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"That's so gay"? That's so harmful
Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that the commonly used phrase “that’s so gay” can have harmful consequences among gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Data published in an article in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health shows that such students who heard the phrase were more likely to feel isolated and suffer from headaches, poor appetite or eating issues. WWJ-TV/WWJ-AM (Detroit) (8/28)


Sexual Orientation Affects Cancer Survivorship, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (May 9, 2011) — Gay men have a higher prevalence of cancer compared with heterosexual men, and lesbian and bisexual female cancer survivors report lower levels of health than heterosexual female cancer survivors. Those are the conclusions of a new study published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.The study's findings shed light on the types of programs and services that are needed to assist lesbian, gay, and bisexual cancer survivors.Cancer surveillance studies don't ask questions about sexual orientation, which means there is scarce information about how many cancer survivors identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Hoping to fill this information gap, Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, of the Boston University School of Public Health and her colleagues examined the prevalence of cancer survival by sexual orientation in California. They also investigated how the health of cancer survivors differs depending on sexual orientation.  Read the entire article.

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Potential for Same Sex Attraction –
A PART OF EVOLUTION?

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2010) — Male homosexuality doesn't make complete sense from an evolutionary point of view. It appears that the trait is heritable, but because homosexual men are much less likely to produce offspring than heterosexual men, shouldn't the genes for this trait have been extinguished long ago? What value could this sexual orientation have, that it has persisted for eons even without any discernible reproductive advantage?  Read the entire article.


People in Jobs Traditionally Held by the Other Sex are Judged More Harshly for Mistakes
ScienceDaily (Dec. 8, 2010) — In these modern times, people can have jobs that weren't traditionally associated with their genders. Men are nurses; women are CEOs. A new study examines perceptions of people in high-powered jobs and finds that they're likely to be judged more harshly for mistakes if they're in a job that's not normally associated with their gender.  Read the entire article.


Sexual Orientation and Gender Conforming Traits in Women Are Genetic
ScienceDaily (July 9, 2011) — Sexual orientation and 'gender conformity' in women are both genetic traits, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

It is well recognized that there consistent differences in the psychological characteristics of boys and girls; for example, boys engage in more 'rough and tumble' play than girls do.

Studies also show that children who become gay or lesbian adults differ in such traits from those who become heterosexual -- so-called gender nonconformity. Research which follows these children to adulthood shows that between 50 to 80 per cent of gender nonconforming boys become gay, and about one third of such girls become lesbian.

Writing in the online journal PLoS ONE, Dr Andrea Burri and Dr Qazi Rahman from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences report that a shared set of genes and shared set of random environmental factors is partially responsible both for gender nonconformity and female sexual orientation.  Read the entire article.

An Offensive Term?

Offensive: “homosexual” (n. or adj.)
Preferred: “gay” (adj.); “gay man” or “lesbian” (n.); “gay person/people”Please use “gay” or “lesbian” to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. Because of the clinical history of the word “homosexual,” it is aggressively used by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered – notions discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s. Please avoid using “homosexual” except in direct quotes. Please also avoid using “homosexual” as a style variation simply to avoid repeated use of the word “gay.” The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post restrict use of the term “homosexual” (see AP, New York Times & Washington Post Style). 

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Opinions

A marriage solution for the Supreme Court
Mae Kuykendall, a professor of law at Michigan State University, writes that the U.S. Supreme Court could extricate itself from a messy situation by ruling that individual states may prohibit legal marriages of same-sex couples within their borders, but that all states must recognize married couples who wed legally elsewhere. “The justices should neither mandate state marriage law nor tolerate the arbitrary use of state power to void a critical legal status awarded to more and more American couples,” writes Kuykendall. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (5/23)

Psychiatry Giant Sorry for Backing Gay ‘Cure’

PRINCETON, N.J. — The simple fact was that he had done something wrong, and at the end of a long and revolutionary career it didn’t matter how often he’d been right, how powerful he once was, or what it would mean for his legacy.

Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, considered by some to be the father of modern psychiatry, lay awake at 4 o’clock on a recent morning knowing he had to do the one thing that comes least naturally to him.

He pushed himself up and staggered into the dark. His desk seemed impossibly far away; Dr. Spitzer, who turns 80 next week, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has trouble walking, sitting, even holding his head upright.

The word he sometimes uses to describe these limitations — pathetic — is the same one that for decades he wielded like an ax to strike down dumb ideas, empty theorizing and junk studies.   

Now here he was at his computer, ready to recant a study he had done himself, a poorly conceived 2003 investigation that supported the use of so-called reparative therapy to “cure” homosexuality for people strongly motivated to change.

What to say? The issue of gay marriage was rocking national politics yet again. The California State Legislature was debating a bill to ban the therapy outright as being dangerous. A magazine writer who had been through the therapy as a teenager recently visited his house, to explain how miserably disorienting the experience was.

And he would later learn that a World Health Organization report, released on Thursday, calls the therapy “a serious threat to the health and well-being — even the lives — of affected people.”

Dr. Spitzer’s fingers jerked over the keys, unreliably, as if choking on the words. And then it was done: a short letter to be published this month, in the same journal where the original study appeared.

“I believe,” it concludes, “I owe the gay community an apology.”  Read the rest of the article from the NYT.

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Seniors Face Harder Old Age, U. S. Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2011) — Aging and health issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender baby boomers have been largely ignored by services, policies and research. These seniors face higher rates of disability, physical and mental distress and a lack of access to services, according to the first study on aging and health in these communities.

The study, released Nov. 16 and led by Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen and colleagues at the University of Washington's School of Social Work, indicates that prevention and intervention strategies must be developed to address the unique needs of these seniors, whose numbers are expected to double to more than 4 million by 2030. 

"The higher rates of aging and health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults is a major concern for public health," said Fredriksen-Goldsen, a UW professor of social work and director of UW's Institute for Multigenerational Health. "The health disparities reflect the historical and social context of their lives, and the serious adversity they have encountered can jeopardize their health and willingness to seek services in old age." 

She presented some of the study's key findings last week during a congressional briefing.  Read the entire article.


Gender Stereotypes Makes Women Less Likely to Take Financial Risks
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — Last year Nicholas Kristof declared in his New York Times column what banks need to fix their problems: Not just a bailout, but also "women, women, and women." Women are generally thought to be less willing to take risks than men, so he speculated that the banks could balance out risky men by employing more women. Stereotypes like this about women actually influence how women make financial decisions, making them more wary of risk, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.  Read the entire article


Older Lesbians, Gays Have Higher Rates of Chronic Disease, Mental Distress, Isolation
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2011) — Members of California's aging lesbian, gay and bisexual population are more likely to suffer from certain chronic conditions, even as they wrestle with the challenges of living alone in far higher numbers than the heterosexual population, according to new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Half of all gay and bisexual adult men in California between the ages of 50 and 70 are living alone, compared with 13.4 percent of heterosexual men in the same age group. And although older California lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to live with a partner or a family member than their male counterparts, more than one in four live alone, compared with one in five heterosexual women.

A lack of immediate family support may impact aging LGB adults' ability to confront statistically higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, poor mental health, physical disability and self-assessed fair or poor health, compared with demographically similar aging heterosexual adults.  Read the entire article.

‘Invisible And Overlooked’
Sep 17, 2008 8:00 PM EDT
From NEWSWEEK

A growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens seeks recognition for their unique needs and challenges.

Bob McCoy is a youthful, active 78-year-old. He sings in his church choir, takes a weekly computer class, and regularly attends social gatherings organized by a gay senior citizens group in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lives. But McCoy worries about a day when he can no longer care for himself: he has no close family, no partner, and he's outlived most of his friends. "I'm used to having friends I can call up and say, 'Let's go to [a movie],'" he says. "But now there's nobody to call." 

Newly engaged, Jim Fetterman, 62, and Ilde Gonzalez-Rivera, 56, look forward to growing old together at their home in Queens, N.Y., where they share a ga

rden and a green Cadillac. But the couple isn't sure if or when they'll be able to marry. Their house is in Rivera's name, but because the couple can't legally wed in New York, Fetterman won't automatically inherit it, should his partner die. And even though they are registered domestic partners in New York City, neither man will have access to the other's Social Security, because the federal government doesn't recognize their relationship. "It's not something we like to think about, but there's a certain amount of anxiety that comes with not having those things," says Fetterman.

These are typical faces of the gay and aging—a growing population often overlooked by mainstream advocates. Gerontologists haven't traditionally viewed sexual orientation as relevant to their work—and, according to a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, most national health surveys of elderly citizens fail to assess sexual orientation. But gay seniors confront unique challenges: they're twice as likely as straights to live alone, and 10 times less likely to have a caretaker should they fall ill. Older gay men are at high risk for HIV, and many suffer the psychological effects of losing friends to the AIDS crisis. (See our report on HIV and aging.) Many face discrimination in medical and social services, and on top of it all, they're less likely to have health insurance: one survey, by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law, at UCLA, estimates that gay seniors are half as likely to have coverage as their straight counterparts.  Read the rest of the article from Newsweek.


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