Here in San Francisco, we are gearing up for Pride – the largest gathering of the LGBT community and allies in the nation – which occurs at the end of LGBT History month, each year in June. The city transforms into a display of rainbows on storefronts, street displays, and buildings illuminated in color, in honor of impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
As a nation, we have made major advances in the realm of equality worth celebrating. However, we also still have a lot of work to do, especially in the realm sexual and reproductive health care and access for these communities.
We have a lot to celebrate in advances nationally and statewide for the LGBTQ community:
- Passage of the California Healthy Youth Act which includes language to ensure sex education in California is appropriate for students of all sexual orientations and genders.
- ASHWG partners have evaluated California state curricula to ensure compliance with the new law – most curricula affirmatively recognize that people have different sexual orientations!
- YTH – youth+tech+health held another outstanding YTH Live conference that featured new apps such as they2ze, which offers a digital approach to connect transgender-spectrum youth (TSY) to truly inclusive health services and peer support.
Room for improvement
Here in California, we still have a lot of work to do for the LGBTQ community, in order to help youth reach their full potential.
- In 2015, CDPH reported rates of STDs in California (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) increased significantly and disproportionately among youth, African-Americans, gay, and bisexual groups.
- 63% of syphilis cases in the state occur among men who have sex with men (MSM), with youth ages 15-24 carrying a large burden of disease.
- ASHWG reviewed curricula and found many sex education curriculums used in schools do not provide Information on existing school site and community resources related to the support of LGBTQ pupils.
What can you do?