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WHO moves to end classifying trans identities as mental illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which removes trans identities from the mental health disorders chapter. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which removes trans identities from the mental health disorders chapter. 

A new chapter, Conditions related to sexual health, was added to ICD and it includes a new diagnosis of “Gender incongruence”. It is hoped that this shift will continue to give access to gender-affirming care while also ending a long history of so-called “conversion therapies”, forced medicalization, forced hospitalization, and forced sterilization for trans and gender diverse people.

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.

Historically, the pathologization of gender identity through ICD over the past decades has contributed to the enormous stigma, discrimination, harassment, criminalization and abuse on the basis of gender identity and expression.

ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States, and will come into effect on 1 January 2022. This release is an advance preview that will allow countries to plan how to use the new version, prepare translations, and train health professionals all over the country.

The ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding; national health programme managers; data collection specialists; and others who track progress in global health and determine the allocation of health resources.

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The new ICD-11 also reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding. For example, the codes relating to antimicrobial resistance are more closely in line with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS). ICD-11 is also able to better capture data regarding safety in healthcare, which means that unnecessary events that may harm health – such as unsafe workflows in hospitals – can be identified and reduced.

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79% of straight people will do something if they saw LGBT people being abused… at least in the UK

Seventy-nine (79) per cent of straight people surveyed said they would do something if they saw a member  of the LGBT community being verbally abused in the street. But fewer people (76%) said they were comfortable around bisexuals and only 62% were comfortable around transgender individuals.

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Positive change… at least in the UK.

Majority of heterosexuals are ready to leap to an LGBT individual’s defense in the face of homophobia. This is according to a new Ipsos MORI study for grooming brand Harry’s, which surveyed 2,251 adults in the UK.

Seventy-nine (79) per cent of straight people surveyed said they would do something if they saw a member  of the LGBT community being verbally abused in the street because of their sexuality. Over half (52%) would intervene directly if they felt it was safe to, with others saying they’d phone the police, offer support or seek help from others.

PHOTO BY JEREMY YAP FROM UNSPLASH.COM

Seventy-seven (77) percent of straight people know an out LGBT individual, and 30% count LGBT people among their close friends or family. Just over one in 10 people (11%), who responded to the survey, have an immediate family member who is LGBT.

Knowing someone from the LGBT community makes you more likely to react positively to LGBT issues in general. Only 9% of people with close LGBT friends or family would have a negative reaction to a teenage child coming out, for example, whereas that number increases to 17% amongst those who know no LGBT people.

Other findings of the study:

  • Majority have embraced same-sex marriage. Over half of adults in the UK (54%) who responded to the survey support same sex marriage.
  • Around one in five would feel trusted if their teenage son or daughter came out to them. The survey found 21% of respondents would feel ‘trusted’ by their teenage son or daughter opening up to them, 18% say they’d  be ‘proud’ and another  18% would be ‘happy’.  Encouragingly the least common reactions included ‘angry’ and ‘sad’.
  • 86% of LGBT people say the best way to support the community is to treat them the same as everyone else, with straight respondents aligned with 63% thinking the same.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of LGBT respondents think more companies should have ‘straight ally’ schemes to tackle homophobia in the workplace and over half of 16-34’s agreed. A majority of all women (55%) believed this workplace initiative should be instigated, with a lower percentage of men (41%) agreeing.
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But acceptance of the LGBT community is not quite complete. While  82% of people said they felt comfortable around lesbians, and a similar number (81%) were comfortable around gay men, fewer people (76%) said they were comfortable around bisexuals and only 62% were comfortable around transgender individuals. Just over twice as many people (23%)  said they felt uncomfortable around transgender individuals than around gay men (11%).

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30% of LGBTI Filipinos report workplace discrimination because of their SOGIE

Thirty percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the Philippines reported being harassed, bullied or discriminated against by others while at work because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics.

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Still a hard LGBTQIA life.

Thirty percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the Philippines reported being harassed, bullied or discriminated against by others while at work because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

Respondents in the study reported a range of negative experiences in the workplace, including people making jokes or slurs about LGBTI persons, gossiping or sharing rumors, or making critical comments about how they dress, behave or speak. IMAGE BY JON TYSON FROM UNSPLASH.COM

This is according to a United Nations (UN) study that looked at the levels of SOGIESC-related discrimination encountered by LGBTI people in three countries: China, Thailand and the Philippines. It is in the Philippines where the rates are highest, compared to 21% in China, and 23 percent in Thailand.

The study – undertaken jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Office (ILO) – involved a desk review as well as collection of quantitative data from 1,571 respondents and qualitative data from in-country focus group discussions with 151 participants. The report, entitled LGBTI People and Employment: Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics in China, the Philippines and Thailand,  made concrete recommendations for governments, the private sector, civil society, multilateral agencies and non-government organizations to take action to improve the situation for LGBTI people in employment settings.

Achieving decent work for all is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an important component of the post-2015 development agenda, which has at its core the principle of equality and non-discrimination.

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“Access to decent work forms an essential part of LGBTI people’s lives and is deeply intertwined with their socio-economic empowerment and ability to participate in the public sphere,” said Jaco Cilliers, chief policy and program support at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. “Discrimination towards LGBTI people in the workplace also represents a fundamental challenge to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to ‘leave no one behind’.”

Respondents in the study reported a range of negative experiences in the workplace, including people making jokes or slurs about LGBTI persons, gossiping or sharing rumors, or making critical comments about how they dress, behave or speak.

Some 10 percent of respondents in China, 21 percent in the Philippines and 28 percent in Thailand believed that they were denied a job due to their SOGIESC. In all three conuntries, more than two-thirds said they had seen a job advertisement that explicitly excludes their SOGIE in the job requirement.

“Employers should recognize that being LGBTI-inclusive is not only a good practice, but also makes great business sense, and can establish a competitive advantage over other companies that are not inclusive,” said Kofi Amekudzi, senior technical specialist at ILO. “LGBTI inclusion in the workplace means respecting the rights of LGBTI people to work, and to work with dignity and with their human rights valued.”

The evidence shows that the few workplaces that have LGBTI-inclusive policies have seen positive impacts. The higher number of protective policies correlates with less experience of workplace discrimination and higher levels of reported job satisfaction among LGBTI people. A more open and affirming workplace is likely to encourage satisfaction and greater loyalty among LGBTI employees, and lead to greater productivity and improve the corporate image.

Thirty percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the Philippines reported being harassed, bullied or discriminated against by others while at work because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). IMAGE BY BETHANY LEGG FROM UNSPLASH.COM

“Creating better workplaces for LGBTI employees will benefit the national economy, individual companies, organizations and departments, and the economic life and social well-being of LGBTI people and their families,” said Prof. Suen Yiu-tung, director of the Sexualities Research Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and one of the authors of the study.

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The report also highlighted that there were limited legal protections from discrimination in the workplace, and there were also few options for recourse through internal workplace policies.

In the Philippines, only 20% stated that their employers have an official complaint procedure in place for LGBTI discrimination cases. The number is lower in China %5%) and Thailand (17%).

The Philippines also has no national law that provides protection against discrimination based on gender expression. In the country, some limited legal protection for LGBT people exists at the local level. Local ordinances, along with other grounds, protecting people against discrimination based on SOGIE only exist in 5 provinces, 15 cities, 1 municipality and 3 barangays (villages).

At least Thailand already has a national law, the Gender Equality Act B.E. 2558 (2015), pertaining this. Meanwhile, China’s national labor law currently does not specifically provide protections to LGBTI people against discrimination in the workplace.

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‘God loves LGBTQIA people; so do we.’

A Christian church wants members of the LGBTQIA community to know that “they are loved by God.” Val Paminiano, pastor of the Freedom in Christ Ministries, says that “we would like to apologize on behalf of the mainstream churches that condemn the LGBTQIA community. Sorry for hurting you; (and) even for using the Bible to hurt you.”

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God’s love is for all.

“(We want the members of the LGBTQIA community to know that) they are loved by God,” said Val Paminiano, pastor of the Freedom in Christ Ministries, which has been making its presence known particularly in LGBTQIA Pride events to highlight its Christian anti-anti-LGBTQIA position.

Approximately 80% of Filipinos are Roman Catholic, and the church’s teachings continue to dominate public life in the Philippines. As it stands, church’s teachings re LGBTQIA people still often revolve around the “hate the sin, love the sinner” statement, so that LGBTQIA people are tolerated so long as they do not express their being LGBTQIA.

This “hate the sin, love the sinner” stance seems to be reflected in dominant perspectives re LGBTQIA people in the Philippines.

In 2013, for instance, in a survey titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center, 73% of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society”. The percentage of Filipinos who said society should not accept gays fell from 33% in 2002 to 26% that year.

But more recently, in June 2018, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that a big percentage of Filipinos still oppose civil unions. When 1,200 respondents across the country were asked whether or not they agree with the statement “there should be a law that will allow the civil union of two men or two women”, at least 61% of the respondents said they would oppose a bill that would legalize this in the country. Among them, 44% said they strongly disagree, while 17% said they somewhat disagree. Meanwhile, 22% said they would support it, while 16% said they were still “undecided”.

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For Paminiano, “we would like to apologize on behalf of the mainstream churches that condemn the LGBTQIA community. Sorry for hurting you; (and) even for using the Bible to hurt you.”

Churches continue to be lambasted for not changing with time – perhaps most obvious in the treatment of LGBT people of those with faith. But the number of denominations openly discussing – and even coming up with statements of support of – LGBTQIA issues is increasing.

Finding room for #queerinfaith

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Proposed constit’l amendment stays gender neutral on marriage

The draft provisions submitted by the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Philippine Constitution stayed gender neutral when tackling marriage. This is a development that those supporting marriage equality should note, considering that the current petition filed with the Supreme Court hinges on the same wording.

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IMAGE FROM PIXABAY.COM

This is a must watch.

The draft provisions submitted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to review the 1987 Philippine Constitution stays gender neutral when tackling marriage.

The President already approved and is endorsing it to Congress.

Page 93 of the 108-page document, ARTICLE XVIII: THE FAMILY, states:

SECTION 1. The Federal Republic recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the
nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.

SECTION 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the Federal Republic.

SECTION 3. The Federal Republic shall defend:
(a) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(b) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(c) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and
(d) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.

SECTION 4. The family has the duty to care for its elderly or vulnerable members, but the Federal Republic may also do so through just programs of social security.

As per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “spouse” may be used to refer to “husband” or “wife”.

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This is a development that those supporting marriage equality should note, considering that the current petition filed with the Supreme Court (SC) hinges on the same neutrality of wording.

Atty. Jesus Falcis III filed the petition in May 2015, asking the SC to nullify Articles 1, 2, 46(4) and 55(6) of the 1987 Family Code, all of which are basis of the State not to allow same-sex marriage.

This petition stated that such provisions in the 1987 Family Code are unconstitutional because they appear to repeal the 1949 Civil Code, which doesn’t make gender specifications on who can be married.

Article 1 of Chapter 1 (Requisites of Marriage) of the Family Code states: “Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.”

Meanwhile, under chapter 1 (Requisites of Marriage) under Title III – Marriage of the 1949 Civil Code, it is stated:

Art. 52. Marriage is not a mere contract but an inviolable social institution. Its nature, consequences and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that the marriage settlements may to a certain extent fix the property relations during the marriage.

Art. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with:

  1. Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
  2. Their consent, freely given;
  3. Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
  4. A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional character (Sec. 1a, Art. 3613).

Article 54 even stresses that “Any male of the age of sixteen years or upwards, and any female of the age of fourteen years or upwards, not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 80 to 84, may contract marriage.”

If/when passed by Congress, a plebiscite or referendum will be held mid-2019 to ensure transition until 2022.

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CHECK THE FULL DOCUMENT OF THE
DRAFT FEDERAL CONSTITUTION HERE

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Survey finds 75% of LGBTI people experience everyday discrimination

A survey involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults found that three-quarters of LGBTI respondents experienced “everyday discrimination”, such as being disrespected, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents who reported everyday discrimination were most likely to indicate that these experiences were due to their sexual orientation or sex.

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Harsh life under the rainbow.

A survey involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults found that three-quarters of LGBTI respondents experienced “everyday discrimination”, such as being disrespected, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents who reported everyday discrimination were most likely to indicate that these experiences were due to their sexual orientation or sex.

Three quarters (74.5%) of respondents reported that they had experienced everyday discrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents were most likely to indicate that these experiences were because of their sexual orientation (53.6%) or sex (36.5%)
USE OF THE IMAGE DOES NOT INFER THE SOGIE OF THE MODEL. INSTEAD, THE IMAGE IS USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSE ONLY. PHOTO DETAIL BY CHRISTIAN STERK FROM UNSPLASH.COM

Researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, with funding from The LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida and in partnership with a local Community Advisory Board, conducted The Jacksonville-Area Community Assessment to learn about the composition, experiences and health of adults in Northeast Florida’s LGBTI community.

A large majority of LGBTI survey respondents were currently employed. However, many respondents also reported lifetime experiences of major discrimination in the workplace, including being unfairly fired from a job, passed over for a job for which they were qualified or denied a job promotion. Respondents most frequently cited their sexual orientation as the reason for the discrimination.

Data from the study also showed that most sexual minority respondents, including those who self-identify as a sexual minority and those who reported same-gender partners, reported being out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer to someone in their lives, and large majorities said they were out to all of their LGBTI friends, immediate family members and current health care providers. A substantial majority of those who were out reported acceptance from all, most or some of the people who knew they were a sexual minority.

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This study – done in Northeast Florida in the US – shows that many LGBTI people still “experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and banking and felt unfairly treated in their interactions with law enforcement,” said lead author Taylor Brown, a project manager at the Williams Institute. “These data can be used to inform the… implementation of… ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and other personal characteristics…  This study could prove useful in the development of… protections for LGBTI people.”

The survey’s other key findings included:

Discrimination

  • Three quarters (74.5%) of respondents reported that they had experienced everyday discrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents were most likely to indicate that these experiences were because of their sexual orientation (53.6%) or sex (36.5%).
  • Many LGBTI respondents reported lifetime experiences of major discrimination related to employment: one in five respondents (19.5%) reported being fired unfairly from a job; over a third (35.9%) reported being passed over for a job for which they were qualified, and 16.8% reported being denied a job promotion.
  • LGBTI respondents also reported major discrimination over their lifetimes in other areas: 5.8% reported being unfairly prevented from moving into or buying a house or apartment; 10.2% reported being unfairly denied a loan; and 13.7% reported being unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened, or abused by the police.
  • In the past year, African American LGBTI respondents were more likely to report having been unfairly fired from a job (10.7%), denied a job promotion (8.8%), denied a bank loan (11.5%) and having been stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened or abused by the police (10.1%) than white respondents.
  • In the past year, gender minority respondents, who reported a gender identity different from their sex assigned at birth, were more likely to report having been unfairly fired from a job (8.3%), passed over for a job for which they were qualified (34.9%) or denied a job promotion (15.7%) than cisgender respondents (those who whose gender identity is concordant with their sex assigned at birth).
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Outness and acceptance

  • Nearly all sexual minority respondents, including respondents who reported being both a sexual minority and a gender minority, reported being out to someone. Majorities reported that all of their LGBTI friends (78.0%) and immediate family members (69.1%) knew they are sexual minorities.
  • Substantial majorities of those who were “out” reported acceptance from some, most, or all of those to whom they were out.
  • Yet, more than a fifth of sexual minority respondents reported that none of their current bosses or supervisors (27.5%), members of their faith community (22.6%), or current health care providers (21.3%) knew they were sexual minorities.
  • Fewer African American sexual minority respondents reported that all of their LGBTI friends (61.7%) or immediate family members (48.8%) knew they were sexual minorities.
  • Almost half (49.3%) of African American sexual minority respondents reported that none of their current bosses or supervisors knew they were sexual minorities. Many reported that they had not come out to any members of their faith community (39.3%) or current health care providers (27.4%).
  • Many gender minorities were not out to any current boss or supervisor (44.2%) or to any members of their faith communities (36.4%).

Other findings

  • Over half of respondents (56.4%) had a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree, and nearly a quarter (24.3%) reported a household income of $100,000 or more. Most respondents (85.8%) had health insurance.
  • However, 10.0% were living in poverty (living below 100% of the federal poverty level), and another 13.0% were “near poor” (living at 100-199% of the federal poverty level).
  • Among gender minorities, 20.0% reported being out of work, more than half (52.2%) reported food insecurity in the last 12 months, and two-thirds reported household incomes at the poverty (32.2%) or near poverty (34.5%) levels.
  • Over sixty percent (62.8%) of respondents reported being in “partnered” relationships; over forty percent (42.9%) of those with partners were married.
  • Almost one quarter (24.5%) of respondents reported having one or more children in their lifetimes, while 12.6% currently had a child under 18 living in their household.
  • 7% of LGBTI respondents said they belonged to a local house of worship and 43.3% reported that religion was somewhat or very important to them. Among African American respondents, 52.3% reported belonging to a local house of worship and 69.4% said religion was somewhat or very important to them.
  • More than a quarter (28.3%) of the sample and nearly two thirds (64.5%) of gender minority respondents met criteria for moderate to severe depression. Most respondents ages 55 and older reported they had done some or a great deal of preparation for their senior years. Among these respondents, top concerns related to aging were not being able to take care of themselves (30.0%) and not having enough money to meet their needs (21.8%).
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“Low levels of perceived social acceptance by the local and larger community, high rates of poverty among gender minorities and modest levels of outness suggest that efforts to increase social acceptance and trust may improve mental health, on average, among LGBTI residents,” said study investigator Kerith Conron, the Blachford-Cooper research director and distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute.

Read the FULL REPORT HERE.

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LGBT teen athletes ‘overwhelmingly closeted’, according to study

LGBT teen athletes ‘overwhelmingly closeted’, according to study, with respondents citing homophobic and transphobic bullying as reasons for staying in the closet.

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IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

Closeted while playing.

A report found that 80% of lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes, and 82% of trans athletes kept their identity hidden from their coaches. Eleven percent of LGBT young people reported they never felt safe in a locker room. For those who are not cisgender, that percentage jumps to over 30%.

This is according to “Play to Win: Improving the Lives of LGBTQ Youth in Sports”, which analyzed the responses to sports-related questions in HRC’s online 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey, taken by more than 12,000 people ages 13 to 17 within the US.

Most LGBT students opted not to play sports at all. Seventy-six percent of LGBT respondents said they refrain from athletic competition, compared to 32% of non-LGBT people.
IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

The report revealed that many LGBT athletes were not out to their coaches, a smaller percentage of LGBT individuals play sports than their non-LGBT peers, and some LGBT young people do not play a sport at all for fear of an unaccepting environment. Seventy-six percent of LGBT respondents said they refrain from athletic competition, compared to 32% of non-LGBT people.

According to Ashland Johnson, HRC Foundation director of public education and research, sports are “a transformative way for students to build social skills and community.” However, “when too many LGBTQ student-athletes are blocked from being their true selves, we fail them.”

Respondents said experiences with homophobic and transphobic coaches and teammates were among the reasons they remained closeted. A transgender teen reported fear of being outed by a school’s decision regarding team placement for a gendered sport. Another respondent said, “I would need to prove my masculinity to my teammates – that isn’t worth how much I loved playing sports.”

The report revealed that many LGBT athletes were not out to their coaches, a smaller percentage of LGBT individuals play sports than their non-LGBT peers, and some LGBT young people do not play a sport at all for fear of an unaccepting environment.
IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

“Coaches and administrators must do more to make every court, field, track and mat a welcoming place for all. When LGBTQ teens can be their true selves in athletics, it not only benefits that athlete, it benefits their team and community. This data is an important starting point to identifying ways schools can improve the experiences of their LGBTQ players,” Johnson ended.

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