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This is not exactly “out of the way”, but this is also not in every tourist’s must-visit list when in San Francisco. Not – I’d say – because it has no appeal whatsoever; but more because of where it is.

We’re talking of Clarion Alley, a small street in San Francisco notable for the murals painted by the Clarion Alley Mural Project (or CAMP).

Clarion Alley is said to encapsulate San Francisco’s Mission District, a neighborhood that may be culturally rich but is also “rife with tension”. This is because – all too apparent – the Mission District is in a stage of “advanced gentrification”. Here, the average income and rent have continuously increased. Perhaps not surprisingly, and meanwhile, the non-white population has shrunk from 71.8% in 1990 to 57.3% in 2013.

Along Mission Street itself, there are numerous homeless people who have – in a way – established “homes” there, by living in tents or sleeping on cartons or lying down on the sidewalks.

CAMP emerged to use murals and street art to support political, economic and social justice messaging. And since its establishment in 1992, over 800 murals have already been created in the Clarion Alley, a stretch of pavement that only measures 560 feet between Mission and Valencia (parallel to 17th street).

In total, over 100 artists have created pieces here, including Aaron Noble, Rigo, Brian and Jasper Tripp, Sebastiana Pastor, Horea, Spencer, Erin Feller, Diana Cristales, and so on…

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The artworks here touch on the intersectionalities of issues.

For instance, in San Francisco, the aforementioned homeless population is approximately 7,499, according to Homeless Point-In-Time Count and Survey (2017). Broken down, 5,518 are single homeless adults, 1,363 are unaccompanied homeless youth, and 1,100 are those on the waiting list for shelter bed.

Interconnected issues include: 55% say they’ve been homeless for a decade or more; 41% say that have drug or alcohol addiction; 39% claim mental health issues; and 11% say they have HIV or AIDS.

FYI: 29% of the city’s homeless population identify as LGBT, according to the 2013 San Francisco Homeless Count Report.

The Clarion Alley pieces touch on these… and MORE.

A museum in New York can charge well over $40 for a visit; here at the Clarion Alley, checking out street art is free.

And in not so many words, these ought to be checked.

To see for yourself how – different we all may seem – we are all fighting the same fights.

In Clarion Alley, art has captured this.

And truly, in the end, this should unite us.

Clarion Alley is located between Mission and Valencia Streets, and 17th and 18th Streets in San Francisco, USA.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

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Health & Wellness

Only 25% of trans youth feel care providers are helpful about their sexual health issues

Only 25% of transgender youth feel that their primary care providers (PCPs) are helpful about the sexual health issues of gender and sexual minorities (GSMs).

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Photo by Chris Johnson from Unsplash.com

Only 25% of transgender youth feel that their primary care providers (PCPs) are helpful about the sexual health issues of gender and sexual minorities (GSMs). This is according to a study that explored trans youth’s perceptions regarding encounters with PCPs related to GSM identity and sexual health.

In “Perceived Barriers to HIV Prevention Services for Transgender Youth” – written by Celia B. Fisher, Adam L. Fried, Margaret Desmond, Kathryn Macapagal and Brian Mustanski for LGBT Health – it was posited that many trans youth lack access to trans affirming care, which may put them at risk for HIV.

So researchers surveyed youth ages 14–21 (N = 228; 45% trans masculine, 41% trans feminine, 14% gender nonbinary) on GSM identity disclosure and acceptance, gender-affirming services, sexual health attitudes and behaviors, and interactions with PCPs involving GSM identity and concerns about stigma and confidentiality.

A factor analysis yielded three scales: GSM Stigma, Confidentiality Concerns, and GSM-Sexual Health Information. Items from the GSM Stigma scale showed that nearly half of respondents had not disclosed their GSM identity to their PCP due to concern about an unaccepting PCP. One-quarter of youth were less inclined to discuss GSM identity and sexual health with their PCP due to concern that their provider would disclose this information to parents; these concerns were greater among adolescents <18 and those not out to parents about their gender identity.

Only 25% felt their PCP was helpful about GSM-specific sexual health issues. Youth who were out to parents about their gender identity and had received gender-affirming hormone therapy were more likely to report receiving GSM-specific sexual health information.

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Transgender youth may not discuss their GSM identity or sexual health with PCPs because they anticipate GSM stigma and fear being “outed” to parents. As such, “PCPs should receive transgender-inclusive training to adequately address youths’ sexual health needs and privacy concerns.”

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Health & Wellness

1-in-4 girls, 1-in-10 boys report self-injury or attempt suicide due to fighting, bullying or forced sex

Adolescents were more likely to report deliberate self-injury if they noted being sad or thinking about or attempting suicide. Drug and alcohol use were also associated with self-injury, as was fighting, being electronically bullied, or having experienced forced sex.

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Photo by Brandon Zack from Unsplash.com

One in four (1 in 4) high school girls will deliberately injure themselves by methods as extreme as cutting themselves or burning their own skin, and about one in 10 high school boys deliberately hurt themselves without trying to kill themselves.

This is according to a new study from the University of Portland released in the American Journal of Public Health. Frank Deryck, M.A. initiated this study. Co-writers included Martin Monto, Ph.D. and Nick McRee, Ph.D.

Consistent with other studies, adolescents were more likely to report deliberate self-injury if they noted being sad or thinking about or attempting suicide. Drug and alcohol use were also associated with self-injury, as was fighting, being electronically bullied, or having experienced forced sex.

The study, the first of its kind to use weighted probability sampling, revealed significantly high levels of deliberate, non-suicidal self-injury among large, representative, non-clinical samples of high school students (n=64,671). The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control from 11 states in the US collected in 2015. Individual states had substantially different rates of self-injury, with boys ranging from 6.4% (Delaware) to 14.8% (Nevada) and girls from 17.7% (Delaware) to 30.8% (Idaho).

Among the patterns the study revealed was that the behavior was more commonly reported among 14-year olds and diminished with age. Rates were higher among students identifying as Native American, Hispanic, or Whites than they were among those identifying as Asian or Black.

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The findings are timely, as public concern with adolescent mental health has grown. Additionally, though deliberate self-injury is different than suicide, persons who self-injure are also more likely to consider and attempt suicide.

The authors argue that self-injury among adolescents is so widespread that clinical and therapeutic interventions may be insufficient to address this public health problem. Since many other health risk behaviors are associated with self-injury, efforts to address the problem should be incorporated into broader efforts to address mental health among children and adolescents.

A study done in 2012 actually also similarly noted that female students are more likely to have suicide behavior. In the Philippines, for instance, they are more likely to have suicide ideation than Indonesian students. However, Indonesian students with suicidal ideation were more likely to express their ideation by making a suicide plan (53.5%) compare to the counterparts (40.6%). Psychosocial factors, gender and school grade are important factors in students’ suicide behavior. Therefore, policy strengthening in counseling in the junior high schools is needed to prevent suicide.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

3 Threats that are on the rise for LGBT teens

We need to talk more about our experiences with threats, as well as what can be done to fight them, and see justice when it’s too late.

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The lives and wellbeing of LGBT teens have improved dramatically over the past two decades thanks to the tireless work of advocates, lobbyist groups, and lawmakers, both within the community and allies beyond it. However, with the rise of popular hateful rhetoric and the glacially slow pace of social change, many of our LGBT youth still face drastic threats from both the society at large and those closest to them.

IMAGE BY ANEMONE123 FROM PIXABAY.COM

We need to talk more about our experiences with these threats, as well as what can be done to fight them, and see justice when it’s too late.

Hate crimes

Going against the general trend, hate crimes have been shown to increase for the past two years in a row. With more politics-driven violent crimes taking part at protests, it’s easy to chalk this up to an aberration. Indeed, there has been a 400% rise in homicides targeting LGBT individuals, but also a rise in similarly targeted assaults that end up accidentally fatal. Wrongful death cases, of which you can see more here, can help the bereaved find justice in such cases, but hate crimes need to be treated more seriously to stop them from getting to that point.

A part of the general ignorance surrounding this topic is the widespread underreporting of anti-LGBT violent crime in news media, compared to other violent crimes.

Stress

LGBT youth are under significantly greater stress than any other demographic mentioned in recent studies, as you can see here. Besides creating a culture that is becoming more and more difficult to find comfort in, this has led to what could be called a suicide crisis for LGBT teens. In a National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, over 40% of high school students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning reported suicidal thoughts. The same study had no stats for transgender teenagers, but many are concerned they face a similar, if not higher, risk.

Homelessness

One of the issues very little discussed when it comes to LGBT people is their higher rates of homelessness than other demographics. Homelessness is on the rise in general, with 2017 being the first year to see a rise since the Great Depression. However, 20% of homeless youth are LGBT, which is double the 10% of LGBT teens in the population, which you can read more about here.

In part, severe family conflict lies at the root of most LGBT homelessness, as well as an increased risk of sexual abuse before the age of 12. Homeless shelters need to do more to accommodate their queer beneficiaries. Improving awareness of this over-representation can help shelters focus on training to protect LGBT individuals and to keep discrimination from some of the few safe spaces available to teens in that kind of predicament.

As progressive politics become a more common talking point, it’s easy for many outside the LGBT community to believe that we live in a world that is, by large, post-bigotry. However, we know that’s not true and we must continue making the case for the marginalized and the threatened, especially those too young to properly defend themselves.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

The kiss and the fist: Getting to the cause of abusive relationships

Of course, long-term relationships are prone to their ups and downs and while there are so many abusive relationships in the world, to understand some of the root causes underneath this, may help someone out there that’s having difficulty in this very scenario.

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Photo by Sydney Sims from Unsplash.com

It’s still a problem in society that is tolerated behind closed doors. Abuse occurs in many different forms, from the physical to psychological and emotional. But, getting to the cause is something that, if done right, can help to support the abuser and the abused. But are there any common traits in the behaviors of abusers and why they may do this?

A Lack Of Empathy

While we think of a lack of empathy as something associated with the mentally unhinged, such as psychopaths, in actual fact, it’s not just something that is exclusive to these types of people. In fact, you can look on AConsciousRethink.com to see an insightful article on how a lack of empathy isn’t just in sociopaths and narcissists. A lack of empathy is something that we are all capable of from time to time.

From the perspective of the abuser, a lack of the ability to interpret the actions of the abused means that the relationship is unable to get past this stage. For example, the abuser could interpret the fearfulness in the abused as a lack of emotion, which could be why the abuser continues to punish.

Abuse occurs in many different forms, from the physical to psychological and emotional.
IMAGE FROM PXHERE.COM

Deep Rooted Trauma

One of the more common reasons behind a person and their predilection to abuse is a complex childhood trauma. Because someone can grow up in an abusive environment, without having addressed the problems later in life, they can view this as normal behavior. Although, a lot of people are aware that what they are doing is wrong, they are unable to rectify their attitudes, because this involves addressing their traumatic past.

Being Unable To Tolerate Injury

Something that is common in abusers is that they are quick to retaliate if they have their feelings hurt. It is something that can be learnt in childhood; if someone hurts you, you hurt them back. But if this behavior accelerates throughout life, the abuser is unable to learn how to tolerate injury. In relationships, being hurt can happen a lot in an emotional sense, but it’s important for these abuses to learn how to process it without acting out physically, which is a common trait in assault or battery cases.

You can learn more from KLGDefense.com about the differences between assault and battery, and the underlying causes. But what is surprising, is that this behavior is more common in boys, especially those that have grown up learning to not show their emotions.

Not Taking Account For Their Actions

The world of abuse is one where the abuser believes that it’s okay to hurt others when they are hurt. Because people believe they are entitled to this, it can become a well-worn behavior that spirals out of control. A feeling of entitlement and believing that they have the right to not be hurt or embarrassed is then fueling the likelihood of punishing the person when this has been compromised.

Of course, long-term relationships are prone to their ups and downs and while there are so many abusive relationships in the world, to understand some of the root causes underneath this, may help someone out there that’s having difficulty in this very scenario.

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Health & Wellness

4 Things you can do today for your mental health

We can definitely do more to keep the conversation going, including taking care of our own mental health.

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Photo by Sydney Sims from Unsplash.com

Mental health is being talked about more than ever, which is an amazing thing. Having open and honest conversations can help us to all deal with mental health better, and stop the stigma that surrounds it. Just like normal health and varying states of it, we all have some state of mental health, and some need more help than others. We can definitely do more to keep the conversation going, including taking care of our own mental health.

But what are the best ways to take care of it and keep it balanced? Here are some ideas for you. Hopefully, this can help you and people that you’re around.

We can definitely do more to keep the conversation going, including taking care of our own mental health. PHOTO BY ROBINHIGGINS FROM PIXABAY.COM

Take Care of Physical Health

Poor physical health and mental health are closely connected. So if there is one thing that you can take away from this, it is that you should be taking care of yourself. Avoid bad habits like cigarettes as they can make you feel worse. Exercise where you can, which can be done in a gym or from home. Get some equipment like the best power rack for your home if needed. Or go running or do yoga. All can help you to deal with stress and poor mental health better. Drink plenty of water, eat well, and sleep well. All of the standard answers, but they do work.

Practice Mindfulness

We all lead busy lives, and as a result, we can all get overwhelmed and stressed out. This can lead to anxiety, as well as other mental health issues. So learning to be mindful, to take one thing at a time, is a really great skill to learn. Do you eat breakfast, while watching the news and scrolling through your phone? That is a lot to take in. Do one thing at a time, like simply eat your breakfast, and then you will be on the way to learning to be more mindful.

Set Goals

Setting goals can be a great thing for your esteem and confidence. It can do wonders for your mental health too. The key is setting yourself realistic goals, though. Think about where you want to be this time next year, and then look for realistic ways of getting there. Do you want to be in a different job or in a happier relationship? It could just be to get fitter than you currently are. Start small and go from there.

Break Up Routine

Routine can give us some confidence and help us know what we are meant to be doing and when. But it can be really quite dull and can bring you down when it is endless and repetitive. So although you can’t change everything, think about taking a different route to work, planning a road trip, or going to somewhere new to eat. Try some new things, and do different things, to make your normal routine a little more varied and interesting.

What else would you add to the list? It would be great to hear what you think.

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Health & Wellness

False beliefs about sexual risk, poor physician-patient communication impede STD screening in young women

A study found that one in four clinicians surveyed will disregard screening guidelines for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea if a patient is asymptomatic.

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Photo used for illustration purpose only; by Kinga Cichewicz from Unsplash.com

Despite record high rates of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), young women who are sexually active often don’t talk to their clinicians about sex and STD risk, and many aren’t being tested for infection or disease as guidelines recommend, according to new research from Quest Diagnostics, a provider of diagnostic information services.

The findings from a new survey -“Young Women and STDs: Are Physicians Doing Enough to Empower their Patients and Protect their Health?” – suggest that lack of direct communication between clinicians and patients – and false beliefs about STD risk held by both groups — may contribute to STD prevalence.

The survey examined the perceptions of young women 15-24 years of age, mothers of young women in this age group, and primary care, OB/GYN, and other specialty physicians regarding sexual activity, sexual health, and knowledge of and screening for STDs (also known as sexually transmitted infections or STIs). The results of the 2017 survey were also compared to those of previous research by Quest in 2015 involving similar populations.

Medical guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend annual laboratory testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea for all sexually active women under the age of 25. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of sexually transmitted disease are at an all-time high, with more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in the United States in 2016. Young adults make up about half of STD cases.

“We know that people often think of STDs as something that happens ‘to others’ and, frequently, health care providers have similar beliefs and don’t view their patients as being at risk,” said Lynn Barclay, president and CEO, American Sexual Health Association. “Testing is crucial in young women because STDs are very common, often without symptoms, and undetected infections like chlamydia can lead to problems including infertility.”

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Among the key findings:

  • Young women may not understand their STD risk: A little more than half of young women (56%) say they are sexually active and of those who are, 56 percent say they have been tested for an STD. Young sexually active women cite “not feeling at risk” (62%) and “being asymptomatic” (55%) as reasons for not testing, although STDs often lack symptoms. Of women who are sexually active, 86 percent and 88 percent said they aren’t at risk for chlamydia or gonorrhea, respectively.
  • Many young women are uncomfortable talking to their clinician about sex and STDs: Fifty-one percent of young women say they don’t want to bring up for discussion the topics of sex or STDs with their clinicians.
  • Young women may fail to be truthful with their clinician: Twenty seven percent of sexually active young women admit they don’t always tell the truth about their sexual history to their clinician. For the youngest sexually active women (15-17 years of age), forty-three percent aren’t always truthful.
  • Women don’t recall having a clinician ask about STD screening: 49 percent of young women claim their clinician has never asked if they want STD testing, and less than one in four sexually active women has asked their healthcare professional for an STD test.

In addition, the survey responses of young women suggest rates of STD screening by clinicians have declined, particularly among those 15-17 years of age. Based on the comparison of responses of sexually active women 15-17 between 2015 and 2017, STD testing by clinicians for chlamydia and gonorrhea has decreased by 9 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

READ:  3 Threats that are on the rise for LGBT teens

The survey also found gaps in care by some physicians.

Clinicians may also be uncomfortable discussing STDs, with one in four (24%) primary care physicians agreed with the statement, “I am very uncomfortable discussing STI risk with my female patients.”

One in three primary care physicians rely on symptoms to diagnose an STD: Twenty-seven percent reported that they could accurately diagnose STD patients “based on their symptoms,” even though CDC notes, “STDs do not always cause symptoms, so it is possible to have an infection and not know it.”

Undiagnosed women are much more likely than men to suffer long-term health impacts from STDs, including infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Photo by Olla Ky from Unsplash.com

Also, one in four physicians will disregard screening guidelines if a patient is asymptomatic: Only seventy-four percent of primary care doctors said they would order chlamydia testing of an asymptomatic, sexually active female patient. Only seventy-two percent would order testing for gonorrhea for such an asymptomatic patient.

Annual screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea for men who do not have sex with other men is not currently guideline recommended, although, like women, they may not have symptoms and can unknowingly transmit infection to a partner. Undiagnosed women are much more likely than men to suffer long-term health impacts from STDs, including infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.

“Our findings suggest that discomfort with frank conversations about sexual activity and false beliefs about risk are key barriers to STD testing, and could be driving some of the increase in STD cases of young women,” said Damian P. Alagia, III, MD, FACOG, FACS, medical director of woman’s health, Quest Diagnostics. “Half of all new STD cases are acquired by young people between the ages of 15-24, and one in four sexually active adolescents has a sexually transmitted disease. Our hope in sharing this survey’s findings with clinicians and the general public is that it prompts open dialogue about reproductive health and STD risk, which is absolutely critical to reversing the trajectory of high STD rates in the US.”

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The research was conducted by Aurora Research & Consulting on behalf of Quest Diagnostics in December, 2017. A total of 4,742 study respondents, comprised of 3,414 young women between the ages of 15-24, of whom 1,500 self-identified as sexually active; 1,016 mothers of young women in that age group; and 312 primary care, OB/GYN and specialty physicians were surveyed. Most clinician survey data presented in this report was of responses of 100 primary care physicians. Each respondent completed 15-30 minute online surveys regarding perceptions and knowledge of STDs and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. Strengths of the research include the large number of respondents and the research’s national scale, while limitations include self-reported data and a lack of direct comparability between study populations. The 2017 research was complemented by results of a survey of similar cohort of patients and healthcare practitioners performed in 2015.

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