Health Care

Pentagon refocuses on surgery for transgender troops

Two weeks after the Pentagon announced the new TriCare policy which includes coverage for counseling and hormones, but not for endocrine treatment for children or gender reassignment surgeries, and one week after Chelsea Manning was approved to seek treatment by a surgeon, the Pentagon has changed its tune:

Transgender troops on active duty may qualify for sex-reassignment surgery if their physicians deem it necessary, according to Pentagon officials.

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CDC still clueless, eliminates a letter from high school sexual minorities

New York Times Magazine has delved into the newest CDC study on the health risks of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students. I would like to have said LGBT students, but there was apparently nowhere on the survey where a participant could identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

It’s easy to assume that now must be a better time than ever to be a lesbian, gay or bisexual teenager. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Our culture has grown more accepting, too; one of the most anticipated albums of the year, Frank Ocean’s, embraces his desire for men. These factors work together to create the illusion that as a society we are barreling toward a world of complete liberation, where everyone is truly free to be whoever they are.

--Jenna Wortham, author

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DoD announces new TriCare Transgender Policy

Military.com announced yesterday the release of a new TriCare policy which includes some coverage of treatment for transgender people. TriCare governs medical treatment for military members, their family, and retirees.

The move gives the health care system's regional contractors the go-ahead to cover some transgender care starting Oct. 6.

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Surprise: Fake medical group provides fake science

From just a glimpse at their name, one would have no reason to doubt the authenticity of an organization calling itself The American College of Pediatricians. Sounds legit, right?

But in your mind, what you are most likely confusing this organization with is the medical organization The American Academy of Pediatrics.

How does Wikipedia describe The American College of Pediatricians?

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a small, socially conservative advocacy group of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States.

The group was founded in 2002 by a group of pediatricians, including Joseph Zanga, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as a protest against the AAP's support for adoption by gay couples.

Zanga has described it as a group "with Judeo-Christian, traditional values that is open to pediatric medical professionals of all religions" provided that they "hold true to the group's core beliefs: that life begins at conception; and that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children."

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Classifying difference

The Lancet Psychiatry has released results of what is being called the first field study on the topic of transgender mental health: Removing transgender identity from the classification of mental disorders: a Mexican field study for ICD-11

The conceptualisation of transgender identity as a mental disorder has contributed to precarious legal status, human rights violations, and barriers to appropriate health care among transgender people. The proposed reconceptualisation of categories related to transgender identity in WHO's forthcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-11 removes categories related to transgender identity from the classification of mental disorders, in part based on the idea that these conditions do not satisfy the definitional requirements of mental disorders. We aimed to determine whether distress and impairment, considered essential characteristics of mental disorders, could be explained by experiences of social rejection and violence rather than being inherent features of transgender identity, and to examine the applicability of other elements of the proposed ICD-11 diagnostic guidelines.

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NEJM addresses bathroom issue and transgender equality

The New England Journal of Medicine has weighed in on how the bathroom issue affects the health of transgender people in an article entitled Beyond Bathrooms — Meeting the Health Needs of Transgender People by Mark A Schuster, Sari L. Reisner and Sarah E. Onorato which appeared in the July 14, issue.

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Lancet tackles worldwide lack of transgender healthcare

Despite the recent flurry of media attention that has been directed toward transgender people, they and their health needs remain poorly understood, experts say.

Yesterday The Lancet published a series of articles on the health, social and legal conditions in which transgender people live.

Many of the health challenges faced by transgender people are exacerbated by laws and policies that deny them gender recognition.

In no other community is the link between rights and health so clearly visible as in the transgender community. Faced with stigma, discrimination and abuse, transgender people are pushed to the margins of society, excluded from the workplace, their families and health care. Many are drawn into risky situations or behaviors, such as unsafe sex or substance abuse, which leave them at risk of further ill health.

--Dr. Sam Winter

The majority of countries worldwide do not offer legal or administrative measures enabling gender recognition for transgender people. In Europe, eight countries fail to offer legal recognition to transgender people, and 17 countries still impose sterilization on people who seek gender recognition.

As of June 2016, Argentina, Denmark, Malta, Ireland, and Norway had laws that allow transgender people to determine their gender through an administrative process. Furthermore, Argentina and Malta affirm the right of transgender people to appropriate healthcare.

New Zealand, Australia, Nepal, Pakistan, and India are beginning to recognize gender diversity beyond the binary.

A comprehensive public health approach to address the health of transgender people requires access to gender affirmation services, evidence-based health-care delivery systems, and effective partnerships with local transgender communities.

Although there are substantial gaps in empirical research on transgender issues, there are sufficient actionable data highlighting unique biological, behavioural, social, and structural contextual factors surrounding health risks and resiliencies for transgender people that need interventions.

--Dr. Sari L. Reisner

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Health news for LGBT people

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn writes at Health IT News about health disparities faced by the LGBT community in America.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, has an over-arching goal to improve the health, safety, and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The CDC points out that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of civil and human rights. These challenges have been associated, in clinical peer-reviewed literature, with higher rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.

Experiences of violence are frequent for LGBT individuals

--CDC

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