On June 1st, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an official White House proclamation declaring June to be Pride Month in the U.S. He's only the third president to do so; President Clinton offered an official proclamation in 1999 and 2000 and President Obama issued a proclamation each year he was in office. Pride Month officially commemorates the Stonewall Riots that occurred in June 1969, widely regarding as one of the foundational events of the modern fight for LGBTQ rights. While Pride serves as a celebration of the victories that the community has gained in the intervening decades, it is also a sobering reminder of the many ways in which LGBTQ citizens remain underserved (at best) and discriminated against, harassed, and targeted for violence (at worst).
Same-sex marriage has only been legal in all 50 states in the U.S. for six years. Federal legislation provides no protections against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 33 states introduced legislation last year aimed at limiting the rights and privileges of transgender Americans, many of them specifically targeting minors. Depression affects LGBTQ people at higher rates compared to cisgender/heterosexual individuals, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. In response to a complex array of social challenges and the notoriously glacial pace of legislative change, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups are working to fill the gaps for this vulnerable population by providing much needed social services like supportive housing, legal advice, and mental health assistance to millions of people. Read on to understand how Danish volunteers are helping LGBTQ asylum seekers navigate immigration processes; how online support groups are helping LGBTQ+ patients navigate difficult healthcare decisions; why LGBTQ-specific trainings have improved the likelihood of proper diagnosis for community members; and more.
- Why are LGBTQ asylum seekers particularly likely to need assistance?
- What are some of the core issues with how LGBTQ health has historically been taught in medical school curricula?
- How can solutions journalism contribute to advancing equitable rights and social services for the LGBTQ community?
- Journalism is a collaborative practice: reporters are writing for their community, but they also depend on community members as sources for information. Indeed, the very purpose of journalism, according to the American Press Institute, is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. With that in mind, SJN wants to help connect news readers and journalists. Beside the name of the journalist on any of our story pages or the results page of the Solutions Story Tracker, you’ll find a Twitter icon that will link you directly to the journalists profile. Tweet at them with questions or compliments about their piece - you might be surprised by how much writers want to engage with their audiences! Don’t forget to tag us too (@soljourno) and use the hashtag #journalistintheclassroom if you are reading as part of an academic assignment.
- In Denmark, LGBT Asylum has offered support through the asylum application process to over 400 people from Uganda, Zambia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Indonesia, Colombia, Russia, and other countries where people face persecution for their sexual orientation or identity. Being granted asylum requires these individuals to prove their sexual orientation to the authorities, which is especially challenging when talking about their sexuality with another person was often a reason for persecution, torture, or risk of death in their home countries. Volunteers guide asylum seekers through this process while also providing emotional support and advice for integrating into Danish society. Because applicants are assigned to asylum centers in sometimes remote locations while their cases are in process, their sense of community can be extremely limited, so these volunteers are crucial in helping them find a sense of comfort and stability.
- The extent of LGBT education medical students receive varies greatly, but one study found that the median time spent on LGBT health was five hours. The topics most frequently addressed include sexual orientation, safe sex, and gender identity, whereas transgender-specific issues, including gender transitioning, were most often ignored - and some medical students receive no LGBT education at all. Without a consistent curriculum, physicians feel unable to appropriately provide care, and the health of LGBTQ patients suffers. Even when when medical schools do teach about LGBT health issues, it's usually through special elective courses or lectures taught at night or during lunch, and often by the students themselves.
- Answers vary; consider using SJN's Success Factors to support your response.