Coming Out as LBGT At School Contributes To Well-Being….

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A timely new study has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who come out at school report more positive adjustment as young adults and have significantly lower levels of depression with higher levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction, compared with LGBT youth who did not disclose or who concealed their sexual orientation or gender identity from others at school.

Results did not differ based on gender or ethnicity. This is the first known study to document the benefits of being out during adolescence, despite the victimization that youth may experience because they openly identify as LGBT. The study is published in the current issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

“Until now, a key question about balancing the need to protect LGBT youth from harm while promoting their well-being has not been addressed: Do the benefits of coming out at school outweigh the increased risk of victimization? Our study points to the positive role of coming out for youth and young adult well-being” said lead author, Stephen T. Russell, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, University of Arizona.

Analyzing data from the Family Acceptance Project’s young adult survey, researchers examined experiences related to disclosing LGBT status to others at school, school victimization and young adult psychosocial adjustment among 245 non-Latino white and Latino LGBT young adults, ages 21 to 25.

Using structural equation modeling, researchers examined the extent to which LGBT victimization mediates the relationship between being out at school vs. hiding one’s LGBT identity and young adult adjustment. Researchers also found that the negative effects of school victimization on psychosocial adjustment were due to victimization specifically related to LGBT identity, rather than bullying for other reasons.

As LGBT youth increasingly come out at younger ages and many continue to experience victimization, especially at school, adults have often counseled LGBT adolescents not to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity in an attempt to protect them from harm. Although coming out — or disclosing one’s identity — has been linked with positive adjustment in adults, for adolescents, “coming out” has been linked to school victimization, which is associated with health risks.

“This study has important implications for how adults and caregivers support LGBT youth,” noted study co-author Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University. We know from our other studies that requiring LGBT adolescents to keep their LGBT identities secret or not to talk about them is associated with depression, suicidal behavior, illegal drug use and risk for HIV. And helping them learn about and disclose their LGBT identity to others helps protect against risk and helps promote self-esteem and overall health. This study underscores the critical role of school environment in influencing LGBT student’s risk and well-being into young adulthood.”

In addition to policies to prevent victimization and promote school safety for LGBT students, educators and school practitioners need training to provide interpersonal support and guidance to help students and parents support positive development for LGBT students.

Key Research Findings:

· LGBT students experienced school victimization regardless of whether they attempted to conceal their identity or openly disclosed their LGBT identity. Thus hiding was not successful, on average, in protecting LGBT students from school victimization and bullying.

· LGBT young adults who tried to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity at school reported more victimization and ultimately, higher levels of depression than LGBT students who came out or were open about their LGBT identity at school. Feeling that they had to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity was associated with depression among LGBT young adults.

· Being out about one’s LGBT identity at school has strong associations with self-esteem and life satisfaction and with low levels of depression in young adulthood.

The Family Acceptance Project is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative, affiliated with San Francisco State University, that is designed to: 1) prevent risk, including suicide and homelessness, and promote well-being for LGBT children and adolescents in the context of their families, cultures and faith communities; and 2) has developed a new research-based, family model of wellness, prevention, and care to build healthy futures for LGBT children and youth.

For more information, visit http://familyproject.sfsu.edu

Edge Media Network

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Turkey Gets First Out Gay General Election Candidate….

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For the first time in Turkey, an out gay candidate is running in the country’s general election.

37-year-old Baris Sulu is believed to be the first ever out candidate to stand for election in Turkey.

He is standing for the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), in the north-western Eskisehir district.

Mr Sulu hopes to use his position to promote LGBT rights if elected on 7 June, and has campaign for gay rights in the country for almost two decades.

His party is liberal, left wing, pro-Kurdish and currently holds 29 of 550 seats in the Turkish Parliament.

Speaking to the Anadolu news agency, he said: “I am not a secret gay. I have got the biggest support from my family and boyfriend and my friends in the party have given me their opinions.”

“My interest in politics started when I decided to fight,” Mr Sulu added.

“The elections in four years will be utterly different. In the next elections, not just gay candidates will run but also lesbian or transgender candidates,” he went on.

While homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the rights of LGBT people are not protected under the law.

Two trans women Deva Ozenen of the Anatolla Party are also standing in Istanbul.

Pink News

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Study Confirms Early Treatment Is Best In Combatting HIV….

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A major international study says don’t delay in seeking HIV treatment: Starting medication soon after diagnosis helps keep people healthy longer.

People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was still strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed their immune system was starting to weaken, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday.

The findings are preliminary, but the NIH found them so compelling that it stopped the study a year early, so that all the participants could receive medication as researchers continue to track their health.

How soon should treatment begin?

“The sooner the better,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funded the work.

The findings support current U.S. guidelines that already recommend early treatment for HIV, but could alter care recommendations in other countries.

HIV may not trigger symptoms for years, begging the question of how soon after diagnosis expensive medications that may cause side effects should be started. Previous studies have made clear that treatment dramatically lowers the chances that someone with HIV spreads the virus to a sexual partner. But there was less evidence that the HIV patient’s own health would benefit.

The START trial — Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment — sought proof by randomly assigning still healthy patients either to receive early therapy or to delay therapy until their CD4 cells, a key sign of immune system health, dropped into a worry zone.

While the U.S. recommends treatment regardless of patients’ CD4 counts, the World Health Organization’s guidelines recommend that HIV-infected people begin treatment when their CD4 levels fall below normal, to 500 or below. But that doesn’t happen in many poor countries, where often people are sicker before they receive treatment and global funding to expand care is tight.

Even in the U.S., many people don’t seek or stick with early care: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that only about 30 percent of Americans with HIV have their virus under control.

The START trial enrolled 4,685 people in 35 countries, all of whom had CD4 counts in the healthy range — above 500 — and had never taken anti-HIV medication. Researchers tracked deaths, the development of AIDS-related illnesses and the development of serious non-AIDS events such as cancer, heart disease and kidney or liver disease.

Over about three years, the risk of serious illness or death was reduced by 53 percent in the early treatment group, NIH said.

The actual numbers of bad outcomes in both groups were very low, given that patients were so healthy when they enrolled in the study: 41 cases in the early-treatment group compared to 86 in the group that delayed treatment until their CD4 count dropped to near 350.

Still, “this is another reason why we should be more aggressive in seeking out voluntary testing” and getting people care, Fauci said. “It tells you that you will benefit from therapy at whatever your CD4 count is.”

The WHO is expected to reconsider its treatment guidelines soon.

Fauci acknowledged that expanding early treatment would cost more up-front. But he contended that “at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that it’s going to be less expensive to treat people early,” and try to avoid the more expensive care of full-blown AIDS.

Lauran Neergaard – Associated Press

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San Diego Mourns Third Trans Teen To Die By Suicide….

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Kyler Prescott, an accomplished pianist and activist for marriage equality and animal rights in San Diego, Calif., died by suicide on May 18. The transgender boy was 14 years old.

Prescott’s family was supportive of his identity, and attended local support groups for family members of trans youth. Prescott’s “grief stricken” parents have given Kathie Moehlig, a friend the family met through those support groups, permission to speak on the Prescotts’ behalf, reports San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.

Prescott came out to his family as trans “a few years ago,” reports SDGLN. His parents respected his wishes and referred to him using male pronouns, even asking the young man if he wanted the family to remove childhood photos of him wearing more feminine clothes.

“Some teens when they come out, they come out and that’s it,” explained Moehling. “Other teens tend to flow between the genders. He chose male pronouns, but was completely comfortable with the family still having all the pictures up of his childhood. Because in Kyler’s world a guy can wear a dress.”

Although Prescott was occasionally misgendered by others and struggling with the general emotional turbulence of being a teenager, SDGLN stressed that the 14-year-old was “well supported within most of his life … overall, Kyler was met with acceptance and approval.”

The teenager struggled with the onset of puberty, Moehlig explained, pointing out that one’s body developing in conflict with one’s internal identity can be stressful and traumatic for transgender youth. Medical interventions, commonly known as hormone blockers, are sometimes available to delay the onset of puberty in trans youth, but it’s unclear whether that was an intervention Prescott was seeking, or even desired.

Prescott was involved in local youth groups in San Diego, including at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, the youth group in San Diego’s LGBT neighborhood of Hillcrest, and the Transforming Family support group.

Since preschool, Prescott had been an outspoken advocate for animal rights, reports SDGLN. The Prescott family had a “small little zoo,” according to SDGLN, which helped the teenager foster his connection to animals. He also enjoyed sketching and writing stories and poetry. In addition, Prescott was an accomplished pianist — a fact demonstrated by a photo displayed at a Friday memorial at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, showing Prescott seated at a piano, his long fingers gracing the white keys. The trans pride flags at the Center flew at half mast this weekend in honor of Prescott’s memory.

Prescott’s death is the third reported trans young person to die by suicide in the greater San Diego area since March. Taylor Alesana, a 16-year-old transgender girl, took her life on April 2, while a gender-nonconforming teenager named Sage, also died by suicide in early March. Both Alesana and Sage were reportedly involved with the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, where Prescott also attended various group meetings.

Nationwide, Prescott is the 11th reported suicide of a transgender youth this year, in an “epidemic” that trans advocates say sees far more casualties than make headlines. Earlier this month, 15-year-old Cameron Langrell of Racine, Wis., took her own life just days after coming out as trans on social media. The highly publicized suicides of 18-year-old Charlotte, N.C., activist Blake Brockington, as well as that of 17-year-old trans girl Leelah Alcorn in Union Township, Ohio, last December, saw hundreds of thousands mourning worldwide.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Prescott family offset funeral costs.

If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

Sunnivie Brydum – The Advocate

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Santa Fe Goes Gay This Summer….

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This summer, Santa Fe plays host to Santa Fe Pride Festival and Zia Regional Rodeo-two events designed to celebrate the LGBT community in “The City Different.”

The Santa Fe Pride Festival happens June 27 and includes a parade, information and networking booths, live entertainment and an art show and sale featuring work that reflects the LGBT community. The festival, hosted by the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance, begins at noon following the Gay Pride Parade at 11:00 a.m. The Parade itself culminates at the Santa Fe Plaza, where the festival is held. International singing sensation Janice Robinson will headline Santa Fe Pride on the Plaza, which includes a variety of musical performances. The event is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to wear rainbow attire.

On August 15, cowboys will come together to compete at the 24th Annual Zia Regional Rodeo for a weekend of events including bull riding and roping competitions, steer decorating, a wild drag race and goat dressing. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is hosted by the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association (NMGRA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the western lifestyle within the gay community. Previous beneficiaries of the event have included New Mexico AIDS Services, New Mexico Domestic Violence Hotline and People of Color AIDS Foundation, among others. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and children under 12 are free.

Santa Fe is an all-welcoming destination known for rich heritage, renowned cuisine and thriving arts and culture. “The City Different” has long shared an open-minded spirit to visitors and locals alike with diverse interests and different backgrounds. The Santa Fe City Council gained international attention in 2013, for example, when it passed a resolution supporting marriage equality for gays in New Mexico. Santa Fe ranks in the top ten cities with same-sex households and it’s not uncommon to see same-sex couples throughout the year enjoying 300 days of sunshine and breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range.

For a list with over 15 Santa Fe Travel Alternative Group (TAG)-Approved hotels and additional information on Santa Fe as a gay-friendly destination, please visit Tourism Santa Fe online: http://santafe.org/Visiting_Santa_Fe/GLBTQ_Travel/index.html.

Edge Media Network

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The World Opposite: Harassment At School (Le Monde en face : Harcèlement à l’école)….

(The last line reads: “A typical work day doesn’t look like this. And a typical school day?”)

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Five Things To Know About Ireland’s Same-Sex Marriage Referendum….

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WHY IS IRELAND VOTING?

Ireland’s 1937 constitution, written by then-Prime Minister Eamon De Valera in consultation with Catholic Church leaders, is a document laden with conservative Christian values. It affords special legal protections to married couples, committing state institutions “to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.”

Proposed laws deemed at potential odds with that landmark document must be added to the constitution by popular vote. A single vote over 50 percent “yes” is sufficient for any constitutional amendment to pass.

WHAT IS IT VOTING ON?

Voters are being asked to approve the government’s 34th Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015. If approved, a new clause would be added to Article 41 of the constitution, which spells out the special rights of the family. That article previously was amended in 1995 when voters narrowly approved the legalization of divorce.

If this referendum is passed, a new passage will be added: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

WHO VOTES AND HOW?

Any Irish citizen over 18 is eligible and more than 3.2 million are on the electoral register, including 66,000 who barely beat the registration deadline, most of them young people voting for the first time. They’ll be asked to mark a simple X on YES or NO, or TA or NIL in Gaelic, Ireland’s little-used native tongue.

Ireland’s voting system requires physical presence at a specific polling station. This is a problem in a country where many students and young professionals work in the capital, Dublin, but have countryside family homes on the far side of the island. Ireland’s exceptional rates of emigration in response to its 2008-2013 debt crisis mean Friday’s journey for some voters is even longer.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in hopes that people will have enough time to reach home voting districts several hours’ drive away.

Thousands of emigrants are flying to Ireland to vote, mostly from neighboring Britain. Arriving flights from London and other British cities are virtually sold out for Friday, a rarity.

WHICH SIDE WILL WIN?

Eight opinion polls in the past two months of campaigning have recorded a strong lead for “yes” voters. But Irish referendums often produce surprise results. Analysts say several factors could produce a louder-than-expected “no” when ballots are counted Saturday.

Referendums provide a lightning rod for anti-government sentiment, regardless of the issue at stake. All political parties and most politicians are backing the “yes” campaign. Anti-gay marriage campaigners, led by the Catholic Church and a conservative think tank called the Iona Institute, argue that the lopsided support from the political establishment should raise suspicions for ordinary voters.

Irish referendums also usually feature low turnout, often under 50 percent, and this rewards the most committed voters who often hold the hardest opinions. Allied to this is the pattern that voters backing the publicly unpopular view, in this case opposition to gay rights, often give misleading answers to pollsters.

As a result, despite the polling picture, “yes” activists express nervousness about the result, while “no” leaders sound confident of an upset.

WHAT’S NEXT?

If the verdict is “no,” Ireland’s gay residents can continue to enter civil partnerships, marriage-style contracts legalized in Ireland in 2010. More than 1,000 gay couples have become civil partners in the past four years, giving them marriage-style rights on property, inheritance, tax and other financial matters. But legal experts say the partnerships are legally inferior to marriage in dozens of aspects. Some gay people say, in event of rejection, they might move to countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Advocates of gay marriage could push for another referendum, but that could take more than a decade.

If the verdict is “yes,” married gay couples will gain constitutional recognition and legal protection as a family unit. No new civil partnerships will be executed. Those already in civil partnerships will have them dissolved if they marry.

Shawn Pogatchnik – Associated Press

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