National Eating Disorders Association
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It is that time of year again: the holiday season. It is supposed to be a time of merriment and joining together of family, but for many it just winds up being a time of despair, dread, hangovers, fights, tears, and sadness.

For those of us who have transitioned or are nonbinary this can also include wondering how grandma will respond when she sees you either with a new haircut, masculine or feminine clothes, sporting some sweet sideburns, or binding/enhancing your chests. 

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In our work as a public health researcher (Allegra) and clinician (Carly), we have been excited to see growing interest in improving care for transgender and non-binary patients within the eating disorders field. Below we offer some lessons we have learned and suggestions for steps eating disorders professionals can take to begin to provide better care for transgender and non-binary patients and clients. 

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Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist, founder, and director of Silvers Psychotherapy, a group therapy practice in NYC. He specializes in working with clients with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and LGBT issues.

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It’s Transgender Awareness Week, a time meant to raise visibility and acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people. As one of the most marginalized groups in America today, transgender people are often denied access to basic human needs like employment, housing, public restroom access, and medical care. 

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Last night, I had the privilege of attending “Gender and Sexuality in the Doctor’s Office: LGBTQ Experiences of Healthcare Across Contexts,” a visiting scholar lecture at CLAGS by Emily Allen Paine, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. Many of us are aware that health disparities exist in the LGBTQ+ community. But what causes these health disparities?

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Last week, my close friend Colleen and I were invited by NEDA to see the NYC premiere of Fattitude. This documentary film was created by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman and it explores the discrimination fat people face—done by society, strangers, and even by loved ones. 

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I’ll never forget the day I arrived at a job interview with my hair dyed black with a subtle hint of blue. I didn’t think it would be an issue at a supposedly young and innovative media company, but my interviewer couldn’t see past my hair to my qualifications. Instead of listening to my responses to her questions, she looked at me like I flew into the interview from outer space and our conversation ended after only 15 minutes. 

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Note: this piece uses identity-first language (autistic, disabled, etc.) based on the preferences of many of our community members. 

When I started watching Atypical, I was hopeful. Finally, there was a show purportedly centered on Sam, an autistic teen. Sure, Sam is the white, intelligent, relatively affluent, and male autistic person we’re all used to seeing. I was prepared for that. What saddened me was the realization that Sam’s character embodies many autistic stereotypes and further stigmatizes autism

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The day I began treatment for my eating disorder was the August before the start of my sophomore year of high school. It was also the day my season of cross country track was scheduled to start. After my pediatrician was unable to sign off on the medical clearance forms, I was forced to go talk to my coach about how I wouldn’t be able to run with them this season. I was anxious when I walked into his office, expecting an angry response. 

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Exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury or threat to one’s physical integrity is included in the description of the diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sexually traumatic events for children may include developmentally inappropriate sexual experiences without threat of actual violence or injury. Physical and/or sexual abuse, incest, and rape are all included in the events hailing the diagnosis of PTSD, according to the DSM-IV. 

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