Lecture – Diving Deeper Into Sexual and Gender Minority Clinical and Research Recommendations

Available with English captions.

Presented by Lauren P. Wadsworth, PhD, McLean Hospital – McLean Forum lecture

Transgender, asexual, agender, intersex, non-binary, gender fluid, and other members of sexual and gender minority (SGM) groups experience heightened social and institutional prejudice and oppression. They also experience low levels of support from family and society, significant internalized shame, and high rates of violence. SGM individuals face elevated levels of substance misuse and higher suicide risk rates than those who identify as heterosexual.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • Terms and language related to working with the SGM community
  • Creating culturally affirming demographic forms for clinical and research settings
  • Identifying when stress and symptoms are due to marginalization and when to apply culturally responsive techniques.

In Massachusetts, there have been increases in understanding and acceptance regarding the SGM community in recent years. Still, many of these individuals continue to face severe economic and societal pressures.

For example, studies reveal that 39% of LGBTQ+ adults in Massachusetts ages 50 to 75 have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. Moreover, research reveals that high percentages of this population are under employed, unstably housed, deal with food insecurity, and live in poverty. In addition, reports indicate that many SGM people are victims of hate crimes based on their identity.

For these reasons, Wadsworth states that clinicians must learn new concepts and strategies to improve their work with SGM individuals.

During this talk, Wadsworth presents suggestions for clinicians and researchers to better serve SGM patients. She calls on health care workers and others to stay up to date on the latest language and preferred pronouns regarding SGM groups and incorporate this language into intake paperwork and demographic questions used in offices, hospitals, and research facilities.

Wadsworth also says that researchers and clinicians should be aware of regional and statewide laws regarding this population. Helping patients navigate potential roadblocks to care, such as issues concerning social supports, workplace discrimination, or access to resources, can be extremely helpful, she states.

Ultimately, Wadsworth says that health care professionals and investigators should be aware and engaged in the issues facing SGM patients—and be willing to help.

“It is our job as clinicians and researchers to be the ‘broker’ of the topic of identities,” she asserts. “Each of us must engage in continued education in terms of community stressors and remain open and curious as times continue to change.”