Tag Archives: transgender

How Can We Better Protect LGBTQ Students: Psychologists Take Action

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By Joshua R. Wolff, PhD (Adler University); H.L. “Lou” Himes, PsyD (QuIPP); and Theresa Stueland Kay, PhD (OUTReach Utah)

Over the last year, we have witnessed regular news media headlines coming out of Washington, D.C. with a state of shock, horror, and anger. Specifically, we have been alarmed by the rollback of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and students.

We know from first-hand experience that LGBTQ students face many forms of discrimination which contribute to health disparities, such as increased rates of suicide and homelessness. Specifically:

  • I (Lou) have been gender non-conforming my whole life and I have faced harassment in educational institutions from elementary school through my doctoral studies.
  • I (Theresa) work with LGBTQ youth at an organization called OUTreach Utah. All too often, the youth I see are marginalized and bullied at home and at school. When they suffer at school, personnel frequently fail to protect these students. Even worse, faculty, staff, and administration often blame the youth for the fact that they are bullied.
  • I (Joshua) came out as gay at a faith-based college, Biola University, where I risked academic expulsion based solely on my sexual orientation, and realized I did not have any legal protections.

Together, we have each dedicated our careers as clinical psychologists to helping support LGBTQ people in the face of discrimination, which we have done through research, clinical services, and volunteering.

LGBTQ children and youth face daily roadblocks to their education and threats to their safety. This is a systemic issue and requires a systemic response.

Like many Americans, we have at times felt powerless against what seems to be an overwhelming recent assault on many of the most marginalized groups of Americans, including (but certainly not limited to) LGBTQ students. Hence, we asked ourselves “what can we do to help”? We decided to visit Washington, D.C. to talk to Members of Congress, including some who may not share our views, about the importance of protecting LGBTQ students.

Our first step was to contact staff at the APA to help us get started. We felt particularly fortunate to receive wonderful assistance from staff in the Public Interest and Education Government Relations Offices.

Prior to meetings with congressional offices, we connected with leading LGBTQ advocacy groups in Washington to learn about their current federal priorities and strategies. We met with the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, and the Trevor Project, as well as APA staff from the Safe and Supportive Schools Project. As a result, we learned about several important priorities. These included:

  • re-instating Title IX protections for transgender youth;
  • the ‘Safe Schools Improvement Act’ which would require schools to create plans to combat bullying, specifically including LGBTQ students;
  • fully funding Title IV (school climate improvement grants) of ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’; and
  • ensuring that federal surveys and surveillance systems  collect sexual orientation and gender identity data.

Further, we were alarmed to learn that the Trevor Project has seen a dramatic increase in the number of transgender youth calling their suicide prevention crisis hotline following the announcement of President Trump’s military ban for transgender service members. This provided a sobering reminder of how our government’s words and decisions affect those most vulnerable in our society.

Our meetings with these groups affirmed two clear messages:

(1) LGBTQ students need critical legal protections, and

(2) we need data to tell us how we can help.

We lobbied staff from the National Governors Association and the offices of Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on these important legal protections and data collection. Among the issues raised by the advocacy groups we met with the day before, we talked about:

  • the high rates of LGBTQ suicide attempts and homelessness, as well as
  • the lack of Title IX protections that could reduce bullying and victimization of transgender students
  • the need for greater legal protections and data collection to end these health disparities.

Each of us explained why these issues are important to us personally, how they impact our work as psychologists, and how they affect the Members’ constituents. Unsurprisingly, some offices did not agree on how to address the concerns. But others were eager to listen, and shared concerns about the high rates of suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth and other health disparities. All of the offices agreed that there should be ongoing Congressional oversight of the Department of Education to continue to protect students, and asked us to follow up and continue the conversation.

The experience reminded us that advocacy isn’t a one-time deal, and it’s not just happening in Washington. Advocacy can happen through a phone call or an email to our Members of Congress. Hence, we will follow up with the various offices we contacted to remind them about the critical protections that LGBTQ youth need.

We encourage you to get involved, too. Join the APA Federal Action Network or get involved at the local or community level. Psychologists have a lot to contribute to advocacy, and it’s vital to make your voice heard.

 

Biographies:

Joshua R. Wolff, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Adler University in Chicago, IL. Further, he was a contributor to the U.S. government’s (SAMHSA/HHS) report, “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth”. His current research is directed at developing evidence-based public health strategies to reduce suicide rates and health risk behaviors for SGM people in non-affirming religious environments by building partnerships with clergy and faith leaders.

Theresa Stueland Kay, PhD, trained at Biola University, a faith-based institution, and is a licensed psychologist in Utah.  She is also an Associate Professor of Psychology at Weber State University.  Dr. Kay also serves as Board Chair at OUTreach Utah, a nonprofit organization that serves and supports LGBTQ youth.

H. L. “Lou” Himes, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and president at QuIPP, the Queer Identities Psychology Partnership—a group psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, NY that focuses on providing psychotherapy and transition-related support for trans/queer individuals.  Dr. Himes uses they/them/theirs pronouns.


Filed under: Children and Youth, Health Disparities, Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Public Policy Tagged: advocacy, Capitol Hill, data collection, Every Student Succeeds Act, gender identity, health disparities, LGBT, LGBT health, LGBT rights, LGBT students, LGBT youth, Safe Schools Improvement Act, sexual orientation, student health, suicide prevention, surveillance, Title IV, Title IX, transgender, transgender youth

A Fate Worse than Death? Being Transgender in Long-term Care

Serious transgender couple standing together

 

By Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD (Senior Research Scientist, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging)

 

“I would kill myself.” This is what a 70 year-old transgender woman told me recently when I asked what she would do if she needed long-term care. While this sounds dramatic, it is a common sentiment among older transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) adults (Witten, 2014). Many TGNC older adults do not have family caregivers available to meet their needs for assistance in later life, having been rejected and ostracized by their families of origin according to a study by Grant and colleagues (2011), and long-term care services may be their only option.

 

Plans for concealing gender identities, suicide and euthanasia are one way for older TGNC adults to cope with the fears of entering long-term care (Bockting & Coleman, 2007; Ippolito & Witten, 2014). The National Senior Citizens Law Center (2011) reports that TGNC older adults, regardless of the degree of gender transitioning, are at risk for abuse, mistreatment, or violence in institutionalized settings, especially those needing assistance with activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, and toileting.

 

Accessing medically competent care may also be a problem for older TGNC adults in long-term care. Geriatric care for TGNC older adults requires special considerations. Due to potential drug interactions, contraindications, and polypharmacy, TGNC older adults using hormone therapy concurrent with other medications may require close monitoring (Grant et al., 2011; SAGE & NCTE, 2012; Witten & Eyler, 2015). Sometimes these problems may require stopping hormone therapy, which may be especially traumatic for those who have transitioned later in life and not yet achieved their goals for masculinizing or feminizing their appearance.

 

Since private rooms in long-term care facilities are not covered by insurance, older TGNC adults may be assigned shared rooms based on their birth sex instead of their gender identities, which is problematic for the TGNC person as well as their roommate. The Department of Veterans Affairs (2013) has issued a directive that rooms for TGNC veterans are assigned based upon self-identified gender without regard to physical presentation or surgical history. This policy should be a requirement in all long-term care facilities.

 

The Nursing Home Reform Act and the Fair Housing Act prohibit TGNC discrimination and mistreatment in long-term care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity by health care organizations (NCTE, 2015), but this legal protection is at risk following the 2016 election with promises by those in power to repeal the ACA. If ACA repeal is successful, older TGNC people will lose safeguards around denial of services, access to facilities like restrooms that conform to their gender identities, isolation, deprivation, and harassment by staff.

 

For long-term care providers, there are a number of resources available for continuing education to better serve their TGNC clients. These include the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, which offers a variety of in-person and on-line training options (http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/training/index.cfm). Providers working with veterans can review training and education options in the VA system at http://www.patientcare.va.gov/LGBT/index.asp . And TRANSLINE provides on-line consultation for medical providers (http://project-health.org/transline/ ).

 

Sadly, we may soon witness a rollback of protections for TGNC individuals in long-term care. Therefore it is imperative that the TGNC community and their allies work harder than ever to insure that policies, legislation, and training programs are in place to guarantee that older TGNC people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve in long-term care and other clinical settings.

 

Portions of this blog were drawn from “Providing competent and affirming services for transgender and gender nonconforming older adults” (Porter, Brennan-Ing et al., 2016), and “Guidelines for psychological practice with transgender and gender nonconforming people (American Psychological Association, 2015).

 

References:

American Psychological Association (2015). Guidelines for psychological practice with transgender and gender nonconforming people. American Psychologist, 70(9), 832-864. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039906 .

Bockting, W. O., & Coleman, E. (2007). Developmental stages of the transgender coming‐out process. In R. Ettner, S. Monstrey, & A. Eyler (Eds.), Principles of transgender medicine and surgery (pp. 185‐208). New York, NY: Haworth.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA; 2013). Providing health care for transgender and intersex veterans (VHA Directive 2013–003). Retrieved from http://www.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=2863

Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., Tanis, J., Harrison, J., Herman, J. L., & Kiesling, M. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the national transgender discrimination survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality & National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved from http://endtransdiscrimination.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf

Ippolito, J., & Witten, T. M. (2014). Aging. In L. Erickson-Schroth (Ed.), Trans bodies, trans selves: A resource for the transgender community (pp. 476-497). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

National Center for Transgender Equality (2015). Know your rights: Healthcare. Retrieved from http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/healthcare

National Senior Citizens Law Center (2011). LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field.  Washington, DC: National Senior Citizens Law Center.

Porter, K. E., Brennan-Ing, M., Chang, S. C., dickey, l. m., Singh, A. A., Bower, K. L., & Witten, T. M. (2016). Providing competent and affirming services for transgender and gender nonconforming older adults. Clinical Gerontologist. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07317115.2016.1203383

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) & National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE; 2012). Improving the lives of transgender older adults. New York, NY: Authors. Retrieved from http://transequality.org/Resources/TransAgingPolicyReportFull.pdf

Witten, T.M. (2014). End of life, chronic illness and trans-identities. J. Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care, 10(1), 1-26. doi:10.1080/15524256.2013.988864

Witten, T.M. & Eyler, A.E. (2015). Care of aging transgender and gender non-conforming patients. In. R. Ettner, S. Monstrey and A.E. Eyler (Eds.), Principles of transgender medicine and surgery. New York, NY: Routledge Press.

 

Biography:

Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD is the Senior Research Scientist, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, City University of New York. He was the 2016 Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

 


Filed under: Aging, Health Disparities, LGBT Issues Tagged: health disparities, health equity, LGBT, long-term care, older adults, transgender

Are You a Boy or Girl? No: Living Outside the Gender Binary

gnbpost1

By Emmie Matsuno (Counseling Psychology doctoral student, University of California, Santa Barbara)

Transgender people are 25 times more likely to make a suicide attempt than the general population. Despite the high risk for a number of negative mental health outcomes, less than 30% of psychologists and psychology graduate students report familiarity with issues that transgender people experience. It’s likely that even fewer are familiar with non-binary gender identities.

Without knowledge about this vulnerable population and the best ways to support them, mental health providers may unintentionally mistreat gender non-binary people, who may perceive a lack of competence and resist treatment as a result. This article provides tips to mental health providers for working with gender non-binary clients. Even if a counselor has no experience working with any of these populations in the past, they can still be successful by avoiding assumptions and taking the role of a learner.

Gender non-binary is an umbrella term for many different gender identities, including identifying as both a man and a woman (bigender), neither a man nor a woman (agender), or another gender entirely (genderqueer). Although non-binary genders are not yet recognized in the U.S., other indigenous cultures around the world including India, Australia, and Germany are more accepting that there are more than two genders. In fact, currently 7 countries have legal gender markers outside traditional “female” and “male” categories.

Cultural competence for working with non-binary clients is important because:

  • 30-40% of the transgender community identifies outside of the gender binary. That’s nearly a quarter of a million people in the U.S. (the equivalent of the entire population of Orlando, Florida).
  • Some evidence indicates that gender non-binary people may be at the highest risk for mental health concerns within the transgender community.
  • Gender non-binary people experience different kinds of stigma and discrimination compared to transgender people who identify as men or women (e.g., people thinking they are confused or that their experience is invalid).

So while gender non-binary people are a large portion of the transgender community and are at potentially even greater mental health risk than other transgender folks, little research has been conducted on gender non-binary individuals, and practical implications specific to this population remain unaddressed.

As a gender nonconforming counseling psychology PhD student, my research focuses on transgender mental health, and I work closely with the transgender community in clinical and community settings. Here are things I’ve found really useful to do in my work with this population.

  • Avoid gender binary assumptions. Gender identity is not based on outward appearance. You can’t tell anyone’s gender by looking at him or her or them. If a client expresses that they are questioning their gender, avoid assuming that means they will want to transition into the other binary gender (e.g. “So you think you are actually a man?”).
  • Understand there is no right way to “transition.” While many transgender people including gender non-binary clients do want to go through various medical procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery, some transgender people do not want a medical transition and don’t need one to feel satisfied in their bodies. 
  • Practice using “they”/“them” as a singular pronoun. Always follow the client’s lead in terms of what pronouns to use. For example, many non-binary clients use they/them pronouns. The singular “they” was announced word of the year by the American Dialectic Society in 2015. It is here to stay. So while it may be difficult to get used to, it is important to respect the pronouns that your client uses. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Identify yourself as an ally. Transgender clients will often be on the look out to see whether they we be accepted and supported by the therapist. Having stickers, signs, or brochures that identify you as a transgender ally can go a long way in building trust with clients.
  • Create inclusive forms. Intake forms can have a large impact on whether or not non-binary clients trust the therapist and/or agency. Forms can be inclusive of all transgender identities by having a write-in option for gender and by including a pronoun section. This simple step can go a long way.

These small steps can make a huge impact for gender non-binary people who experience severe anxiety from unaffirming environments and are desperately searching for a safe space to be themselves.

Biography:

Emmie Matsuno is a third year PhD student in counseling psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She works with Dr. Tania Israel and project RISE conducting research on LGBT mental health and well being. Her personal research focuses on creating inclusive and supportive environments for transgender people. In addition to research, Emmie is currently an intern at Pacific Pride Foundation and volunteers for other organizations including the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN), Just Communities, and the Trans Task Force at UCSB.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com


 


Filed under: LGBT Issues Tagged: agender, bigender, cultural competence, gender identity, gender non-binary, mental health, transgender, transgender identity, transgender mental health

Are You a Boy or Girl? No: Living Outside the Gender Binary

gnbpost1

By Emmie Matsuno (Counseling Psychology doctoral student, University of California, Santa Barbara)

Transgender people are 25 times more likely to make a suicide attempt than the general population. Despite the high risk for a number of negative mental health outcomes, less than 30% of psychologists and psychology graduate students report familiarity with issues that transgender people experience. It’s likely that even fewer are familiar with non-binary gender identities.

Without knowledge about this vulnerable population and the best ways to support them, mental health providers may unintentionally mistreat gender non-binary people, who may perceive a lack of competence and resist treatment as a result. This article provides tips to mental health providers for working with gender non-binary clients. Even if a counselor has no experience working with any of these populations in the past, they can still be successful by avoiding assumptions and taking the role of a learner.

Gender non-binary is an umbrella term for many different gender identities, including identifying as both a man and a woman (bigender), neither a man nor a woman (agender), or another gender entirely (genderqueer). Although non-binary genders are not yet recognized in the U.S., other indigenous cultures around the world including India, Australia, and Germany are more accepting that there are more than two genders. In fact, currently 7 countries have legal gender markers outside traditional “female” and “male” categories.

Cultural competence for working with non-binary clients is important because:

  • 30-40% of the transgender community identifies outside of the gender binary. That’s nearly a quarter of a million people in the U.S. (the equivalent of the entire population of Orlando, Florida).
  • Some evidence indicates that gender non-binary people may be at the highest risk for mental health concerns within the transgender community.
  • Gender non-binary people experience different kinds of stigma and discrimination compared to transgender people who identify as men or women (e.g., people thinking they are confused or that their experience is invalid).

So while gender non-binary people are a large portion of the transgender community and are at potentially even greater mental health risk than other transgender folks, little research has been conducted on gender non-binary individuals, and practical implications specific to this population remain unaddressed.

As a gender nonconforming counseling psychology PhD student, my research focuses on transgender mental health, and I work closely with the transgender community in clinical and community settings. Here are things I’ve found really useful to do in my work with this population.

  • Avoid gender binary assumptions. Gender identity is not based on outward appearance. You can’t tell anyone’s gender by looking at him or her or them. If a client expresses that they are questioning their gender, avoid assuming that means they will want to transition into the other binary gender (e.g. “So you think you are actually a man?”).
  • Understand there is no right way to “transition.” While many transgender people including gender non-binary clients do want to go through various medical procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery, some transgender people do not want a medical transition and don’t need one to feel satisfied in their bodies. 
  • Practice using “they”/“them” as a singular pronoun. Always follow the client’s lead in terms of what pronouns to use. For example, many non-binary clients use they/them pronouns. The singular “they” was announced word of the year by the American Dialectic Society in 2015. It is here to stay. So while it may be difficult to get used to, it is important to respect the pronouns that your client uses. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Identify yourself as an ally. Transgender clients will often be on the look out to see whether they we be accepted and supported by the therapist. Having stickers, signs, or brochures that identify you as a transgender ally can go a long way in building trust with clients.
  • Create inclusive forms. Intake forms can have a large impact on whether or not non-binary clients trust the therapist and/or agency. Forms can be inclusive of all transgender identities by having a write-in option for gender and by including a pronoun section. This simple step can go a long way.

These small steps can make a huge impact for gender non-binary people who experience severe anxiety from unaffirming environments and are desperately searching for a safe space to be themselves.

Biography:

Emmie Matsuno is a third year PhD student in counseling psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She works with Dr. Tania Israel and project RISE conducting research on LGBT mental health and well being. Her personal research focuses on creating inclusive and supportive environments for transgender people. In addition to research, Emmie is currently an intern at Pacific Pride Foundation and volunteers for other organizations including the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN), Just Communities, and the Trans Task Force at UCSB.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com


 


Filed under: LGBT Issues Tagged: agender, bigender, cultural competence, gender identity, gender non-binary, mental health, transgender, transgender identity, transgender mental health

What Do We Need to Know About the Health of Older LGBT Adults? NIH Greenlights New Research

Gay Marriages NYC

By Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD (Director for Research and Evaluation at ACRIA, Center on HIV and Aging )

When we talk about fully including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in society, marriage equality and broader civil rights protections dominate our discourse. However, equally important are the numerous health disparities they experience in later life compared to heterosexuals. Older LGBT adults are not a small population. In 2015, the U.S. Administration for Community Living estimated that there were 1.8 to 4.0 million LGBT adults age 60 and older. A number that will grow to 7 million by 2030.

Healthy People 2020, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2011) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), identified addressing the health status of LGBT individuals, including older adults, as a priority. Healthy People 2020 and the IOM both note that the lack of representative, population-based data to inform policy and programs targeted at older LGBT adults hampers this goal. Most available evidence derives from studies using convenience samples, so the true extent of health disparities among this community is unknown.

With this caveat in mind, here is what existing research tells us about health disparities among older LGBT adults compared to heterosexuals:

  • Older gay and bisexual men and transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for the majority of people over age 50 with HIV/AIDS (CDC, 2013)
  • Higher rates of tobacco use, disability and poorer self-reported health are reported by older LGBT individuals (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2011; Wallace et al., 2011)
  • There are higher obesity rates for older lesbian and bisexual women (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2011)
  • Older LGBT adults report increased levels of depressive symptoms, alcohol consumption, and use of other substances (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2011)

To address this knowledge gap, the National Institute on Aging, part of NIH, approved funding to Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen at the University of Washington in 2015 to study health disparities in older LGBT adults. Her multiyear study is entitled, “Older Adults in Vulnerable Communities: Health and Quality of Life Over Time.”

This research builds and extends upon Fredriksen-Goldsen’s earlier seminal study, “Caring and Aging with Pride (CAP)” (2011), one of the first large-scale studies of older LGBT aging and health. Incorporating 2,000 individuals from the CAP study, the new effort will follow 4,550 LGBT adults age 50 and older. [Disclaimer: I was/am a research participant in both of these studies].

Fredriksen-Goldsen’s study will also examine barriers to health care in the special context of LGBT aging. It is understandable that after facing a lifetime of discrimination and marginalization that many LGBT older adults distrust the mainstream institutions and service providers that most heterosexual older adults count on as resources for growing older. The vital data that Fredriksen-Goldsen and colleagues produce will be an important tool for reducing health disparities in older LGBT adults, by helping them to lead fuller and healthier lives and achieve greater equality in our society.

 

References:

 

Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H. J., Emlet, C. A., Muraco, A., & Erosheva, E. (2011). The aging and health report: Disparities and resilience among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. Seattle: Institutional for Multigenerational Health.

 

Wallace, S. P., Cochran, S. D., Durazo, E. M., & Ford, C. L. (2011). The health of aging lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

 

Biography:

 

Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD is the Director for Research and Evaluation at ACRIA, Center on HIV and Aging and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the New York University College of Nursing. He is the 2016 Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

For more on this topic, check out APA’s resource page on LGBT Aging.

Image source: Flickr user Jose Antonio Navas via Creative Commons


Filed under: Aging, LGBT Issues, Public Policy Tagged: discrimination, gay, health disparities, health policy, healthy aging, homophobia, lesbian, LGBT, LGBT health, prejudice, transgender, transgender older adults, transphobia

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race, Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies, Making Sense of the Senseless Violence, Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time and more- In Case You Missed It– December 8th, 2015

roundup image

Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health, and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address a new KFF/CNN survey on race, how covering transgender care is good economics for insurance companies, making sense of the senseless violence, too much TV and chill could reduce brain power over time, and more. 

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race Finds Deep Divisions in How Blacks, Whites and Hispanics Experience and View Race Relations, Discrimination and the Police – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

With racial incidents and concerns continuing to make national headlines, a new Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN Survey of Americans on Race probes deeply into the views and experiences of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, including their personal experiences with discrimination. The survey captures both similarities and differences in how people of different races view race relations, the criminal justice system, incidents of police violence against Blacks, and the Black Lives Matter movement. It also explores their experiences on racial issues and the dramatic differences in the ways people of different races view them. CNN is featuring the poll’s findings on air and across its digital platforms. A Foundation report summarizes the poll’s findings and provides the detailed question-by-question results.

Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies– The Atlantic

While some health insurance companies are starting to pay for gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy, a majority of them still do not. The American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association are just a few organizations that consider gender-transition services to be medically necessary for transgender people. Treatments like gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy are an investment in reducing future health expenses. William Padula, at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, looks at the cost-effectiveness of transgender health care.  He found that “coverage is of really good value and it’s a low-budget impact for society from an insurance standpoint.” His view?  Health insurances companies can absolutely afford to cover the health concerns of transgender people

Making Sense of the Senseless Violence– U.S. News & World Report

Mass shootings have become a regular part of life in America. Mental health experts warn that this exposure to violence may have some major consequences for the nation. Americans are left numb by the constant exposure to violence, which according to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, is a normal reaction. APA Fellow Russell Jones, PhD says “people can become very fearful and apprehensive,” some people have become more isolated as they continue to be exposed to constant violence. Dr. Renee Binder, President of the American Psychiatric Association, believes there are steps that can be taken to cope. These steps include reassuring your children that they are safe and creating an open and safe space to talk about these issues with your children. APA has tips for talking to kids about difficult news and disasters.

Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time – NPR

According to a study at the University of California, San Francisco, published in JAMA Psychiatry, people who get little exercise or watch at least 3 hours of TV a day do worse on tests measuring cognitive focus and speed. Marcus Richards, a psychologist at the University College London, says it’s reasonable to think the gap in cognitive function between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers might widen over the years. For some, the early decline in cognitive functioning could become serious later in life.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

Leave us a comment.

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Filed under: Culture, Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, In Case You Missed It, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized Tagged: discrimination, race, transgender

Tipping Point or State of Emergency? Real Talk About Transgender Women of Color

index

Zella Ziona, transgender woman murdered in Gaithersburg, MD, October 15, 2015.

By Sand C. Chang, PhD (Gender Specialist, Multi-Specialty Transitions Department, Kaiser Permanente) and Kimber Shelton, PhD (KLS Counseling & Consulting Services, Dallas, TX)

In June 2014, TIME magazine featured Laverne Cox on the cover, the title reading “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The message to the world was, “We’ve arrived.” While the scales have tipped for some transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, notably those with access to wealth or those that fit a mainstream beauty ideal, the rest are left behind. Members of TGNC communities of color are having a different discussion. In panels and forums, on social media, in conversation, they are saying, “The transgender tipping point is crushing us.”

The notion that we as a society have arrived at a time and place in which TGNC people have gained equality is misleading. It creates an illusion of safety, reinforcing a binary gender system and excluding TGNC people at the margins—those most deeply affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and poverty. The “transgender community” is not one community but many communities. Recent advancements in legislation and health care have greatly benefited some, but the progress is not equally distributed, and the increased visibility does not equal acceptance, which is clear when we consider the realities of many Black and Latina TGNC women’s lives.

Barely one year after being featured in TIME, Laverne Cox herself declared a “state of emergency” for TGNC people. And this is why:

Transgender women of color advocate for more care and bring attention to the disproportionate rates of physical violence, sexual assault, and poverty that negatively affect their communities. By living out loud, transgender women of color also demonstrate the resilience and strength within their communities. Organizations leading awareness and advocacy efforts, such as the #blacktranswomenlivesmatter campaign, include the TransWomen of Color Collective, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Racial and Economic Justice Initiative, Transgender Law Center (TLC), TAJA’s Coalition, and Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC).

Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th honors the lives of transgender people who were killed in the past year, including the Black and Latina victims of hate crimes. However, it is not enough to remember and honor the transgender women whose lives were lost in 2015. Psychologists can mark November 20th as the day that they joined or advanced efforts to support transgender women of color, uniting with transgender women of color to create an uplifting tipping point that is inclusive of their intersecting identities.  Here are some things psychologists can do:

  • Engage in culturally competent practice, including use of the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.
  • Use voice and media presence to call attention to hate crimes, suicide rates, violence and abuse, and housing and economic disparities disproportionately impacting transgender women of color.
  • Advance research efforts that are inclusive of the gender, racial, and economic realities of transgender women of color.
  • Use your political power to promote federal and state protection for the civil liberties of TGNC individuals.
  • Celebrate and promote the identities, lives, and resilience of TGNC women of color.
  • Consider making a donation to an organization dedicated to increasing safety and equal rights for transgender women of color.
  • Include curriculum in training and supervision about transgender people and their lives.

And we can all #sayhername. These are the names of the transgender and gender nonconforming people whose lives have been lost to violence so far in 2015:

  1. Papi Edwards
  2. Lamia Beard
  3. Ty Underwood
  4. Yazmin Vash Payne
  5. Taja Gabrielle de Jesus
  6. Penny Proud
  7. Kristina Gomez Reinwald
  8. London Chanel
  9. Mercedes Williamson
  10. India Clarke
  11. K.C. Haggard
  12. Amber Monroe
  13. Ms. Shade Schuler
  14. Ashton O’Hara
  15. Kandis Capri
  16. Elisha Walker
  17. Tamara Dominguez
  18. Jasmine Collins
  19. Keyshia Blige
  20. Jessie Hernandez
  21. Kiesha Jenkins
  22. Zella Ziona

Biographies:

Dr. Sand Chang is a Chinese American, nonbinary/genderqueer licensed psychologist. Sand is currently a Gender Specialist at the Multi-Specialty Transitions Department at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and maintains a private practice specializing in trauma and EMDR, addictions, relationships, and healing work with marginalized communities, particularly people affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Sand is the current Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and recently completed an appointment on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.

Dr. Kimber Shelton is a licensed psychologist and owner of KLS Counseling & Consulting Services in Dallas, TX. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia (UGA) and MS in Mental Health Counseling from Niagara University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association Committee of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, co-chair of the Texas Psychological Association Diversity Division, and recipient of the UGA College of Education Professional Achievement Award.


Filed under: Culture, Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized Tagged: advocacy, discrimination, LGBT, prejudice, race, transgender