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Gay, bi men have better heart health scores than straight men: study

But lesbians, bi women showed poorer results than heterosexual women



A new study finds that lesbian and bi women have lower heart health scores than straight women.

A report published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association about a study conducted in France of the heart disease risk factors in more than 169,000 adults found that gay and bisexual men had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease than heterosexual men.

The same study, according to the JAHA report, shows that lesbian and bisexual women had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes than heterosexual women.

The report says the French study, which included physical examinations and interviews with 90,879 women and 78,555 men in 21 cities, appears to be the first such study to include individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or who declare other non-heterosexual identities.

Among the women participating in the study, 555 identified as lesbian, 3,149 identified as bisexual, and 84,363 identified as heterosexual, the report states. Among the men participating in the study, 2,421 identified as gay, 2,748 identified as bisexual, and 84,363 identified as heterosexual.

The report says that among all participants in the study, 2,812 women and 2,392 men declined to answer a question asking about their sexual orientation. 

It says the study used two methods of measuring cardiac health developed by the American Heart Association. One, called the Life’s Simple 7 Cardiovascular Health Score, assesses seven “modifiable and actionable cardiovascular health metrics” — dietary intake, physical activity, nonsmoking, body mass index, fasting blood glucose level, blood pressure, and total blood cholesterol.

The second method the study used for assessing cardiac health, the report says, is called Life’s Essential 8, which includes the seven factors used in the first method plus an assessment of an individual’s “sleep health.”

Dr. Keith Egan, an internal medicine physician with D.C.’s Kaiser Permanente Pride Medical Center ,which specializes in primary medical care for LGBTQ patients, called the French study an important development in identifying the need for preventive health care for LGBTQ people.

“It puts us on notice that we need to be paying attention to these cardiovascular risk factors and paying special attention for bisexual and lesbian women to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to help that population optimize their health in each of these aspects to prevent cardiovascular disease down the line,” Egan told the Washington Blade.

The Journal of the American Heart Association report on the French study, which was released on May 17, offers a possible explanation for why lesbians and bi women were shown to have a higher risk for heart disease.

“The current study found that SM [sexual minority] men had higher cardiovascular health scores than their heterosexual counterparts, whereas the opposite was found in women,” the report says.

“This may suggest that: (1) levels of exposure to stressors, such as discrimination, might differ between sexual minority men and sexual minority women compared with heterosexual individuals; and (2) differences in the available coping resources and resilience to buffer against minority stressors might exist in sexual minority women and sexual minority men,” the report states.

“It is noteworthy that gay or bisexual men had higher LE8 and LS7 scores than heterosexual men, despite their observed psychosocial and socioeconomic disadvantages,” the report continues.

“As the study was conducted in France, universal health care access to most residents may have buffered against the detrimental effects of low socioeconomic status on cardiovascular health access and cardiovascular disease prevention in sexual minority individuals,” the report says.

However, the report says the study found that gay and bisexual men living in rural areas had lower cardiovascular health scores compared to heterosexual men.

The report also points out that while gay and bisexual men had higher heart health scores than heterosexual men and lesbian and bi women had lower scores than their straight counterparts, it also confirmed findings in previous studies that overall, women consistently have higher cardiac health scores and less risk for heart disease than men regardless of sexual orientation.

Egan, the Pride Medical Center physician, said among the important issues the French study raises that can be found in the United States is the potential disparities faced by LGBTQ people based on discrimination.

“A lot of that is tied back to the overall LGBTQ+ population being less likely to have a primary care provider and less likely to go for a routine screening,” he said. “We see those disparities in other areas like in rates of HIV and rates of STI [sexually transmitted infections] in gay and bisexual men,” Egan said.

“In general, though, if you look at the study, men – both heterosexual and gay men – have lower cardiovascular scores,” he said. “There is an overall higher risk for men in general” regarding cardiovascular disease, Egan stressed.

“So, what I always say regarding the LGBTQ+ population is that it’s really important to seek out and find a primary care provider who is knowledgeable and experienced and open and welcoming to our community, so that you have a relationship with a primary care provider where you can truly be open and tell them all aspects of your life so the provider can then provide help, advice and do proper screening and help reduce these disparities,” Egan said.

The full Journal of the American Heart Association report can be accessed at



Asian American and LGBTQ: A Heritage of Pride

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month



Glenn D. Magpantay (Photo courtesy of Glenn D. Magpantay)

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are the nation’s fastest growing racial minority group by 2040, one in 10 Americans will be of Asian ancestry. And, while many Americans think that anti-Asian hate and racism towards Asian Americans has disappeared, the community disagrees.

The Asian American Foundation which found that Asian Americans are continually subjected to hate, violence, and discrimination, baldly reveals that disparity. 

  • 33 percent of Americans think hate towards Asian Americans has increased in the past year, compared to 61 percent of Asian Americans themselves.
  • In the past year, 32 percent of Asian Americans across the country reported being called a racial slur; 29 percent said they were verbally harassed or verbally abused.
  • Southeast Asian Americans report even higher incidences of being subject to racial slurs (40 percent), verbal harassment or abuse (38 percent), and threats of physical assault (22 percent).
  • Many Asian Americans live in a state of fear and anxiety with 41 percent of Asian American/ Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) believing they will likely be the victims of a physical attack due to their race, ethnicity, or religion. These numbers are disturbing.  

I serve as the only Asian American Pacific Islander member on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. And, I am the first and only queer AAPI on the U.S. commission. I am deeply honored to both serve my country and represent my Asian Americans and Pacific Islander community.    

Last year, the commission investigated the Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States. With congressional authorization, the report documented the experiences of AANHPIs in the U.S. since the dubbing of COVID-19 as the “China Virus” infecting people with the “Kung Flu” by government leadership. Words matter, as this report shows.

This report has a deep personal connection for me. I am the survivor of a hate crime of 25 years ago for being gay, and the victim of a hate crime for being Asian 25 months ago 

The Stop AAPI Hate Coalition reported that bias incidents against individuals who are Asian and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) were most prominent between 2019 and 2022, highlighting the intersectional nature of these incidents. For example, two transgender Asian women stated: 

“I was with my new boyfriend at a restaurant. When we walked in the server started calling me names … a b—h, ch—k, tra—i.e. … He said I have a big fat p—s, and told me to go back to China. Then my boyfriend proceeded to walk in the restaurant and when I took a step forward, the server hit me, so I left.” 

“Left a restaurant with friends in the Asian district of town. A man began to follow me calling out ‘Hey you f—got c—k!’ and ‘Come here you virus!’ I began to walk fast towards a crowd until he stopped following me.”

To address these and other equally appalling experiences, I helped shepherd the bipartisan Commission on Civil Rights recommendations to the president, Congress, and the nation that: 

  • Prosecutors and law enforcement should vigorously investigate and prosecute hate crimes and harassment against Asian Americans, as well as Asian Americans who are LGBTQ.
  • First responders should be trained to understand what exactly constitutes a hate crime in their jurisdiction, including the protections of LGBTQ people.
  • Federal, state, and local law enforcement and victim services should identify deficiencies in their programs for individuals with limited English proficiency

Greater language access will make an enormous impact for the Asian American community as one in five Asian individuals speak a language other than English at home. A third (34 percent) is limited English proficient. The most frequently spoken languages are Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Khmer, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, and Punjabi.   

For me, this report comes full circle. Since 1988, I’ve lobbied for passage of LGBTQ-inclusive federal and state laws to prevent hate crimes. Since 2001, I’ve supported South Asian and Muslim victims of post 9/11 violence. In response to the shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla, in 2016; Atlanta Spa in Georgia in 2021; and Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2022, I‘ve trained over 3,000 lawyers, law students, and community leaders on hate crimes law.  

And yet, our work is not yet done. 

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Despite these challenges, we are resilient. Let us join together in celebrating our Heritage of Pride 

Glenn D. Magpantay, Esq., is a long-time civil rights attorney, professor of law and Asian American Studies, and LGBTQ rights activist. Glenn is a founder and former Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). He is principal at Magpantay & Associates: A nonprofit consulting and legal services firm. In 2023, the U.S. Senate (majority) appointed Glenn to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to advise Congress and the White House on the enforcement of civil rights laws and development of national civil rights policy. 

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CDC issues warning on new ‘deadlier strain’ of mpox

WHO says epidemic is escalating in Congo



JYNNEOS mpox vaccine (Photo courtesy of the CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory regarding a deadlier strain of the Mpox virus outbreak which is currently impacting the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the CDC, since January 2023, DRC has reported more than 19,000 suspect mpox cases and more than 900 deaths. The CDC stated that the overall risk to the U.S. posed by the clade I mpox outbreak is low.

The risk to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who have more than one sexual partner and people who have sex with men, regardless of gender, is assessed as low to moderate the agency stated.

While no cases of that subtype have been identified outside sub-Saharan Africa so far, the World Health Organization said earlier this week that the escalating epidemic in Congo nevertheless poses a global threat, just as infections in Nigeria set off the 2022 outbreak according to a WHO spokesperson.

The spokesperson also noted that as Pride Month and events happen globally, there is more need for greater caution and people to take steps at prevention including being vaccinated.

The CDC advises that while there are no changes to the overall risk assessment, people in the U.S. who have already had mpox or are fully vaccinated should be protected against the type of mpox spreading in DRC. Casual contact, such as might occur during travel, is not likely to cause the disease to spread. The best protection against mpox is two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine.

The CDC also noted the risk might change as more information becomes available, or if cases appear outside DRC or other African countries where clade I exists naturally.

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Journalists are not the enemy

Wednesday marks five years since Blade reporter detained in Cuba



The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, on April 4, 2024. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government over the last decade has cracked down on the country's independent media. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Wednesday marked five years since the Cuban government detained me at Havana’s José Marti International Airport.

I had tried to enter the country in order to continue the Washington Blade’s coverage of LGBTQ and intersex Cubans. I found myself instead unable to leave the customs hall until an airport employee escorted me onto an American Airlines flight back to Miami.

This unfortunate encounter with the Cuban regime made national news. The State Department also noted it in its 2020 human rights report.

Press freedom and a journalist’s ability to do their job without persecution have always been important to me. They became even more personal to me on May 8, 2019, when the Cuban government for whatever reason decided not to allow me into the country.  

Washington Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers after the Cuban government detained him at Havana’s José Marti International Airport on May 8, 2019. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

‘A free press matters now more than ever’

Journalists in the U.S. and around the world on May 3 marked World Press Freedom Day.

Reporters without Borders in its 2024 World Press Freedom Index notes that in Cuba “arrests, arbitrary detentions, threats of imprisonment, persecution and harassment, illegal raids on homes, confiscation, and destruction of equipment — all this awaits journalists who do not toe the Cuban Communist Party line.” 

“The authorities also control foreign journalists’ coverage by granting accreditation selectively, and by expelling those considered ‘too negative’ about the government,” adds Reporters without Borders.

Cuba is certainly not the only country in which journalists face persecution or even death while doing their jobs.

• Reporters without Borders notes “more than 100 Palestinian reporters have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces, including at least 22 in the course of their work” in the Gaza Strip since Hamas launched its surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. Media groups have also criticized the Israeli government’s decision earlier this month to close Al Jazeera’s offices in the country.

• Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, Washington Post contributor and Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Alsu Kurmasheva remain in Russian custody. Austin Tice, a freelance journalist who contributes to the Post, was kidnapped in Syria in August 2012.

• Reporters without Borders indicates nearly 150 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, and 28 others have disappeared.

The Nahal Oz border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Nov. 21, 2016. Reporters without Borders notes the Israel Defense Forces have killed more than 100 Palestinian reporters in the enclave since Hamas launched its surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his World Press Freedom Day notes more journalists were killed in 2023 “than in any year in recent memory.”

“Authoritarian governments and non-state actors continue to use disinformation and propaganda to undermine social discourse and impede journalists’ efforts to inform the public, hold governments accountable, and bring the truth to light,” he said. “Governments that fear truthful reporting have proved willing to target individual journalists, including through the misuse of commercial spyware and other surveillance technologies.”

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power, who is a former journalist, in her World Press Freedom Day statement noted journalists “are more essential than ever to safeguarding democratic values.” 

“From those employed by international media organizations to those working for local newspapers, courageous journalists all over the world help shine a light on corruption, encourage civic engagement, and hold governments accountable,” she said.

President Joe Biden echoed these points when he spoke at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner here in D.C. on April. 27.

“There are some who call you the ‘enemy of the people,'” he said. “That’s wrong, and it’s dangerous. You literally risk your lives doing your job.”

I wrote in last year’s World Press Freedom Day op-ed that the “rhetoric — ‘fake news’ and journalists are the ‘enemy of the people’ — that the previous president and his followers continue to use in order to advance an agenda based on transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, islamophobia, and white supremacy has placed American journalists at increased risk.” I also wrote the “current reality in which we media professionals are working should not be the case in a country that has enshrined a free press in its constitution.”

“A free press matters now more than ever,” I concluded.

That sentiment is even more important today.

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