Thursday, October 8, 2015

Psychology Today: Poor Care Pushes LGBTQ Seniors Back in the Closet

Reprinted from Psychology Today
By Robert T. Muller
Today’s seniors grew up when their LGBTQ status was considered a mental illness, a view that has largely changed.  But, as Nancy Knauer of Temple University School of Law points out, modern attitudes towards LGBTQ individuals have not shifted nearly as much as people think.
As the western baby boomers begin relying more on extensive medical care, Knauer says this aging LGBTQ population is staying silent for fear of receiving poor treatment and losing social support, resulting in many being pushed back in the closet.  This problem is seen in hospices and in homecare.
In the 2010 documentary, Gen Silent, many nursing homes reported not having any LGBTQ individuals among their seniors (which is highly unlikely).  Having grown up in hostile environments, many of these seniors are afraid to come out, without explicit support from the staff. Yet, 50 percent of staff reported that their colleagues would be intolerant of LGBTQ individuals.
Because of the extensive media attention from Gen Silent, more LGBTQ-specific nursing care facilities have been opening up in recent years.  But many seniors are still being forced into homes that are unwilling to accommodate their needs.

5th Annual Philly Trans* March to be held on October 10th

Philadelphia's 5th annual Philly Trans* March will take place on October 10, 2015. The march will begin at 3:00 p.m. at Love Park. People of all gender identities, expressions, and experiences are invited to participate.
The Philly Trans* March is a march towards equality and a protest against the hate, social injustice, and inequality faced by trans*, gender variant, gender queer and gender non-conforming communities. Issues such as hate violence and the lack of official concern, healthcare policies, trans* media representation, financial and housing insecurity, police brutality, workplace policies and employment discrimination, and the lack of resources for t/gv/gq/gnc youth are just a few of the concerns being voiced upon in this year's March. The march is also a celebration of the triumphs we have experienced in our city and the unique resources Philadelphia offers to our community. With an aim to increase Trans*, GV, GQ and GNC visibility and to gain equality, the Philly Trans* March is an affirmation of our beauty, strength, and diversity.
The Philly Trans* March is organized by members of Philly's trans*, gender variant, gender queer and gender non-conforming communities and allies. To learn more, visit

Historical Society of Philadelphia to host LGBT health history conference

As part of the city-wide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Annual Reminder Demonstrations for gay rights, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the William Way LGBT Center are collaborating on an LGBT health history conference on October 18th and 19th -- “Fighting Back:  Defending the LGBT Mind and Body in Pennsylvania:  the Gay Community’s response to the Stigma of Mental Illness and AIDS.”  The conference will take place on Sunday, October 18th and Monday, October 19th at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1300 Locust St.)

Speakers will include:

  • W. Wilson Goode, Mayor, City of Philadelphia, 1984-1992
  • David Fair, First Director of the AIDS Activity Coordinating Office
  • Psychiatrist Jack Drescher, member of the World Health Organization’s Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health
  • Darlene Garner, Mayor’s Liaison to the LGBT Community, 1984-88
  • David Acosta, Activist and Founder of GALAEI
  • Lance Wahlert, Director, Project on Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity, University of Pennsylvania
  • Heshie Zinman, Founder of the AIDS Library
  • And many more.

The conference is open to the public with a conference general registration of $30 or $15 for students, but free to members of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and/or the William Way LGBT Center. 

To view the full schedule of events, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.

National Depression Screening Day raises mental health awareness

By Joe Cotter, EI blogger

October 8th is National Depression Screening Day.  It is a day that is dedicated to raising awareness for mental health and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders.

According to a 2011 National health study co-authored by the Center for American Progress and SAGE, more than half of LGBT respondents have experienced depression, 39% have contemplated suicide, and 53% feel socially isolated from others.

Depression screening has been proven to be extremely effective in connecting at-risk individuals with treatment. Studies have shown that more than half of individuals who complete an online depression screening sought depression treatment within three months of the screening.

This week in Philadelphia several organizations will be hosting free depression screenings throughout the city. A comprehensive list of these screenings can be found at

Some online Depression Screening Tools can be found at:

Monday, September 21, 2015

JFCS launches new LGBTQ support forum

Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) of Greater Philadelphia has created a new support service designed for Jewish LGBTQ individuals who are in need of support surrounding issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. This new program, “Dear Ally,” is an anonymous online question and answer forum for Jewish LGBTQ people, family members of LGBTQ individuals, professionals, and anyone else in need of support or with questions surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Users can anonymously submit questions through this forum and have them answered by a trained professional. Responses will be sent privately as well as posted on the “Dear Ally” page without identifiable information for others who may be in need of support. 

To submit a question to “Dear Ally,” or to browse questions that have already been answered, please visit

“Gettin’ On” in PGN: A Changing Landscape for LGBT Veterans

September 17, 2015

By David Griffith

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 12-million veterans now over the age of 65, having served in global conflicts as far back as World War II. While they may not have been “out” during their years of service, we can be quite sure that many of these older vets identify as LGBT.

Veterans of all sexual orientations and gender identities experience a wide range of physical and mental-health needs resulting from their military service. Many of these challenges are particularly pronounced for LGBT veterans due to experiences of discrimination and stigma. The Veterans Health Administration suggests that LGBT veterans experience a lower overall health status than other veterans, encountering even higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and some cancers. LGBT veterans are also less likely than other veterans to seek routine and preventative health care.

While many of these disparities persist, the services available to LGBT veterans have undoubtedly improved in the past decade. In Philadelphia, the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center has taken significant steps toward creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT people. An LGBT Inclusion Initiative, a national project developed by the Veterans Administration, aims to improve the VA’s LGBT cultural competency.

The LGBT Inclusion Initiative has targeted projects such as advocating for unisex bathrooms, increasing the representation of LGBT people in the VA’s promotional materials and adjusting the language used during intake processes to be more LGBT-inclusive. “We want to be sure we are creating an inclusive environment, that we are raising awareness about the kinds of discrimination experienced by LGBT people and that we can be a safe place for veterans to get high-quality health care,” stated Dr. Joan Ryan, the coordinator of the LGBT Inclusion Initiative at the Crescenz VA Medical Center.

Conversation: Emotional Wellness Registration 10/03/15