Posted by on February 1, 2013 - 10:03am

The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

Bisexual women (61.1%) reported a significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner when compared to both lesbian (43.8%) and heterosexual women (35.0%).

On January 25, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first of its kind report on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking victimization by respondents’ sexual orientation. This report highlights the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, using 2010 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).

The findings in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation Report underscore the importance of prevention efforts. NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at the specific needs of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) communities, state and national organizations, and also a way to monitor and measure these efforts. The combined efforts of public health, criminal justice, service providers, and other stakeholders can improve our knowledge about IPV, SV, and stalking in LGB communities and improve the availability of prevention programs and services for those affected by violence.

More information:   Access the report

Posted by on October 3, 2012 - 11:47am

The following is written verbatim from the the Lesbian Community Cancer Project:   Within the last decade, the relationship between mental health and sexual orientation has been researched more comprehensively. Studies have found that women who engage in same-sex sexual behavior and/or identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer (LGBQ), are at greater risk for mental health concerns than women who do not engage in same-sex sexual behavior. Specifically, women who identify as LGBQ often experience feelings of depression, anxiety and stress based on living in a stigmatized and homophobic culture, and may engage in risky behaviors (e.g., alcohol, drug, or tobacco use) to relieve these emotions. These risky behaviors are ultimately associated with negative psychological, health and job-related outcomes.

LGBQ women are also at increased risk of interpersonal victimization (i.e., verbal, physical and sexual abuse) compared to their heterosexual counterparts. As a result, LGBQ women may experience internalized homophobia (i.e., negative feelings or attitudes towards oneself for identifying as LGBQ, based on living within a homophobic society), which is also linked to depression, anxiety, stress and greater alcohol/drug use. For individuals who identify as trans-masculine or trans-feminine, the risks of mental and behavioral health concerns increase significantly.

It is important to know that, while these mental health concerns may be overwhelming or discouraging, these feelings and stressors are not your fault. Remember that places like Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) are here for you, and provide health and wellness services that are specialized for the LGBTQ community.

Reference:  The Impact of Minority Stress on Mental Health and Substance Use Among Sexual Minority Women by Keren Lahavot and Jane M. Simoni.

Posted by on May 13, 2012 - 10:12am

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals (LGBT) experience differences in receipt of health care services and are sometimes denied services according to a new report. Some of the  key findings from the National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) related to health care for the LGBT population are:

  • Transgender people are more likely to be uninsured and less likely to have employer-based health insurance than the general population.
  • Half of transgender people postponed care when sick or injured and postponed preventive health care due to cost. Among uninsured transgender people, 88% postponed care due to cost.
  • About 30% of transgender people postponed care when sick or injured and postponed preventive health care due to discrimination and disrespect by providers. Female-to-male transgender people were most likely to postpone care due to discrimination.
  • One in five transgender people has been denied services by a doctor or other provider due to their gender. Racial and ethnic minority transgender people are more likely to be denied services.

Another report by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and  Lesbian Task Force can be accessed HERE.



Posted by on May 11, 2011 - 8:39am

According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, researchers need to engage more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in health studies.   The scarcity of research (among this population) yields an incomplete picture of LGBT health status and needs, which is further fragmented by the tendency to treat sexual and gender minorities as a single homogeneous group.

We have only recently  learned that race and sex play an important role in health status.      "It was only when researchers made deliberate efforts to engage women and racial and ethnic minorities in studies that we discovered differences in how some diseases occur in and affect specific populations.   Routine collection of information on race and ethnicity has expanded our understanding of conditions that are more prevalent among various groups or that affect them differently.   We should strive for the same attention to and engagement of sexual and gender minorities in health research," said Robert Graham, professor of family medicine at U. of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and chair of the committee issuing the report.

Because LGBT individuals make up a minority of the population, researchers face challenges in recruiting sufficient numbers of these individuals to yield meaningful data.   Stigma experienced by gender and sexual minorities can make them reluctant to disclose their orientation, worsening the problem.

The report recommends that federally funded surveys should proactively collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as they routinely gather information on race and ethnicity.  Information on patients' sexual orientation and gender identity also should be collected in electronic health records, provided that privacy concerns can be satisfactorily addressed, the committee said.   The U.S.  National Institute of Health should support the development of standardized measures of sexual orientation and gender identity for use in federal surveys and other areas of data collection.

At our Institute of Women's Health Research at Northwestern U., we grappled with this issue for our Illinois Women's Health Registry which now has over 6000 women enrolled who are interested in participating in research.   Almost 3 % of our participants have identified themselves at lesbian.   One of the unresolved issues is how to include transgendered individuals who may be male or female at birth (their biological sex) but now live as female or male, respectively (their gender identity).   Can they only complete the Registry if they are born female, yet would that deny their gender identity as male?   This is certainly a complex issue and one that needs attention as sexual orientation becomes more mainstreamed and accepted.  The health risks of this populations could be significant since individuals undergoing a sex change are exposed to a variety of drugs and hormones that could influence health.  Guidance in this area would be very helpful to us.