From the Advocate…
The LGBT community is no stranger to attacks on the safety, health and well-being of its members. From the recurring police harassment and violence that precipitated the Stonewall riots to the ravages of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s — coupled with an apathetic government and public — all the way through to the recent Orlando massacre, LGBT people repeatedly find themselves in the crosshairs of dangerous threats.
With such monumental obstacles to our health and well-being, it’s easy to overlook a much more subtle but even more deadly killer: smoking.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 30,000 LGBT Americans die from tobacco-related diseases annually. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 14,000 Americans with an AIDS diagnosis — gay, straight, transgender, and cisgender — died in 2012.
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While the open discussion of identity and being LGBT has become more customary, those who identify as LGBT often exist silently – in the closet, in fear, ashamed, and sometimes suffering with addiction. Members of the LGBT community face a two-edged sword when it comes to addiction. The emotional stress that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals often feel – including rejection, isolation and low self-esteem – as well as the threats of physical violence, prejudice and discrimination, make them vulnerable to addiction. At the same time, these factors decrease the likelihood that they will receive effective treatment. Too often, members of the LGBT community face internalized stigma and homophobia. These internal struggles with themselves can make it more difficult to seek out or achieve long-term recovery.
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From the Advocate.com…
You may have seen last week’s headline “You Weren’t Imagining It: More People are Having Gay Sex,” which summarizes findings from our recent study that analyzed changes in both sexual behavior and public opinion toward individuals who engage in same-sex sexual behavior. Increases in both behavior and acceptance caught the attention of not only The Advocate but other major outlets as well: “Americans Are Sexually Experimenting Way More Than They Used To” and “More Americans Are OK With Same-Sex Experiences.” So, what did we find, how did we find it, and why all the buzz? Perhaps the answer to the last question lies in what these findings could mean for the LGB community.
We looked at answers to questions in the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of Americans conducted every year or two since 1972, yielding responses from more than 30,000 Americans. We were interested in changes over time in reports of same-sex sexual behavior and attitudes about same-sex sexual behavior.
The survey asks people how they feel about “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex,” with possible answers of “always wrong,” “almost always wrong,” “wrong only sometimes,” and “not wrong at all.” The survey began asking this question in 1973, when only 11 percent of Americans believed that same-sex sexual behavior was “not wrong at all.” That number barely changed through the 1980s but began to climb steadily in the 1990s. Today, 49 percent of Americans believe that same-sex sexual relations are “not wrong at all,” and 63 percent of young Americans (often dubbed millennials) report this highest level of acceptance. That’s a huge increase in just 25 years!
Read the full article on Advocate.com.