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285,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native LGBTQ+ adults live in the US

The new Williams Institute study revealed that more than half have been physically or sexually attacked in their lifetimes

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Ambroz Samuel, LGBTQ+ member of the Navajo Nation, Pinon, AZ in 2012 (Photo by Harrison J. Bahe)

LOS ANGELES – A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that the estimated 285,000 adults in the U.S. that identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAN) and LGBT report high rates of mental health concerns.

The study examines the demographics and well-being of AIAN adults, including separate findings for individuals who identify only as AIAN and those who identify as AIAN plus another race or ethnicity.

Results show that more than one-third (35%) of AIAN-only adults and 43% of AIAN-multiracial adults have been diagnosed with depression. AIAN women have the highest rates of depression, including more than half (51%) of AIAN-multiracial women.

In addition, researchers found that AIAN-multiracial LGBT people fare worse than their non-LGBT counterparts in many measures of economic and social vulnerability, including unemployment, income level, and food insecurity. All AIAN LGBT adults face disparities in physical health, such as asthma, heart attack, and other chronic health conditions.

“Economic insecurity and health status within the AIAN LGBT population may be related to factors that are unique to LGBT people and that are shared with the overall Indigenous communities,” said lead author Bianca D.M. Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “It is critical that policies and service interventions consider the LGBT status and multiracial identities of AIAN adults.”

KEY FINDINGS

Demographic Characteristics

  • There are an estimated 285,000 AIAN LGBT adults in the US. Approximately 6% of all AIAN-only adults in the country identify as LGBT.
  • The AIAN LGBT adult population is younger than their non-LGBT counterparts: 57% of AIAN-multiracial LGBT adults are under age 35, compared to 33% of non-LGBT adults.
  • More than 60% of AIAN LGBT adults in the U.S. live in the West and South.

Economic Characteristics

  • Over half (54%) of AIAN-only LGBT adults and 42% of AIAN-multiracial LGBT adults live in low-income households.
  • 41% of AIAN-multiracial LGBT adults report experiencing food insecurity, compared to 29% of non-LGBT adults.
  • Among AIAN-multiracial people, more LGBT adults are unemployed than non-LGBT adults (15% vs. 10%), and the difference is most pronounced among women (19% vs. 11%).

Mental and Physical Health

  • Among AIAN-only adults, 35% of LGBT people have been diagnosed with depression, compared to 23% of non-LGBT people.
  • Among AIAN-multiracial adults, 43% of LGBT people have been diagnosed with depression, compared to 25% of non-LGBT people.
  • One-quarter (25%) of AIAN LGBT adults are uninsured, compared to 20% of non-LGBT adults.
  • Nearly one-third (30%) of AIAN LGBT women with children are enrolled in Medicaid.

Discrimination and Stress

  • One in five (20%) AIAN LGBT adults disagreed with the statement “You always feel safe and secure,” compared to 14% of non-LGBT adults.
  • 57% of AIAN LGBT adults reported experiencing physical assault and threats, and 81% reported experiencing verbal assault or abuse at some point in their lives.

Social Support

  • The majority (55%) of AIAN cisgender LGB adults and 37% of AIAN transgender adults reported feeling connected to the LGBT community.
  • About three-quarters (75%) of AIAN LGBT adults reported feeling supported through their social circles.

This study is part of the Williams Institute’s LGBT Well-Being at the Intersection of Race series, which examines demographic characteristics and key indicators of well-being, including mental health, physical health, economic health, and social and cultural experiences, of different racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. The series also includes analyses by region.

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Coronavirus

LA County first case of Omicron Variant, Biden lays out federal response

The White House also released President Biden’s statement that detailed his administration’s winter plan to combat COVID

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President Biden at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland (Screenshot via NBC News YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with the new Omicron variant, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health said Thursday.

The individual returned to Los Angeles County after travel to South Africa via London on 11/22/2021. This infection is most likely travel-related according to a statement from Public Health.

The individual, who is a fully vaccinated adult and a Los Angeles County resident, is self-isolating, and their symptoms are improving without medical care. A small number of close contacts in Los Angeles have been identified and, to date, all have tested negative and have no symptoms.  

“While we can’t know for certain the impact of Omicron at this time, the good news is that we already know how to reduce transmission and slow spread using both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions,” Ferrer said. “I encourage everyone to take the steps that we know offer protection, including getting vaccinated or boosted, tested if you feel sick or are a close contact, and wearing your mask indoors and at large mega events.”

Public Health also announced that beginning Friday, international travelers arriving at the LAX international terminal will be offered free rapid COVID-19 tests and information on federal recommendations for quarantining and testing. 

The White House also released President Biden’s statement that detailed his administration’s winter plan to combat COVID with testing and vaccines and without lockdowns.

During a speech at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland, the President addressed his plans for a winter campaign to fight COVID-19.

“I plan to announce — my plan that I’m announcing today pulls no punches in the fight against COVID-19.  And it’s a plan that I think should unite us. I know COVID-19 has been very divisive in this country.  It’s become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary.  It shouldn’t be, but it has been,” Biden told the assembled audience of reporters, scientists, and NIH personnel.
 
“Now as we move into the winter and face the challenge of this new variant, this is a moment we can put this divisiveness behind us, I hope. […] The plan I’m announcing today is a plan our scientists and COVID teams have recommended,” the president said.
 
“And while my existing federal vaccination requirements are being reviewed by the courts, this plan does not expand or add to those mandates — a plan that all Americans, hopefully, can rally around.”

Biden then addressed the news of the Omicron variant’s presence in the nation.

“We know there’d be ca- — we knew there’d be cases of this — of Omicron here in the United States, and it’s here.  But we have the best tools — the best vaccines in the world and the best medicine and the best scientists in the world,” he said.
 
“We’re going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion, just like we beat back COVID-19 in the spring and more powerful variant — Delta variant in the summer and fall. As a result, we enter this winter from a position of strength compared to where America was last winter,” he added. 

The President’s full statement on the Winter Plan to fight COVID:

I know that Americans are exhausted from COVID-19 and want to know when it will end, and the new variant is adding to that unease. I get it.

I pledged to always be straight with the American people and tell you the truth. Here’s the truth about the new omicron variant: While it is a cause for concern, it is not a cause for panic. Experts say that COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead this winter, and that we will see more omicron cases here in the United States in the days, weeks and months ahead. Our best scientists and doctors are on the case and gathering data, but early indications are that our vaccines will provide a measure of protection against this strain. We have the tools to protect ourselves and battle this virus, and I’m laying out a plan to do just that this winter.

We are going to fight COVID-19 not with shutdowns or lockdowns – but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more. We will beat it back with science and speed, not chaos and confusion – just as we did in the spring and again with the more powerful delta variant in the summer and fall.

There are six key actions in my plan for this winter.

Boosters, testing at the forefront

►All adults should get a booster shot six months after they got vaccinated (or two months after, if you were vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson). Right now, most adults in this country who are eligible for boosters still have not gotten their booster shot. We are expanding our nationwide booster campaign with more appointments, more hours – including nights and weekends – and more walk-ins. To spread the word, pharmacies will send millions of texts and emails to remind their customers. My administration will also contact the more than 60 million people on Medicare. And, to reach their 38 million members, we’ll join town halls and events hosted by AARP, which is also offering seniors free rides to boosters.

►We are expanding our efforts to vaccinate children ages 5 and up and keep our schools open. To replace the mass vaccination sites for adults we had earlier in the year with a more comfortable setting for families and children, we will launch hundreds of new family vaccination clinics to make it easier for children, parents and whole families to get vaccinated in one place. These sites will be at community health centers and other trusted locations – and even some mobile sites to reach hard to reach communities. 

Today, over 99% of schools are open, and we need to make sure we keep it that way this winter. While vaccinating our kids is critical to keeping our schools open, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also reviewing new approaches to keep our children in school instead of quarantining at home.

►We are making free at-home tests available. Thanks to our actions, there are now at least eight at-home testing options available. Prices for these tests are decreasing. But it’s not enough. My administration is requiring that health insurers cover the cost of at-home testing. If you are one of the 150 million Americans on private health insurance, at-home tests will be covered by your insurance. And, if you’re not covered by private insurance, we will make free tests available for pickup at thousands of sites nationwide. 

Medical initiatives part of plan, too

►We will increase “Surge Response Teams” – the doctors, nurses, and medical staff that go into communities with rising cases and help overburdened hospitals. Since summer, we have worked with Republican and Democratic governors to deploy Surge Response Teams in response to the delta variant. These teams worked in communities struggling with surges, and we’ll more than double the number of teams this winter.

►We are increasing the availability of new medicines, including monoclonal antibody treatments that have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization. We also may soon have promising new antiviral pills that could help prevent hospitalization and death of people infected by COVID-19. If approved, we will ensure that these new medicines are available in the hardest-hit communities.

►In order to beat this pandemic at home, we have to beat this pandemic globally. COVID-19 and the delta and omicron variants have all emerged in other parts of the world before coming here. We must vaccinate the world and strengthen international travel rules for people coming into the U.S. We have already shipped for free 280 million vaccines – more vaccines to other countries than all other countries combined. We will accelerate the delivery of more vaccines – 200 million more doses in the next 100 days. And, all international travelers entering the U.S. must test within one day of departure. This tighter testing timeline will help slow the spread of the virus.

We’ve been doing everything we can to beat this virus. And, that’s what we have to keep doing. We can and we must come together as a nation to fight this virus, to protect one another, to protect our economic recovery. We moved forward in the face of COVID-19 and the delta variant. And, we will move forward now at the start of winter and in the face of the omicron variant – together.

********************

Biden Announces Plan To Combat Omicron Covid Variant With ‘Science and Speed’:

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AIDS and HIV

Peacock will premiere HIV documentary on World AIDS Day

Drew, who was diagnosed with HIV in the late 1980’s when he was only 23 years old, was not paid for his participation in the trial

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Right to Try (2021) Peacock/NBCUniversal Television and Streaming

NEW YORK — NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock will premiere the documentary short “Right to Try,” which explores one man’s search to cure his HIV, Wednesday on World AIDS Day. 

The film, produced by Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer and directed by “The Late Late Show With James Corden” producer Zeberiah Newman, follows HIV survivor and activist Jeffrey Drew’s participation in an experimental vaccine trial. 

“We are thrilled our film ‘Right to Try’ will be seen on Peacock. Though Jeffrey Drew’s heroic journey is singular, his story is universal,” Spencer said in a statement, according to Variety. “This is an important film and with Peacock we have a wonderful partner to bring it to our audience.”

Val Boreland, EVP of content acquisitions at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, added: “It is an honor to share Drew’s story with Peacock users and raise awareness around the important issue of HIV research. We know the impact of this documentary will be far-reaching.”

The documentary shows the side effects that Drew experienced during the early days of the trial. The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the study, as the doctor spearheading the experimental vaccine started working on the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Drew, who was diagnosed with HIV in the late 1980’s when he was only 23 years old, was not paid for his participation in the trial that a major pharmaceutical company did not fund. 

“There are people who are still getting infected and sick and dying,” he told Variety in a June interview. “I would love to see a generation that doesn’t have to think or worry about this anymore.”
“Right to Try” won the Audience Award for Documentary Short last summer at Outfest, an LGBTQ+ film festival in Los Angeles.

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AIDS and HIV

Los Angeles observes World AIDS Day with star-studded concert

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Juan Pablo di Pace will also be performing at the ceremony

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LOS ANGELES — As World AIDS Day is recognized around the globe, Los Angeles will mark the day with a free concert with a star-studded line-up at The Forum hosted by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AFA) and a ceremony at The Wall Las Memorias (TWLA) AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park Wednesday.

In a press release, the AFA said Grammy award winners Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera are set to perform in front of a sold-out crowd. Emmy-nominated comedian Randy Rainbow will host the event, which will take place from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

In addition to the entertainment, the AFA will honor Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a special video presentation. The award will be accepted by his wife Jane Sanders.

“This year marks two significant milestones in the decades-long fight against HIV and AIDS: first, for the first recognition by the CDC of the virus that led to what is now known as AIDS (40 years ago, in June 1981), and second, the launch of AHF (35 years ago),” the release reads. 

TWLA’s ceremony will reveal an expanded footprint of the surrounding landscape of the country’s only publicly funded AIDS monument. The monument, created in 2004, will also add over 1,000 names of loved ones lost to AIDS to the 360-plus names already etched into it and unveil new artwork. 

TWLM Founder Richard Zaldivar, Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo and County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis are all expected to attend the event, which will start at 6:15 p.m. at 3600 N. Mission Road. According to NBC 4 Los Angeles, organizers also hope Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in attendance. 

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Juan Pablo di Pace will also be performing at the ceremony. 

World AIDS Day is observed every December 1 to raise awareness about AIDS and honor the people who have died of the disease. This year’s theme is “End inequities. End AIDS and End Pandemics.”

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