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Entries in Bisexual (6)

Tuesday
Dec132011

1.6 Million Kids Homeless -- 40 Percent of Them LGBT

George Doyle/Stockbyte(WASHINGTON) -- A report released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, "America's Youngest Outcasts," finds one in 45 American children 18 and under -- 1.6 million -- live on the street, in homeless shelters, motels or with other families last year.

That number is up 33 percent from 2007.

Of those children, about 20 to 40 percent identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), according to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

In one study, 26 percent of teens who came out to their parents were told they must leave home. Others said they were physically, sexually or emotionally abused. The task force added that LGBT youth also reported that they are threatened, belittled and abused at shelters, not only by other residents, but by staff, as well.

Resources for homeless LGBT youth are scarce and shelters are at capacity, especially in New York City where the Ali Forney Center (AFC), estimates 3,800 youth are homeless, about 1,600 of them LGBT.

The most common cause of homelessness is family rejection.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov022011

Study: Kids Raised by Gay Couples Are at Risk for Legal Discrimination

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two million children in the United States are being raised by lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender parents (LGBT), according to the 2010 Census.

And now a new study, "All Children Matter," concludes that these children have become the "collateral damage" of laws and policies that discriminate against LGBT Americans.

The report comes just as the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin debate Nov. 3 on the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and prohibits the federal government from providing benefits to same-sex couples.

The study was conducted by a coalition of advocacy groups, including the Family Equality Council, the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress, the National Association of Social Workers, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and COLAGE, with a foreword by the Child Welfare League of America.

Laws like those in North Carolina deny legal ties to the non-biological parent, having an effect on custody arrangements, inheritance and Social Security survivor benefits in the event of a death of the parent who is a "legal stranger."

They also make adoption impossible for children awaiting homes in those states.

"Even if you are an opponent of gays and lesbians, the fact is, they are already raising kids and these are policies that leave them economically destitute or undermine their family stability," said Ineke Mushovic, one of the study authors from the Movement Advancement Project.

"It's just wrong, and I don't think the majority of Americans and policy makers really understand the lack of recognition for these families has this kind of impact and harms kids," she said.

North Carolina is among the top 12 states where LGBT couples are raising children, but also among those with the least gay-friendly laws.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun202011

Halfway Out: Why Many Stay Closeted in the Workplace

Medioimages/Photodisc(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- In a study released Monday from the University of Rochester researchers found that 69 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals surveyed are still closeted in some sphere of their life, whether with families, colleagues, or their religious community.

Research repeatedly shows that, in general, coming out is a good thing from a mental health standpoint: people report higher self-esteem, lower rates of anxiety and depression and closer interpersonal relationships.

What Monday's study shows, however, is that this psychological boost varies greatly depending on the environment one comes out to -- when an individual came out in a judgmental environment, there was almost no improvement to emotional well-being, researchers found; in a supportive environment, huge improvements.

This may explain why so many individuals choose to remain closeted in environments most likely to be judgmental -- work, church, or among certain family members.

"What we're seeing is that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people are quite selective in where they come out. They're sensitive to some of the costs of coming out in an environment that may not be wholly supportive of their sexual orientation," says Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and co-author on the study.

"Coming out is a good thing, psychologically speaking, but what we're seeing is that the benefits are balanced out by stigma and non-acceptance in certain environments," says Ryan.

It all boils down to that personal decision of where it's worth it, he says.

Work may prove to be an especially large hurdle for LGBT individuals in the process of coming out. In the Rochester study, half of those surveyed were out among friends or family but not among colleagues or fellow students. In most cases, this was because the workplace was seen as a controlling, non-accepting environment.

"I know friends who wouldn't come out because they feared facing discrimination and a glass ceiling in terms of promotions. I know others who came out in their work place when it was not in the best interest of their career, but it was in the interest of their happiness. It's a choice everyone has to make for themselves," says Gregory Angelo, executive director of Liberty Education Forum, a gay rights think-tank.

But does staying in the closet at work do oneself a disservice? Does it do the gay community a disservice? This is a point of tension between the more radical gay activists and others in the LGBT community.

"There's two sides to coming out -- those who view it as a political statement and those who view it as a personal statement," says Angelo.  "I tend to lean towards it being a personal statement."

Most psychologists would agree with Angelo -- coming out strategically may be the healthiest thing for the individual, depending on their situation.

Rich Savin-Williams, director of the Sex & Gender Lab at Cornell University,  says that he advises his college-aged patients to consider being selective in the way they come out.

"There is a political agenda that some gay people would advocate that everyone must come out everywhere, but from a psychological perspective, treating real people who have to live real lives, I wouldn't say that's a bright thing to do. For college-aged kids, coming out to a conservative family may cut them off financially or the family might withdraw from them school. I've seen both of these things happen and clearly that wasn't the ideal way to come out," he says.

"I think it's smart to at least initially be careful in how we come out and then as we develop the support systems we need, we branch out and take more risks," Savin-Williams says.

The take-home message researchers at the University of Rochester offer? If the psychological benefits of coming out are directly proportional to how accepting the environment is, then we must work to make all environments supportive of sexual identity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun072011

Homosexual Teens More Likely to Engage in Risky Behavior

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A high school student's sexual orientation may indicate whether or not the teenager is more likely to engage in risky behavior, according to a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Analyzing data from students in grades nine through 12 between 2001 and 2009, researchers found that teens who reported being gay, lesbian, or bisexual were more likely than their heterosexual classmates to put themselves in harm's way, taking part in more than half of the 10 health risk categories the CDC measured.

Specifically, gay or lesbian students were more likely to engage in risky behaviors listed under seven of the 10 categories -- behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management.

Bisexual students were also more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to engage in behaviors listed under the same seven categories as gay and lesbian students, with the addition of one category -- behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries.

"This report should be a wake-up call for families, schools and communities that we need to do a much better job of supporting these young people," said Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.  "Any effort to promote adolescent health and safety must take into account the additional stressors these youth experience because of their sexual orientation, such as stigma, discrimination, and victimization."´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Cancer More Prevalent Among Gay Men, Study Finds

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Gay men are nearly twice as likely to report being diagnosed with cancer when compared to heterosexual men, according to a new study released Monday.

Researchers at Boston University School of Public Health reviewed data from the California Health Interview survey carried out in 2001, 2003, and 2005.  They found that about 8 percent of the gay men surveyed had been diagnosed with cancer, while only about 5 percent of heterosexual men were.

The rates of cancer diagnoses among lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women, on the other hand, were similar.  However, when it came to cancer survivors, the researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women were twice as likely to report fair or poor health when compared to heterosexual women.

The study, which was published in the journal Cancer, sought to address the shortfall in cancer surveillance data, which omits information on sexual orientation, leaving little to be known about the disease in the lesbian, gay and bisexual populations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar312011

More Federal Funding for LGBT Research

Medioimages/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- In a landmark moment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the Institute of Medicine on Thursday published a report for the National Institutes of Health emphasizing the need for more federally funded research on LGBT health problems.

Those in the LGBT community face rampant discrimination and misinformation when it comes to getting adequate health care. Gaps in practitioner education and overall gaps in available data on the needs, risks and concerns of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are identified in the IOM report.

The purpose of the report was to inform the National Institutes of Health on research needs, but many hope it will motivate a range of health care professionals to start collecting data and looking at the specific health problems facing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and lesbians, says Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel of the Human Rights Campaign.

The report identifies dozens of health findings regarding LGBT health disparities, synthesizing more than 100 studies from the past decades on this topic.

Poor access to health insurance because of discrimination among employee-provided health care to spouses and domestic partners, high rates of mental health problems, including substance abuse, depression and thoughts of suicide, and increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases are just a few of the more pressing concerns identified in the report, says report committee member Judith Bradford, director of the Center or Population Research in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health at the Fenway Institute.

Less publicized health problems include a lack of LGBT training in medical schools, the special health risks experienced by elder LGBTs and a dearth of research into almost all areas of the transgender experience.

Many who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender recognize the IOM report as an enormous step in the direction of health care parity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







ABC News Radio