resources for the LGBTQ+ community, including:
- Preventing Suicide
- Coming Out Handbook
- Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender & Nonbinary Youth
- How LGBTQ youth can cope with anxiety and stress during COVID-19
As 2021 comes to an end, we look back on the progress of the Title IX protections, and also reflect on how much more there is to be done to ensure the safety and health of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Interested in taking your knowledge of transgender healthcare issues to the next level? Register for AMSA’s Transgender Health Scholars Program.