Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Anti-gay phrases cause students harm, study finds
Hearing derogatory phrases can have a lasting effect on the health of gay and lesbian students, according to a study in the Journal of American College Health.
The study's authors used an online survey at the University of Michigan to measure the impact of hearing the phrase "that's so gay" on 114 gay, lesbian and bisexual students between the ages of 18 and 25. Those who heard the phrase more frequently were more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.
Creating an inclusive environment in your practice may help your patients feel comfortable sharing emotional distress they've felt as a result of suffering discrimination or hearing hurtful words. The AMA offers resources to help providers create an LGBT-friendly practice.
Finally married, same-sex couples face other legal hurdles
More than 130,000 same-sex couples now are married in the United States, but they may be finding their legal status less satisfying than heterosexual couples, according to a recent article by Reuters.
Despite being recognized as married by their respective states, same-sex couples are prohibited that same recognition at the federal level under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which can result in tax and benefit nightmares for these couples. At the federal level, same-sex married couples are ineligible for many of the benefits offered to heterosexual couples.
Same-sex married couples face numerous extra tax hurdles. For instance, same-sex couples don't qualify for the higher deduction that comes from filing as a married couple and are ineligible for non-taxable status on employer-offered partner insurance benefits. Similarly, many partners who aren't biological parents will be unable to claim the couple's children as dependents, and same-sex partners are unable to collect Social Security benefits in the event their spouse dies.