June is pride month, and we’re celebrating all month long at AllWays Health Partners. It’s important for organizations—and individuals to use this month as an opportunity to identify ways you can support the LGBTQIA+ community long term. Whether you’re a provider, employer, broker, or member, we invite you to educate yourself about some of the current laws impacting the LGBTQIA+ population along with several supportive resources offered through Mass General Brigham and other organizations.
The Equality Act protects Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) healthcare rights
The Civil Rights Act had banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin, and the Equality Act would go a step further to include protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Right now, the United States has 27 states with no explicit statewide laws that protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Earlier this year, The Equality Act was reintroduced to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
As the fate of this bill hangs in the air, we feel it is important to highlight the discrimination that many LGBTQIA+ individuals face in healthcare today. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “18 states have seen legislation introduced that would criminalize the provision of medically necessary gender transition-related care to minor patients. These bills target surgical interventions as well as medications and hormone therapies that delay puberty while children explore their gender identities.” These bills argue that transgender care for minors is extreme while implanting government advisement into clinical decisions for a population already dealing with increased rates of mental health and substance use disorders. These health disparities only increase for LGBTQIA+ people of color. A study by Jama found an association between gender-affirming surgeries and mental health outcomes.
The Equality Act is still waiting to be passed in the senate, so if you haven’t contributed yet, you can become a community co-sponsor, call and email your members of congress, and share your story with the Human Right Campaign.
Transgender Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
The Transgender Health Program at MGH offers patients access to gender-affirming care, endocrine/hormone management, and case management in a safe, affirming, inclusive environment. The program also connects patients with behavioral health and surgical services throughout the MGH network. Mass General is committed to advancing transgender health with patient-centered research, continued education, and training providers throughout the system. The Transgender Health program works within the Department of Medicine and Harvard Medical School to continue advancing education within policies and processes.
LGBTQIA+ resources in and around Boston
- Greater Boston PFLAG: gbpflag.org
- Greater Boston PFLAG resource page: gbpflag.org/resources
- PFLAG National: pflag.org
- Gender Spectrum: genderspectrum.org
Medical and Mental Health
- MassGeneral: massgeneral.org/transgender-health-program
- Mass Eye and Ear Transgender Voice Therapy: masseyeandear.org/treatments/transgender-voice-therapy
- Fenway Health/Sydney Borum: fenwayhealth.org/info/locations/the-borum
- Boston Children’s GeMS Clinic: childrenshospital.org/centers-and-services/programs/f-_-n/gender-multispecialty-service#
- Boston Glass, serving youth of color: jri.org/services/health-and-housing/health/boston-glass
- Boston Medical Center CATCH Center: bmc.org/transgender-child-adolescent-center
Social Groups for Youth:
- Bagley Network: bagly.org/the-agly-network
- OUT MetroWest: outmetrowest.org
- Framingham Glass: masstpc.org/event/sample-event-3/2020-10-01/
- an online safer space for LGBTQ+ youth of color ages 16 to 25 youth of color
- Gender Spectrum: genderspectrum.org/articles/gender-spectrum-groups
- virtual groups for teens and pre-teens that trained volunteers facilitate
- Q Chat Space: qchatspace.org
- online discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens ages 13 to 19
National Center for Transgender Equality: transequality.org
Mass Transgender Political Coalition: masstpc.org/issues/employment
- Family Equality Council: org/family-support/book-nook
- Boston Children’s GEM’s clinic: org/centers-and-services/programs/f-_-n/gender-multispecialty-service/parent-and-family-resources
- ALA Rainbow Booklist: ala.org/rainbowbooks
Crisis and Support:
- Trans Lifeline: translifeline.org
- Trevor Project: thetrevorproject.org
- LGBT National Youth Talkline: glbthotline.org/talkline.html
- GBPFLAG: gbpflag.org/support-groups
Visit Greater Boston PFLAG for additional resources for LGBTQIA+ youth, adults, and families.