Williams Institute releases new stats on LGBTQ population

Los Angeles, CA – The Williams Institute at UCLA released new statistics of estimated LGBTQ populations around the U.S. The Dallas-Ft Worth area has the largest LGBTQ population in Texas and the sixth largest in the U.S. With 706,000 LGBTQ people, the New York metropolitan area has the largest LGBTQ population. Next is Los Angeles with 523,000. Third is Chicago with 298,000 and San Francisco with 247,000. South Florida squeaks in just above Dallas- Ft Worth with 214,000 compared to 211,000 and the Washington, D.C. metro area right behind with 209,000. The population figures are estimates. The 211,000 number for […]

COVID-19 Pandemic Creates Growing Need for Behavioral Health Services

The physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is measured in new cases and medical outcomes, but hidden costs of the pandemic are often borne by those who may never contract the virus. The stresses of the pandemic and the restricted lives most Americans face have caused a surge in the demand for behavioral health services. This need comes not just from those already in care who find themselves cut off from their traditional appointments and groups, but also from individuals who might never before have needed behavioral health assistance. Dr. Stephanie Saunders, PsyD, Director of Behavioral Health for Chase Brexton […]

COVID Testing and Long COVID

Dear Dr. Eva, I was sick for 3 weeks. It seemed like COVID. I had a bad cough, was short of breath, was totally exhausted and my sense of taste and smell were less than normal (but didn’t disappear completely). I had five COVID tests and they all came up negative. My doctor says she thinks I probably did have COVID. Is it possible to have COVID and keep testing negative for it? Been Pretty Sick   Dear BPS, Testing for COVID is very finicky and time-sensitive. There are three main kinds of COVID tests: antigen tests, DNA tests, and […]

The Politics and Pitfalls of HIV Community Language

Kiara St James, Ben Plumley, Jose Romero, and Mark S. King Two broadcasts this week took a look at the words we use as people living with HIV – and the words others use to describe us. Those words can be hurtful or weaponized, even among ourselves. As a participant in both conversations, the question boils down to, “how willing are we to update our vocabularies to make the world a little safer for other people?” It might be as simple as naming your pronouns, which was one of the topics of a webinar hosted by the HIV Caucus this week. The […]

Japanese court: Same sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Sapporo, Japan – After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, everyone expected countries around the world to follow suit. Few have. A court ruling today in Japan, however, may lead to marriage equality in that country. The Sapporo District Court ruled that failure to recognize same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. In its decision, the court wrote that since sexuality is not a matter of preference, denying same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by three couples that each sued for 1 million yen (under $10,000) for psychological damage caused by the government’s […]

No blessings for same-sex couples from Catholic Church

The Vatican – Roman Catholic clergy may not bless same-sex couples, the Vatican said on March 15. The Vatican’s doctrinal office issued a document, said to be personally approved by Pope Francis, saying it is impermissible for clergy to pronounce blessings on any relationship outside of marriage between a man and a woman. Such blessings are wrong, the Vatican said, because they would seem “to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God,” adding that God “does not and cannot bless sin.” The document reaffirms […]

The Man in Photo 247

I have some big post-pandemic plans, but one of the things I’m looking forward to most is going to the movies. Specifically, I’m looking forward to Bob’s Burgers: The Movie. The animated sitcom that inspired the movie has become my own personal happy place during the pandemic and I’ve watched it literally every day. In my last column I wrote about how learning Spanish has become an important part of my pandemic routine; what I didn’t mention is that my Spanish lessons are always accompanied by a few episodes of Bob’s Burgers. It’s a warm, funny, progressive show where nothing […]

How to state sanction murder of transgender youths

This title is Click bate, it can’t be true, right? Actually, under a new law, transgender youth in Alabama it is true. If passed and a doctor treats you with puberty-blockers, hormone therapy or surgery they will be committing a felony. Senators voted 23-4 to approve the measure, dubbed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, sponsored by Republican Senator Shay Shelnutt. The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives, which has already approved a companion bill. The two bills would make it a felony for medical professionals to treat transgender minors under the age of 19 with gender-affirming care. Violators […]

New Jersey governor signs LGBTQ seniors’ Bill of Rights

Trenton, NJ – On March 3, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to protect seniors and queer elders who may be entering long-term care facilities. Called an “LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights,” Bill S2545 prohibits long-term care facilities from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, intersex status, or HIV status. LGBTQ residents of such facilities can no longer be evicted for their sexual orientation or gender identity and must be provided equal medical and non-medical care, among other requirements. A 2018 article from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reveals those surveyed had some fears about getting […]

New COVID-19 Variants

What are the new strains of COVID-19? New strains, known as variants, of COVID-19 virus seem to be springing up everywhere. Information about variants is increasing and changing every day. The information in this column is based on the best available research at the time it was written (March 9). One of first variants detected was the Kent, or London, variant, now named B.1.1. (The letter/number names are based on the location of mutations in the virus.) This variant is extremely contagious but does not seem to be more deadly than the original COVID-19. There is a Brazilian variant, called […]