We at Accanto Health are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ+ individuals – many specifically targeting transgender youth – for exclusion or differential treatment. The ACLU is currently tracking 420 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the U.S. These laws are aimed to limit access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms and unnecessarily single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage.
As an inclusive healthcare organization, we strongly believe in every individual’s right to access high-quality care. Emerging data show transgender individuals are at particularly increased risk for eating disordered behaviors. We believe that exclusionary legislation, barriers to care, and societal ostracization is harmful and unjust and will only cause these trends to increase. We are saddened by lawmakers’ refusal to listen to best practices set by the American Psychological Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as many others. We at Accanto stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and strive to create a space that is safe for all, where all are treated with dignity and respect.
June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and sexual and gender diversity. Members of the community and allies unite in pride and solidarity to recognize, honor, and uplift the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning people.
As we honor the LGBTQIA+ community this month and beyond, we must also commit to better understanding and addressing the issues it faces. One such issue is eating disorders, which affect LGBTQIA+ people at disproportionately high rates.
In this article, we explore eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community and offer ways to support affected community members during Pride and throughout the year.
Debbie Seacrest, Ph.D. is a non-binary math professor who is passionate about advocating for mental health and showing that eating disorders affect a variety of people.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Debbie speaks to their eating disorder experience as a non-binary person. They share how negative body image in early childhood morphed into anorexia in adolescence, and how body image continued to be relevant to their gender journey and eating disorder recovery. Crediting karate, self-advocacy, and social connection as important tools in recovering from their anorexia, they reflect on the progress they’ve made and offer strategies for others suffering. They also share how the eating disorder community can be more gender-affirming and competent in the language we use and services we provide—a generous and important contribution given the disproportionate rates of eating disorders among trans and/or non-binary people.
Contact Debbie via email with any questions.
Eating disorders are disproportionately common in segments of the LGBTQ community. Disproving the myth that these illnesses impact only straight, cisgender people, research and personal accounts show that all sexual and gender identities are affected—and sexual and gender minorities perhaps even more so than non-LGBTQ people.
The LGBTQ acronym encompasses several distinct sexual and gender identities. It is an umbrella term that represents a group as diverse and varied as non-LGBTQ people, though often treated as a singular group. While we cannot generalize eating disorder experiences within the LGBTQ community—or outside of it—here we explore eating disorders in one segment: those who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB). These terms refer to sexual orientation, while “transgender” refers to gender identity. For more on eating disorders in those who identify as transgender, please read Eating Disorders in the Transgender Community.
In a post earlier this month, we discussed the prevalence of body image issues and eating disorders in the transgender community. Today we’re wrapping up our PRIDE month series with an interview that puts a human face to the issue of body image and identity in the trans community.
TEP: Tell us about yourself!
Sam: My name is Sam Dylan Finch! My pronouns are he/him. I’m a blogger, editor, and media strategist. And a whole bunch of other things — like a drag queen! — but that’s the gist.
Image by Ayush Gupta for Subvrt Magazine.
Alok (they/them) is a gender non-conforming performance artist, writer, educator, and entertainer. They are known for their sense of style, comedy, a poetic challenge to the gender binary. Alok has been featured on HBO, MTV, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and that’s just the beginning. They have also presented their work at over 300 venues in more than 30 countries. You can learn more about Alok here.
Given the lack of diverse voices typically found in discussions of body image, we wanted to interview Alok for our PRIDE month series and ask their opinions on body image and identity as someone who identifies as a South Asian nonbinary person.
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