Portrait of a woman wearing a surgical mask with a virus and a map of the world. Mask protects us from corona virus all over the world

COVID-19. You. Me. Us.

Masks. Social distancing. Isolation. Queer places. Virtual. Hormones. Therapy. Surgery. Support Network.

Staying safe in an uncertain world.

What is your experience in the time of COVID-19? What is your story? What can we learn from each other?

Are you a member of the LGBTQ+ community? An LGBTQ+ ally? Do you live in Texas? It’s important we learn from your experience. The more COVID-19 experiences reflected in our survey, the better chance we have to understand the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ allies in Texas.

COVID-19 is changing our lives. It’s changing our physical lives. It’s changing our mental lives. It might be changing our outlook on life in general.

In many ways COVID-19 is becoming our new reality…and this changes lives. What if you were out at school but now live at home where your family doesn’t know you are part of the LGBTQ+ community? What if you live in an abusive household? What if you can no longer meet with your friends at a queer center or bar?

The pandemic is forcing us to change our routine. How does this affect us individually and as a community? Thankfully, Dr. Phillip Schnarrs developed the LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Experiences Across Texas survey. Together with a growing team of collaborators, we’re getting the word out.

Preliminary findings from the first 1,000 respondents show a number of disparities between gender diverse and cisgender people. Specifically, the rate of COVID-19 among gender diverse people was 2.5% compared to 0.9% of cisgender individuals. Gender diverse individuals were also more likely to report having to live with someone who does not accept them and to have more severe anxiety and depression symptoms related to COVID-19. Check out this short presentation for more information:

We’re glad we are connecting with you about this important Texas effort. Your story and experience are important in our understanding your reality with COVID-19.

The survey takes roughly 25-minutes to complete. You can make a difference. Only a few days remain in our 2020 PRIDE Month. Take the next step and enroll in the survey today. We’ll keep you apprised of our developments. If you complete the survey, you can enter a raffle to win 1 of 16 $50.00 gift cards to be distributed in August 2020. You may also be selected to participate in an interview if you provide your email address at the end of the survey. If selected to sit for an interview, you will receive a $30 gift card for you time.

If you don’t have time this month, then you can still complete the survey by July 31, 2020. This is important. It’s about COVID-19. You. Me. Us.

TransFORWARD: Improving Transgender Lives is proud to work with our collaborators to increase survey enrollment, Equality Texas, Texas Pride Impact Funds, Borderland Rainbow Center, Eagle Pass SAFE, The Montrose Center, Legacy Community Health, The Center, Resource Center, Vivent Health, UT Health School of Public Health, Trinity University, UTEP, Texas Tech LGBTQIA Education & Engagement, Dell Medical School – The University of Texas at Austin, SMU, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Austin Black Pride.

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John Oeffinger is Director, eLearning and Training for Texas Health Institute and Co-Director of TransFORWARD: Texas Transgender Health, a collaboration between Texas Health Institute and Equality Texas Foundation. He has 39 years’ experience in project management, distance education and eLearning in for-profit, association, and non-profit organizations. John currently leads or co-directs four eLearning or transgender health projects for THI developing collaborative partnerships with national, state, and community based partners. He has been project lead for thirty-three online courses including twenty-five that are currently online. John earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Texas A&M University in 1976 and was named to Marquis Who’s Who in America in 1996. His primary research interests are in culturally competent transgender health, 3D immersive learning, web and mobile applications in health, and developing organizational knowledge.

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Phillip W. Schnarrs, Ph.D., is an associate professor of community-based participatory research in the Department of Population Health. He is an applied health researcher and expert in LGBTQ+ populations specializing in sexual health, mental health and substance use disorder. As an applied scientist engaged in community-based participatory research, Schnarrs engages the community as co-collaborators throughout the research process and develops meaningful programs to address the health of marginalized populations and shift social policies that contribute to mistreatment and discrimination of these groups.

Schnarrs received his doctorate in health behavior from Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington with an emphasis in community engagement and social justice. In addition to his academic work, he was a pre-doctoral fellow in the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at the Fenway Institute in Boston.

For the past two years, Schnarrs has been a fellow with the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is currently co-PI of Strengthening Colors of PRIDE San Antonio, a project funded through the IRL fellowship focused on understanding the role of resilience and trauma in LGBTQ+ adult health. In its second year, Strengthening Colors of PRIDE is building on the past work related to adverse childhood experiences by identifying and measuring queer- and trans-specific childhood adversity linked to poor adult health outcomes in these populations.

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