Minnesota's lesbian gay
bisexual transgender & allied
mental health providers' network

Volume III, Issue 8

The Network: The MN LGBTQA Therapists eNewsletter
promoting LGBTQA mental health
10.1.10

Having trouble viewing this eNewsletter? Click here for web version

        

 

LGBT Therapists logo

Welcome new members! After a summer break & a member survey, this enewsletter is back! We have exciting changes to share! Read more below.

Changes with THE NETWORK: Improving Our Visibility!

(1) SURVEY:   THE SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN!
The Network* did a membership survey in June 2010 to assess members' interests and needs about our organization.

Thank you to the 93 individuals who responded to the on-line survey--that is 38% out of a possible 244 responses. That makes the survey more that statistically valid:  It gives us the information we need to point our way into the future.

Details:
88% are in favor of maintaining the on-line directory of therapists (a perk of paid membership).
77% are in favor of the eNewsletter.
73% are in favor of cosponsoring an LGBTQ Mental Health Conference.
64% are in favor of having the CEU workshops 2-3 times a year.
58% are in favor of sponsoring a booth at the annual Pride Festival.
55% are in favor of networking with other LGBTQA organizations.

Other Details:

72% indicated that the Network could increase practice-building and networking opportunities amongst the membership.
91% indicated "The rest of life is too busy" and "Other" as reasons for not being able to help/volunteer with the Network. * 

One last set of Numbers:
Attendance figures from the last 4 CEU programs that we have offered:

28 at  Fall, 2008
22 at Spring, 2009
18 at Fall, 2009
10 at Spring, 2010

Oh, and 44 of you (or 18%) attended/participated in the Beyond the Boxes Conference. (The LGBTQ Mental Health Issues conference co-organized by The Network and the UM GLBT Program's Office; held at the UM in March 2010)

Compiled by Dennis Christian, Steering Committee Member

*The Network is a group of LGBTQA mental health providers who pay to be members and thus, have an online presence on our website. The group's educational and networking functions are maintained by volunteers of the group. The Network has 95 paid members whose professional profiles are listed online at our site www.LGBTThearpists.org and 248 eNewsletter recipients.

(2) What this means for The Network:
At a July meeting of The Network, the Steering Committee, after careful review of the survey results, made the following decisions:
(a) keep the website and freshen it up. Plus, priority efforts and energies will be focused on increasing The Network's current web presence; as a result paying members will be able to have their services even more visible to the public and more potential consumers and referral agencies of LGBTQ-friendly psychotherapy will have easier access to providers. (White Ash will continue to be paid to maintain and update the web site and offer his guidance and creativity! White Ash, Web design, www.White-Ash.com ) (Thank you!)
(b) increase publicity of The Network (on the web and via advertising)
(c) increase networking and educational opportunities with other LGBTQ-friendly organizations
(d) discontinue offering CEU programs (attendance and volunteers have been minimal)
(e) continue the eNewsletter with monthly distribution to its 285+ recipients (verse its past bi-weekly distribution) (The eNewsletter recipient list has grown by 200 members within the past year.)
(f) hire and pay a person to coordinate the eNewsletter (verse using the volunteer services of steering committee member, Irene Greene. Welcome to Scott Schumacher - see below.)
(g) continue networking and having a presence at relevant LGBTQA functions (i.e., Twin Cities LGBT Pride, Quorum Coming Out Luncheon, etc. as long as there are volunteers who are interested in helping to make it happen).
(h) steering committee will continue. (Every paid member of The Network is welcome to be a part of the steering committee. More help would be greatly appreciated. ;) For several years the steering committee has consisted of basically three members. Thank you: Dennis Christian, Mindy Benowitz, Irene Greene.)
(i) Member Directory Fee Changes:
Every time a member changes their information in the member online directory it costs us money. This happens frequently and to date has been free. However, after budget and cost review, the Steering Committee has decided that members will now need to be charged for this service - unless they do it with their annual membership renewal.

Beginning 10/5/10, The Network will charge $10.00 for each set of updates to a member's Directory Listing. Please note ~ the $10.00 must be paid up front before updates will be made.  Upon payment, we will do our best to make updates within 3 business days.  To avoid this charge, submit one set of changes to your listing at the time of annual renewals (December 1 through January 31). Members who have a biannual membership may use the same time period (December 1 through January 31) to make one set of changes to their listings without incurring a $10.00 charge. Should you have any questions, please contact Dennis Christian: support @dennischristian dot com 

(j) The Network Membership Drive and Renewal Season is coming in December. More info to follow.

(k) The MN LGBT Therapists Network is now a Quorum member!!! (so if you are a paid member of The Network you can use the member price to register for Quorum events, i.e, the October Coming Out Day Luncheon - where we will have a table! Join us!)

(3) WELCOME SCOTT!  Scott Schumacher will take over coordinating The Network's monthly eNewsletter. In addition to web design, Scott is a massage therapist, and is increasing his practice as a provider of Reiki, acupressure, and energy bodywork!!! And a member of The Network. Check out his info on our site. He is also an all around nice guy!  So, watch for many improvements to this eNewsletter.
Scott Schumacher
Your Personal Web Assistant
http://www.holisticgeek.com/  

(4) Next Steering Committee Meeting:
Friday, November 12, 2010  1215-115
Office of Mindy Benowitz, 100 West Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN  55404
RSVP to Irene Greene:  irenegreene@earthlink.net    All members welcome!

Join The Network at The Quorum Coming Out Luncheon!

17th Annual Minnesota National Coming Out Day Luncheon!
Friday, October 15, 2010        11am-1pm    
Resource fair and luncheon with several speakers
Minneapolis Convention Center

Let's sit together!!! Join The Network table! Several of us had fun attending together last year and decided to do it again this year!

Luncheon/Quorum Members: $35.00
Luncheon/Quorum Non-Members: $40.00

The MN LGBT Therapists Network is a recent Quorum member and so if you are a paid member of The Network you can use the member price!!!!

Visit their website at www.twincitiesquorum.com for more info and to make reservations!

To ensure being seated at our LGBT Therapist Network table, first register at their site and then contact Irene Greene to get on our seating list!!! irenegreene@earthlink.net    612.874.6442

Groups & Relationship Retreat Offered:
Group notices list for two consecutive issues.  (Do you have a group you want to advertise here? Free. Contact us. Review past archived eNewsletters on our website for more groups.)

HEART-TO-HEART: A COUPLES' ENRICHMENT WEEKEND RETREAT
WHEN: November 5-6-7, 2010
WHERE:  Koinonia Retreat Center, 80-minute drive northwest of the TwinCities metro area (near South Haven, MN
WHAT: The retreat is patterned on the well-known Marriage Encounter program and,
although our presentations come from a Unitarian-Universalist perspective, the opportunities extend far
beyond any boundaries of faith.
All couples committed to their partners and to their relationships are welcome -- same-sex and opposite-sex,
married and unmarried.
Weekend Cost: $385 per couple ("scholarship" assistance is available)
Includes: 2 nights lodging; 5 meals
Scholarship: Assistance is available
Registration:
Space is limited to: 15 couples
Reservation Deposit: $100
Visit our website or call to check on available space.
Checks payable to: Unity Church-Unitarian
Mail to: c/o E. Lein
361 Summit Av #2
St Paul, MN 55102
E-Mail: heart@mn.cx
Website: www.heart.mn.cx  

LGBTQA TEEN PROGRAM:
Open Table, a GLBT Ministry of Welcome (open and affirming)  now has a LGBTQA teen program component of Open Table. They are calling it You(th) Can Talk to Us.
They are striving to provide a safe space for LGBTQ teens to be in fellowship, have fun (and food!) and to discuss their issues, including questions of faith if they so desire. (Besides being open and affirming, our associate pastor is gay, not to mention some of our other staff).  Kick-off is October 8th at 6 pm at the church. Build-your-own pizzas, games, conversation, etc.
 Contact: Deb Murphy
Director of Spiritual Formation and Community Ministry
First Christian Church (DOC) Minneapolis
2201 First Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN. 55403
612-807-2287

Short-Term Sexual Abuse Group for Men
<Time Limited Group: 8 weeks / Beginning Wednesday, 10-13-10 / 5:15-6:45
<Long-Term Sexual Abuse Group for Men / Mondays 5:15 - 6:45

Provided on a sliding fee scale. Most insurance accepted.
 Neighborhood Involvement Program
2431 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405
 
For more information:
 Daniel Keefe LICSW
 Graduate Student Training Coordinator
 Neighborhood Involvement Program
 612 746-8537  dkeefe at neighborhoodinvolve.org

MindBody Skills Group Starting in October:
Navigating life changes, transitions and losses
Managing chronic physical and mental health issues
Minimizing severe and chronic stress
Maximizing health and well-being
 
General Information:
Series length:  weekly for 10 weeks
Date and time:  Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 pm beginning mid-October or when there are enough people
Group size:  5-8 people
Fee:  $395 for series including intake and all materials.  Insurance is not applicable.
Where:  Grove Psychotherapy, 219 SE Main St, Ste 400
An intake interview is required for all prospective group members. 
Call Linda C. Nelson at 612.379.2640 x15 to schedule.
 
Linda C. Nelson, MA, Licensed Psychologist
Has trained with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC.  She has been a psychotherapist for over 25 years and has practiced with Grove Psychotherapy since 1986. She has been leading MindBody Skills groups since 2005.

Element Mental Health Services is pleased to announce a Group for Transgender/Transsexual individuals - TRANSmetamorphosis:  
metamorphosis - a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism.

Transgender/Transsexual individuals often find themselves isolated from family, friends, and co-workers because they have been marginalized by society.  In addition, they often lack reliable role-models.  Isolation, marginalization, and insufficient connection to supports within their community often leads to presenting problems that keep trans individuals in a cycle of unhealthy emotional and cognitive processes.  

TRANSmetamorphosis uses cognitive, narrative, and solution focused approaches to help clients experience changes in behavior, attitudes, mood, relationships with others, insight, energy level, expectations of oneself, and functioning.  Participants will jointly develop goals that they will be incouraged to evaluate and modify as treatment progresses.  Participants will obtain their goals while retaining maximum control in discussing needs which may include the exploration of social, family, sexual orientation, health, spirituality, and relevant gender oriented issues.  

TRANSmetamorphosis is a 12 week program and is an open group.  Group meets Tuesdays from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.  Please call 320-492-4525 to schedule a group intake or to receive more details.

Troy R Weber-Brown, MS, LMFT
Element Mental Health Services
1204 7th Street South, Ste. 105
Saint Cloud, MN 56301

Sexual Abuse Therapy Group for Adult Women has openings:
Meets: Tuesdays, 415-530. Ongoing.
Issues addressed: sharing sexual abuse stories, self-esteem, sexuality, personal development, family of origin, parenting, relationships, assertiveness, self-care, healthy & unhealthy coping skills, attachment, emotional containment strategies, healing, & developing a stronger sense of self.

Intake Session required. $150. Each group session:  $68/session. Most insurance accepted
For more information:
Mindy Benowitz, PhD, LP  612.870.0398 & Irene Greene, MSED, Psychotherapist. 
100 West Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN  55404   irenegreene@earthlink.net
Irene & Mindy have been doing this group together for over 23 years.

Presentations, Workshops & Conferences:
 
23rd National Creating Change Conference 2011 - Proposal Deadline Extended to October 15 2010!
This national LGBT Equality conference is in Minneapolis - February 2011!

We want you to be part of our robust and exciting program. We are pleased to extend the deadline for proposal submissions to October 15, 2010.

Creating Change 2011 attendees want and need your insightful, thoughtful and educational sessions and so do we!  Please submit your session proposal to us no later than October 15, 2010. Notifications of acceptance will begin around November 1, 2010.

You can submit your proposal at our wonderfully renovated Creating Change website at www.CreatingChange.org .

The 23rd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change is coming to beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Hilton Minneapolis, February 2-6, 2011.

What's Creating Change? Only the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies.

The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts more than 2,500 people from all over the country every year. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations.

Our five-day program features over 250 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and tons of networking opportunities.

DEAF or HARD OF HEARING TRAININGS FOR PROFESSIONALS:
Do you interact with deaf or hard of hearing people in your personal or professional life? Could you benefit from learning about different aspects of hearing loss?
 
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services - Metro office, of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is pleased to offer you and your staff an opportunity to attend our FREE trainingseminars. Seminars are three hours long (two topics offered per day) and will be staggered/repeated throughout the season. These trainings are available to anyone who is interested.
 
For further details, please see the schedule and informational flyer on our website:
If you would like a copy of the flyer, please respondvia email to: dhhs.metro DOT state.mn.us, by voice phone at 651/431-5940, or by TTY at 1-888-206-6513 and we will be happy to mail you one.   The flyer is also available in large print format on our web site.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Metro
85 East 7th Place, Suite 105
downtown St. Paul  (between Minnesota and Robert streets)
 
Mailing Address:
444 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN  55155-3814
 
651/431-5940 V
651/964-1514 VP
1-888-206-6513 TTY
651/431-7587 FAX
dhhs.metro at state.mn.us
www. dhhsd  dot org 

Subject: Trans bike resources
To Whom It May Concern:

 I'm writing on behalf of Sibley Bike Depot in St. Paul to inform Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition about a resource and opportunity available for self identified women, transgendered and gender non-conforming people in the Twin Cities! As a community bike shop, Sibley's mission is to empower people to use bicycles as transportation and help them gain the skills necessary for regular bike maintenance. Sibley is also working to promote gender equality among bike riders, so we host a weekly Women and Transgender Open Shop every Tuesday night from 6-9. The open shop is designed specifically for women and gender minorities to work with a female mechanic to fix up and repair their bikes.

In addition, Sibley is teaching a basic bike maintenance class through the Experimental College of the Twin Cities   www.EXCOTC  DOT org  specifically for women, transgendered and gender queer individuals. Women and Trans Night and the related EXCO class are part of Sibley's greater vision to be a support system within the University Avenue and greater Twin Cities communities for people to access and ride bikes. We'd love for you to share this resource with the people you work with and encourage them to use it! Additionally, we are always looking for new opportunities and partners.

Sibley would love to work with your organization if you are interested in more extensive or customized programming surrounding bicycling and bike maintenance. More information about our programs can be found on our website, sibleybikedepot.org, or give us a call at 651-222-2080.

 28th Upper Midwest Conference on Adolescents & Children In Need
When: November 18 & 19, 2010
Where: Ramada Plaza Minneapolis 
www.ramadaplazampls dot com
 Website: www. cedconference dot com
 Email: craig st cedconference dot com
 Phone: 320-629-1307
 
Cost: $149/person or $119/person for groups of 2 or more
The special sleeping room rate is $79.  Make sure to mention the
 conference to get the discounted rate.
 To view the workshops and presenters and register online, go to
 www.cedconference.com
   

Upcoming Events:

Kevin Xiong Farewell party:
Come celebrate with Shades of Yellow (SOY), as we send off our Executive Director, Kevin Xiong.  Kevin is leaving the organization after 2 years and we want to show him our gratitude for all the work he has done for SOY and the Hmong LGBTQ community.
Host: Shades of Yellow (SOY)  http://www.myspace.com/shadesofyellow_hmong
Phone:  920-227-6847
When:  Friday, October 08 from 05:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where:  Pagoda Restaurant 1417 4th St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414
Please RSVP as space is limited and program starts promptly at 5:30pm

Brother Circle of Minneapolis, Stand UP!!! 
Men of color discussing GLBT History Month
Date: Saturday, October 16, 2010
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. 
Place: Pillsbury House 3501 Chicago Avenue South
What: Brother Circle of Minneapolis (BCM612) Presents...
 
Join us for food, fellowship and feedback @ The Brother Circle of Minneapolis (BCM612) Men's Brunch. In recognizing October GLBT History Month, get ready to do some introspection and recollection as we discuss two important pieces of our culture.

October 16: brunch, join the brothers of all colors, as we celebrate our rich and courageous history as the GLBT community, during our Celebration of GLBT History Month.  We encourage members to come to brunch prepared to share the profile of at least one person (living or dead) or group who has helped in the fight for GLBT equality in America. This includes "allies" or heterosexual activists who have walked the line with us.   From James Baldwin to Lady Gaga...tell us about someone who inspires you and has gone against the grain for US.
 
****100% FREE BRUNCH SERVED - PLEASE RSVP!!!!
 
WE ASK THAT YOU RSVP if you plan to join us for brunch. 
 
Kevin Moore (612) 787-3641
moorek@puc-mn.org
 
Earnest Simpkins (651) 787-3642
simpkinse@puc-mn.org

Bisexual/Fluid/Pansexual Community Discussion
with Robyn Ochs
Thurs, Oct 7, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Coffman Union 324, UM

The GLBTA Programs Office and the Bisexual Organizing Project BOP) welcome all interested students, staff, faculty and community members to an open community discussion featuring nationally-recognized Bi educator, author and activist Robyn Ochs. Robyn will share her insights about what it means to work with and for bisexual, pansexual and fluid sexual communities. Robyn will facilitate an open discussion as we create a space to share our experiences as those who identify as bi/pan/fluid and their allies. We will brainstorm ways we can make the U of MN and the larger Twin Cities community more open, accepting and responsive to people of all sexual identities. Free pizza will be served! For more information, contact Anne Phibbs at phib0001@umn.edu or Lauren Beach at beach073@umn.edu.

17th Annual Minnesota National Coming Out Day Luncheon!

Friday, October 15, 2010
Minneapolis Convention Center

The Quorum Business Equality Conference is a one-day learning experience specifically designed to support GLBT and Allied employee groups and their companies' work towards fully inclusive, healthy and productive workplaces.  all day

The inspirational National Coming Out Day Luncheon gives voice to the power of living openly, honestly and with authenticity at work, in our families and in our communities of faith. We all have many layers of identity and we must work together to create a world where an individual can bring their "whole self" to everything they do.     11am - 1pm

Tickets, sponsorships, and exhibit opportunities are available!
Luncheon/Quorum Members $35.00
Luncheon/Quorum Non-Members $40.00
See their site for prices for conference attendance.

(Sit at the Therapist Network Table - see above notice)

Visit their website at www.twincitiesquorum.com

 
VOGUE/TRASH: Costume Fashion Ball Benefit
Saturday, October 16th 2010
Silent Auction - 7pm
Showtime - 8pm
$15 presale tickets; $20 tickets at the door

Come support the Cabaret at our first ever Costume Fashion Ball!
Artists from the Cabaret's past and future will be strutting their wildest,  craziest, and most innovative costumes on our runway.

Each artist will wow you and give you a glimpse of fashion not found on any  ordinary runway. In addition, this event will be aired on the Minneapolis Television Network, so be sure to come out, wear your own crazy outfit and be on TV!

A sick dance party will follow the fashion show with local breakers and funk stylists throwin' down. With dirty electro and house beats bumpin' throughout the entire night, everyone will be in for a real treat!

   $15 presale tickets by reservation only! Please call 612-724-6273 or email info at patrickscabaret dot org   to reserve your tickets. Also, if you're interested in volunteering we will definitely need volunteers to help with various tasks throughout the night. Contact Sara Jo Lehrer at 612-724-6273 or sarajo at patrickscabaret dot org   for more information.
For more information or inquiries about this event, please call (612-724-6273) or email:
 Event Coordinator - Arturo Miles - arturo at patrickscabaret dot org
 Event Promotion/Volunteer Coordinator - Sara Jo Lehrer - sarajo at patrickscabaret dot org
Patrick's Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota   55406
www.patrickscabaret dot org

Job Openings:

NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS of MINNESOTA
 Job Title:              Program Director - 100%
 Function:           
·      To implement and oversee the major programs of the organization
·     To oversee the information and referral work of the organization
 
Reports to:            Executive Director
 
Responsibilities:
1.      Implements, reviews and reports on the quality of programs by collecting data, preparing reports, designing and conducting evaluations.  Includes training and monitoring of teachers.
2.      Develops, writes and carries out new curriculum and programs.
3.      Oversees support groups throughout the state.
4.      Supervises program staff and volunteers, set performance standards, conducts reviews.
5.      Coordinates information and referral function of the agency by managing and monitoring phones, providing training to staff and volunteers, compiling data.
6.      Lead Program Team.
 
Experience in developing curriculum, excellent writing skills, ability to work with a diverse group of people, attention to detail. Salary range is $40,000 with health care benefits.
 
Resumes and cover letters should be sent to:
NAMI Minnesota
800 Transfer Road, Suite 31
St. Paul, MN 55114
Position: Admin Coordinator I (MN Urban Area Health Education Center)
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Job Description:
The Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was established in fall 2009 to strengthen the connections between the health professions programs at the University of Minnesota and underserved urban communities in the Twin Cities. The AHEC works along a continuum to increase the number of health professionals providing primary care in the community. This includes supporting youth with an interest in health careers and creating opportunities for current health professionals to work in underserved areas throughout the Twin Cities.

As a full-time Admin Coordinator I within our Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center (AHEC), you will be primarily responsible for providing administrative support to the center executive director. You will manage calendars, schedule meetings, greet visitors as well as handle administrative duties such as filing, copying, faxing, data entry, and typing documents. Additionally, you will create a positive and friendly environment for visitors over the phone and in-person as well as engage in various community outreach events. This position will be located in North Minneapolis.

In order to qualify for this role, you must possess:

  • A high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • 2 years of administrative or clerical experience in an office environment
  • Proficiency with MS applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Superior interpersonal, time management, organizational and customer service skills


As an UMPhysicians employee, we will provide you with a competitive salary and excellent benefits. You will have the opportunity to enhance your career in the exciting field of healthcare through rewarding and challenging assignments and opportunities for advancement.

Announcements:
 
Vote for Element Mental Health Services Pepsi Refresh projects!
Element has submitted two Pepsi Refresh grant proposals. One is to provide a self-help LGBTQ resource library in rural Minnesota and the other is for expanding a mental health/substance abuse center for underserved LGBT.  Recipients of grant monies are voted on by the public.  The most votes=getting the grant.  Voting starts at 5:00am Central Time on October 1st and runs through the month of October. You can cast 10 votes per day. Below are links to vote for both projects online and by text.  Please vote daily. Pass this on to others and encourage all your friends and family to vote.  Let's make this happen for the LGBT community and allies in this area.  Thanks for your help

Expand mental health/substance abuse center for underserved LGBT:
http://pep.si/cITIfj
Text 103472 to Pepsi (73774)

Provide a self-help LGBTQ resource library in rural Minnesota:
http://pep.si/b5VHck
Text 103099 to Pepsi (73774)

Element Mental Health Services
1204 7th Street South, Ste. 105
Saint Cloud, MN 56301
320-492-4525
Fax:  320-259-0791
elementmentalhealth@elementmentalhealth.vpweb.com

Research Help
Subject: Announcement from LGBTQ Therapists in New York City
An admired colleague, Darrell Greene, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in NYC, is doing a study of gay men's views about relationships. If you are a gay guy in a relationship or have clients who are, would you consider completing this survey or telling them about it? SUPERTHANKS! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H8879

Tidbits & Newsbits:

Suicide and Children in Our Schools: As the saying goes: 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer.'....Look at this blatently 'anti-LGBTQ children in the schools' website....As we continue to hear about children committing suicide, this is scary, and important for all of us to be aware of: http://www.parentsactionleague.org/

A pretty decent article on bisexual men
(from BOP listserv - Bisexual Organizing Project-Twin Cities)
 http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/28/bisexual.male.last.closet/

Researchers unveil biggest survey on sex in US since 1994; details orgasm gap, condom usage
DAVID CRARY, Associated Press   10/4/10   Star Tribune

NEW YORK - The male-female orgasm gap. The sex lives of 14-year-olds. An intriguing breakdown of condom usage rates, by age and ethnicity, with teens emerging as more safe-sex-conscious than boomers.

That's just a tiny sampling of the data being unveiled Monday in what the researchers say is the largest, most comprehensive national survey of Americans' sexual behavior since 1994.

Filling 130 pages of a special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study offers detailed findings on how often Americans have sex, with whom, and how they respond. In all, 5,865 people, ranging in age from 14 to 94, participated in the survey.

The lead researchers, from Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, said the study fills a void that has grown since the last comparable endeavor - the National Health and Social Life Survey - was published 16 years ago. Major changes since then include the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the types o! f sex education available to young people, the advent of same-sex marriage, and the emergence of the Internet as a tool for social interaction.

Dr. Dennis Fortenberry, a pediatrics professor who was lead author of the study's section about teen sex, said the overall findings of such a huge survey should provide reassurance to Americans who are curious about how their sex lives compare with others.

"Unless, like al-Qaida, you feel there's something abnormal about the American people, what these data say is, 'This is normal - everything in there is normal.'"

The researchers said they were struck by the variety of ways in which the subjects engaged in sex - 41 different combinations of sexual acts were tallied, encompassing vaginal and anal intercourse, oral sex, and partnered masturbation.

Men are more likely to experience orgasm when vaginal intercourse is involved, while women are more likely to reach orgasm when they engage in variety ! of acts, including oral sex, said researcher Debra Herbenick, ! lead aut hor of the section about women's sex lives.

She noted there was a gap in perceptions - 85 percent of the men said their latest sexual partner had an orgasm, while only 64 percent of the women reported having an orgasm in their most recent sexual event.

One-third of women experienced genital pain during their most recent sex, compared to 5 percent of men, said Herbenick, citing this as an area warranting further study.

The study, which began taking shape in 2007, was funded by Church & Dwight Co., the manufacturer of Trojan condoms. Questions about condom usage figured prominently in the study, but the researchers - during a teleconference - insisted the integrity of their findings was not affected by the corporate tie.

Among the findings was a high rate of condom usage among 14- to 17-year-olds. Of the surveyed boys who had sexual intercourse, 79 percent reported using a condom on the most recent occasion, compared to 25 percent f! or all the men in the survey.

However, the sample for that particular question involved only 57 teens in the 14-to-17 age range. That's far smaller than the thousands involved in latest federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey last year which calculated condom use among sexually active high school students at 61 percent

Fortenberry nonetheless found the new findings encouraging.

"There's been a major shift among young people in the role condoms have in their sexual lives," he said. "Condoms have become normative."

Another intriguing finding - rates of condom usage among black and Hispanic men were significantly higher than for whites. The researchers said this suggested that HIV-AIDS awareness programs were now making headway in those communities, which have relatively high rates of the disease.

The lowest condom usage rates were for men over 50 - and the researchers said this was worrisome. Although men in that age group are more likel! y to be married than males in their teens and 20s, other surve! ys have shown 50s-and-over to be far more open to multiple sexual partners than in the past, raising the risk for disease.

Other notable findings:

_While about 7 percent of adult women and 8 percent of men identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the proportion of individuals who have had same-gender sex at some point in their lives is higher. For example, 15 percent of the men aged 50-59 said they had received oral sex from another man at some point.

_Among adolescent boys, only about 2 percent of the 14-year-olds - but 40 percent of the 17-year-olds - said they had engaged in sexual intercourse in the past year.

The survey was conducted from March through May of 2009, with the assistance of Knowledge Networks, among a nationally representative sample of adolescents and adults. Once people were selected to participate, they were interviewed online; participants without Internet access were provided it for free.

The researchers said the 1994 ! survey was compiled through in-person interviews, while the new method - collecting data over the Internet - may help make respondents more comfortable about discussing sexual behaviors.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, noted that the new study came more than 60 years after Alfred Kinsey - also based at Indiana University - published his groundbreaking report, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male."

"Just like then, these papers contain material that is avant garde and often considered off-limits," Goldstein wrote in a forward to the study. "At a time when we can have nudity on HBO but cannot use the names of our genitals on the evening news, there remains a need to continue research on sexual health."

http://www.nationalsexstudy.indiana.edu


Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality

A prenatal pill for congenital adrenal hyperplasia to prevent ambiguous genitalia may reduce the chance that a female with the disorder will be gay. Critics call it engineering for sexual orientation.

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times  August 15, 2010

Each year in the United States, perhaps a few dozen pregnant women learn they are carrying a fetus at risk for a rare disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The condition causes an accumulation of male hormones and can, in females, lead to genitals so masculinized that it can be difficult at birth to determine the baby's gender.

A hormonal treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying such infants. It's not without health risks, but to its critics those are of small consequence compared with this notable side effect: The treatment might reduce the likelihood that a female with the condition will be homosexual. Further, it seems to increase the chances that she will have what are considered more feminine behavioral traits.

That such a treatment would ever be considered, even to prevent genital abnormalities, has outraged gay and lesbian groups, troubled some doctors and fueled bioethicists' debate about the nature of human sexuality.

The treatment is a step toward "engineering in the womb for sexual orientation," said Alice Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University and an outspoken opponent of the treatment.

The ability to chemically steer a child's sexual orientation has become increasingly possible in recent years, with evidence building that homosexuality has biological roots and with advances in the treatment of babies in utero. Prenatal treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the first to test - unintentionally or not - that potential.

The hormonal treatment "theoretically can influence postnatal behavior, not just genital differentiation," said Ken Zucker, psychologist in chief of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who studies gender identity. "Some people refer to girls with CAH as experiments of nature because you've got this condition and you can take advantage of studying it."

Complicating the situation is the fact that the daily hormone pill does nothing to treat or cure the underlying condition, caused in this case by a defective enzyme in the adrenal gland.

Dreger and critics - which include the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Advocates for Informed Choice (an organization that works to protect the rights of people with intersex conditions), and some pediatric endocrinologists and parents of children with the condition - say far too little is known about the safety of the hormone, the steroid dexamethasone, when used prenatally. They say it should be used sparingly, in closely monitored clinical trials, or not at all. They're even more concerned that some doctors might tell parents that a reduced chance of homosexuality is one of the therapy's benefits.

"Most clinicians speak about this treatment as ambiguous-genitalia prevention," said Dreger, who co-wrote an editorial about the treatment in a July publication of the Hastings Center, a bioethics organization. "Others suggest that you should prevent homosexuality if you can. But being gay or lesbian is not a disease and should not be treated as such."

To that end, in September, a consortium of medical groups led by the Endocrine Society will release updated guidelines on treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia that acknowledge the controversy. The guidelines are expected to describe prenatal dexamethasone therapy - first used about 20 years ago, but now with increasing frequency - as experimental and reiterate that the standard approach for cases of ambiguous genitalia is to perform corrective surgery.
But they're not expected to discourage research on the treatment.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, caused by a defect in an enzyme called 21-hydroxylase, affects about 1 in 15,000 infants, and almost all newborns are screened for it. Undetected, the abnormality can make both male and female infants critically ill within a few weeks of birth because of an associated salt loss through the urine. The defective enzyme also causes a deficiency of the hormone cortisol, which can affect heart function, and an increase in androgens produced by the adrenal glands.
The excess presence of the male hormone testosterone in the womb has little effect on a male fetus' genitalia. Even in females, the anatomical defect may be mild, involving nothing more obvious than a slightly enlarged clitoris. However, in severe cases, girls are born with male-like sexual organs although they usually have ovaries and a uterus.

The treatment of such disorders has long been the subject of debate. Early surgery to assign a child's gender is controversial, but prenatal treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia is even more alarming, said Anne Tamar-Mattis, executive director of Advocates for Informed Choice. She adds that the complicated surgery carries risks, including infection and nerve damage, and that parents may not be adequately counseled beforehand. The group favors allowing children born with intersex conditions to participate in decisions about their gender identity, including delaying a decision until adolescence.

Most couples don't know their offspring are at risk for the condition until one child is born with it; prenatal dexamethasone treatment is offered in subsequent pregnancies. The drug is an anti-inflammatory medication used most often for arthritis. Prenatal use is considered off-label.

In animal studies, the treatment appears to cause an increased risk of high blood pressure, plus changes in glucose metabolism, brain structure and brain function, leading to memory problems, for example. Long-term studies in humans are lacking.

"There is not a lot of information on its long-term safety," said Dr. Phyllis Speiser, a pediatric endocrinologist with the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York who chaired the Endocrine Society task force writing the new treatment guidelines. "The efficacy has been demonstrated in case reports - a fairly sizable number of cases that used untreated siblings for comparison - but not in randomized, controlled clinical trials."

Carriers of the gene mutation that causes this form of hyperplasia have roughly a 12.5% chance of having a daughter with the condition. The hormone treatment must be started as soon as possible, before the gender of the child is determined, for it to have an effect on genital development.

"It would be much less of a controversy if the treatment was just given to CAH girls," said Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and a prominent researcher on disorders of sexual development in children. But, he says, "to effectively treat one fetus, you have to treat seven others."

There have been only a few hundred cases of prenatal dexamethasone treatment in the world. But the emerging data on those cases have captured researchers' and activists' attention.

Dr. Maria New, a highly regarded pediatric endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, is among a handful of physicians worldwide who have studied the treatment. New does not offer the treatment in her position at Mount Sinai, but follows children she treated previously or who have had the treatment provided by other doctors. She declined to be interviewed for this report, but on her website and in publications, New says the data so far show that the treatment is safe and effective in preventing ambiguous genitalia.

However, New's more recent studies have caused more consternation, because - as she describes it - treated girls behave in ways that are considered more traditionally girlish.

In a 2008 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, New and her colleagues administered a sexual behavior assessment questionnaire to 143 women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia who were not treated prenatally. They found that most were heterosexual, but the rates of homosexual and bisexual women were markedly higher in women with the condition - especially those with the most severe conditions - compared with a control group of 24 female relatives without congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

And, in a paper published earlier this year in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, New and her colleagues reported on data from 685 pregnancies in which the condition was diagnosed prenatally, acknowledging the potential effects of the treatment for reducing traditionally masculine behavior in girls. Prenatally treated girls were more likely to be shy, they wrote, while untreated girls were "more aggressive."

Moreover, the authors said, failure to provide prenatal therapy seems to lead to traditionally masculine gender-related preferences in childhood play, peer association and career and leisure choices.

"The majority, no matter how severe, are heterosexual," said Meyer-Bahlburg, who has collaborated with New on some of the studies. "But the rate of CAH women attracted to females increases with their degree of androgen exposure during prenatal life."

Studies have not yet been conducted to examine whether the hormone treatment would reduce the rate of lesbianism, Meyer-Bahlburg said.
"I would never recommend treatment in order to take lesbianism away if that is someone's predisposition," he said. "Any treatment can be misused. That could happen here. But this is not the focus of the treatment. The focus is to make surgery unnecessary."
 

Quote of the Day: "...intersex...
"What is at stake when it comes to intersex clearly goes deeper than language. Intersex is about culture, human rights, and quite literally, saving lives. No matter who you talk to, the intentions on all sides of the intersex/DSD controversy are good: to end unnecessary medical treatments or to disallow discrimination based on physical variation or to prevent "normalization" of people who, for whatever reason, don't meet the narrow confines of acceptable male-female and boy-girl. Everyone is just trying to find the right word, the strongest way to say stop. The challenge is to make sure no one is hurt along the way."
by Thea Hillman

from On The Issues Magazine    8/5/09
Thea Hillman is an activist and author. Her book, "Intersex (for lack of a better word)" won a Lambda Book Award. For Thea's performance and appearance schedule, visit www.theahillman.com.


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