The mental health impact of anti-LGBT policies with Heather Zayde | Crooked Media
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June 07, 2022
America Dissected
The mental health impact of anti-LGBT policies with Heather Zayde

In This Episode

It’s pride month – a moment when LGBTQ+ Americans ought to feel out and proud. And yet that is becoming harder to do in an America where politicians are attacking the community through discriminatory policies designed specifically to stigmatize and exclude. Abdul talks about the way that exclusionary policy shapes mental health and speaks with Heather Zayde, a mental health provider who specializes in LGBTQ+ mental health about the challenges the community is facing and what it will take to overcome them.

 

 

Transcript

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Although BA4 and BA5 are beginning to circulate across the U.S., COVID cases have begun to fall again after a long, if blunted, second Omicron surge. Shanghai is opening up after a draconian two-month lockdown and millions are trying to escape the city for fear of another one. California is facing water restrictions amidst a worsening drought crisis. This is America Dissected. I’m your host, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. It’s June, which means it’s Pride month. For millions of LGBTQ Americans and allies, Pride Month is a moment of celebration and a moment of commemoration. It’s a moment to reflect on how far the community has come. Don’t forget that only a few short decades ago, the idea of LGBTQ equality was openly scorned. And while progress has been made, much of that progress has only come very recently.

 

[news clip] Now to that historic Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage across the land.

 

[news clip] Historic ruling struck down the bans on same-sex marriage still in effect in 14 states, all of them in the South and the Midwest.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: The right of same sex couples to marry was only enshrined into law by a Supreme Court decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, but the fight for LGBTQ equality goes back way further. Throughout the month of June, major cities around the country will have Pride parades, where LGBTQ Americans and their allies will march in a show of solidarity and, well, pride. But the first Pride parade wasn’t a parade at all. It was an uprising. See, New York City police had raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The community had had enough. For the next several nights, they organized protests across Greenwich Village, eventually forming activist organizations demanding the right to live freely. The movement birthed three gay liberation newspapers, and the next year there were gay pride parades commemorating Stonewall in L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and New York. And there have been across the country ever since. The Stonewall uprisers were responding to a set of laws that simply criminalized their existence, just for being them. They were demanding the right to live freely as LGBTQ people, not to be harassed, and to have equal access to civic institutions, like legal marriage, independent of who they loved or how they identified. The activism birthed at Stonewall saved lives. When HIV hit the gay community in the late ’80s, the scientific and medical establishments largely ignored the disease. After all, it was seen to be a disease of gay men, a marginalized community. Standing on the shoulders of giants, the community built ACT UP, founded in New York in 1987, specifically to confront the medical establishment using tactics designed to both confront and make news–more on that in a future episode. Because of these nascent movements for LGBTQ rights and equality, most of us alive today have watched the tide turn toward equality. Not only have we watched the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and marriage equality, but we’ve seen a broad change in culture on these issues. In 2004, just 18-years ago, 60% of Americans opposed marriage equality. Today, 61% of Americans support it. And while that is progress, as is so often the case, it can come two steps forward and one step back. Over the past several years, we’ve seen a slate of anti-LGBTQ policies proposed across the country. Since 2018, nearly 670 have been proposed according to the ACLU. 2022 has seen the biggest spike of all. In this year alone, not even halfway through, we’ve seen 238 bills proposed, specifically targeting LGBTQ people. That’s more than the 191 proposed last year. The vast majority of them target trans people, restricting access to everything from health care to bathrooms to school sports. You probably already heard about this one:

 

[news clip] Florida’s controversial legislation passing now sent to the governor there tonight. It’s called the Parental Rights in Education Bill. Critics call it the “don’t say gay bill.”

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the Don’t Say Gay bill into law at the end of March. The law reads, and I quote, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three, or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Though it bans public school teachers from holding classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, the legislation is intentionally intended to be open ended. And the enforcement is insidious, allowing parents to sue school districts, leaving it open to the strictest interpretation of the most extreme parents out of school. Not to be outdone, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that orders members of the general public to report parents of transgender minors who appear to be receiving gender-affirming care. It has rarely been more grim. Policies targeting LGBTQ young people, deliberately designed to exclude into marginalized people at their most vulnerable moments, are having a profound impact on mental health. A survey by the Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention and crisis intervention among LGBTQ youth, found that 42% of all LGBTQ young people, and more than half of trans and non-binary young people, had seriously contemplated suicide. More than half! Two out of three specifically said that anti-LGBTQ legislation affected their mental health. And for good reason. These kinds of bills fundamentally alter the very foundation of a young person’s life: whether or not you can confide in a trusted teacher or a counselor, whether or not you and your parents can safely make a decision regarding gender affirming health care–these are foundational And those foundations are deliberately being targeted by homophobic lawmakers, all to play to their base. I wanted to get a deeper understanding of the impact of these laws in this moment of backsliding on LGBTQ equality on the mental health of young people from this community. Heather Zayde is a mental health provider specializing in care for LGBTQ folks. She joined me to talk about these bigoted laws, their impacts on LGBTQ mental health, and what allies can do to support. Here’s Heather Zayde:

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Okay. Can you introduce yourself for the tape?

 

Heather Zayde: Sure. My name is Heather Zayde, and I’m a clinical social worker from Brooklyn, New York.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Great. And I’d love to hear a little bit about your practice. What kinds of patients do you see, and what are your goals with your patients, or what kind of goals do your patients come to you around?

 

Heather Zayde: Sure. So I’ve been working in Brooklyn for ten years, just a little over ten years, and I have a couple of specializations. One is working within the LGBTQ+ community, and that’s been a passion of mine since I began my practice. And another is working with dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT, which is a form of therapy that was created in 1995 by Dr. Marsha Linehan. It’s really wonderful and it treats a variety of issues. So really, anyone is welcome in my practice. I like working with individuals and couples, but again, my main focus and passion is working with the LGBT community. And some goals from my practice are working with young people, youth and teens, that are recently coming out or also recently getting gender-affirming treatment, and helping them through that often difficult process.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I’d love to zoom in, you know, given the subject of our conversation today, on some of the unique challenges that members of the LGBT community face in terms of mental health. And, you know, obviously, when we think about mental health, the you know, the first word is mental and so we think it’s kind of in your head, but really, so much of what happens in your head happens outside of you and the circumstances in which you are living, the opportunities that you face or you don’t have, the challenges that are in your way, the ways that people interact with you as a function of who you are in society and the way that people think about you. And also so much of that is shaped by the norms and the laws and the policies of a particular community. I wanted to ask you about the role that stigma and acceptance play in the mental health of LGBT folk.

 

Heather Zayde: Yeah, absolutely. And before I get into that, I’m just going to, you know, give some information. So LGBT individuals, particularly youth and teens, are vulnerable population because of high instances of mental health issues within the community. And this increases tremendously with young people of color and intersecting oppressions. So some data: LGBT youth are twice as likely as heterosexual peers to develop feelings of depression and hopelessness, and four times as likely to attempt suicide. Even more so, prevalence of psychiatric conditions among transgender teens is at a whopping 78%. Interestingly, those teens who are able to receive gender-affirming health care are 60% less likely to be depressed and 73% less likely to contemplate suicide than those who haven’t received that care. So when we see teenagers getting the treatment that they need and deserve, those numbers decrease tremendously. And that’s really a huge number. And when we’re talking about, you know, suicidal ideation and attempts and completion, this is truly a life or death issue.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: True. Yeah.

 

Heather Zayde: So we talked about, you mentioned stigma and how that can play a part in mental health. And of course, you know, some mental health issues come internally from, you know, mental health imbalances, but I think for the majority of LGBT teenagers, stigma plays a huge role in this. Social stigma contributes to things like isolation, rejection, and fear of seeking treatment or support or help from that isolation and rejection. Rejection and marginalization make you feel for their physical, social and emotional safety, and that, in turn, of course, prevents people from thriving. Social stigma is, of course, a major catalyst in the laws that are currently being enacted and often passed, limiting the rights of LGBT youth and their families. This includes laws that prevent people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. One study says that college students who are denied gender-appropriate facilities are 45% more likely to attempt suicide. So this stigma and marginalization in turn is creating, like I said, tremendous numbers of depression, suicide attempts, and suicide completion.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: We’ll be back with more with Heather Zadie after this break.

 

[ad break]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: My partner Sara is is a mental health provider, and we sometimes neglect the fact that, you know, mental health care is A, health care, and then, B, it is life-and-death health care. And, you know, the nature of depression is that it can end the life by way of suicide. And the point that you bring up about the long term consequences of mental health is critical. When it comes to stigma and acceptance, one of the important aspects of the ways that people get stigmatized is it’s not just that you’re not accepted, it’s that you’re actively told that you don’t belong. And that comes in the form of of bullying, which can be extremely traumatic for folks, particularly when it’s chronic and it lasts in a place that you can’t leave, right? If you’re being bullied at school, for example, you can’t just not go to school, as a function of it. And then with the advent of social media, that bullying doesn’t just end when you leave a particular space, it continues in the online space from there. How often are LGBT youth being bullied, and what are the consequences of that trauma?

 

Heather Zayde: Bullying is happening so much these days, and I think schools are often doing a good job of preventing it at school. Not always, but, you know, more so now than in the past. What now we’re seeing, I think, is bullying happening actively from the government and from the states that are creating this legislature that is silencing LGBT youth and their families. So, you know, we’ll get more into this new legislature as we go on, but, you know, we are six months through the year right now, just beginning here, it’s beginning of June. Almost 240 anti-gay bills have been introduced in 2022 alone and almost 670 bills since 2018. So, you know, we’re talking about bullying on a micro level–it can happen at schools, it can happen in families. But when we’re looking at on a macro level, we’re really, you know, these youth and teens are getting the message that they don’t have the right to exist. They barely don’t have the right to speak about themselves. You know, how does that reflect on a kid to hear, you know, my identity is unspeakable?

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I want to I want to zoom in there because I think that is such an important subtext of this moment in our country, and particularly when it comes to the experience of LGBT youth, and in adults, is that you have this bullying on the part of government, as you really succinctly called it. What is the experience of that for the folks that you take care of when they hear that, when they see that, when they see those laws being passed by people who ostensibly represent them? What is the set of experiences that that goes through in their mind, and how does that show up when it comes to their mental health?

 

Heather Zayde: You know, it’s challenging as a clinician, and I’ve heard, you know, teachers saying it’s a challenging year for them. It’s challenging for school psychologists and social workers, because so much of our work is reminding, you know, Queer youth that there are worthy, they are lovable, that they’re good enough just by being them. But then, you know, they’re getting this message on the other side that they aren’t, they’re not worthy, they’re not good enough, they’re, like I said, unspeakable. And so, you know, this mixed message, it makes it very hard for us as clinicians to support these young people. So what I see coming in is a lot of fear. You know, what right could I potentially lose next? You know, terror. If I can’t use the bathroom of my gender identity, what violence might be waiting for me if I go into the quote unquote, the “wrong” bathroom? You know, depression, sadness, significant hopelessness. You know, fear that not only is this not going to improve, but it’s going to get considerably worse. Am I not going to be able to marry the partner of my choosing? Am I not going to be able to adopt if I’d like to? So, you know, there’s a multitude of negative emotions that are coming through, and, you know, it’s scary as clinician often to see.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And one of the things that at least in a ostensibly representative government–and unfortunately when you look at the kind of policies that are being passed, it’s quite clear that we have this rising minoritarian-ism that is threatening the very heart of the question of representation–but one of the things about democratic government is that in theory, the laws and policies that are passed are supposed to be representative of the communities in which you live. This is how, you know, majority is supposed to rule, but with the sustaining of minority rights–although that’s falling apart entirely. The thing that happens, though, is that when laws and policies get passed, there is an implicit condoning of a certain kind of behavior. When government itself takes it upon itself to belittle, exclude, and bully a group of people, it’s sending a message to everybody else who lives in those societies. And I want to ask, you know, how is, how are these policies being processed at the school level? Have we seen an uptick in the kind of bullying or the kind of discrimination at the individual level because of these policies?

 

Heather Zayde: I think one of the major fears that I have is that schools are you know, they don’t want to get sued. They don’t want to go through that. They don’t want to lose money. And so the fear is that some programs that might be helpful for LGBT teens might be cut because, you know, perhaps, and, you know, often these bills are so broadly written that, you know, the most conservative stance, you know, can say, Okay, you know, I don’t like the idea that X, Y, Z is being spoken about and so I have a right to sue. And as a result, I think schools can have a reaction of, Okay, so we’re not going to do these programs because we’re afraid of what might come of it. I think also when parents and other students, you know, hear it’s okay to request that these people be silenced at school, the school says it’s okay and the government says it’s okay, I certainly think it’s okay. You know, I can, I think it’s okay to, you know, speak in a discriminatory manner. They say it’s good, you know? So it can give sort of permission to mistreat people.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And one of the consequences of this is, you talked about Heather, is this this sort of freezing up, right? Which is to say that these laws are almost explicitly written to be nonspecific. It doesn’t really quite say what you can’t say, it just says generally there are these things that you can be held accountable to saying. And that’s left up to the interpretation of, we’ll just say, the most angry, most hateful member of the school community to then enforce. And the idea here is that by not specifying exactly what’s being proscribed by the law, then people are going to interpret it as extreme as possible because they know that that interpretation then gets left to the courts for an interpretation. And you talked a little bit about the kinds of programs that go unfunded and un-operationalize because of that. You talked about the kind of permission structure that it builds up for. But what have we heard from, you know, LGBT teachers or administrators in schools that are being targeted, like, you know, the situation in Florida with the Don’t Say Gay law that was recently signed into law by DeSantis?

 

Heather Zayde: Well, I think there are so many teachers and administrators that I know that would really like to speak out, but Florida has sort of created a gag order, you know? They’re unable to. And, you know, people are afraid for their jobs. And I think one of the really sad things about this is that for many LGBTQ+ teens, the first supporters that they have is people in school–so teachers, other students, perhaps guidance counselors–and when this school staff is silenced from A, actively supporting them and B, speaking out against things that don’t support them, you know, we’re losing a tremendous support within the community. So I think that, you know, people who work in Florida schools are trying to do the best that they can, but unfortunately, this law has this detrimental effect of quieting the classroom, and also quieting them from speaking out outside of the classroom.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And, you know, we think of this as a law that was passed in Florida, right? But but the the reverberations are way bigger than just one state. In the community that you that you treat, has this come up with your patients?

 

Heather Zayde: Yeah. I mean, so I think that the bill in Florida got a tremendous amount of press and so people are mostly speaking about that. If I may for a second, I’d like to just go through some other laws that have, you know, either been introduced or now passed. So the bill in Florida, you know, Parental Rights in Education, or Don’t Say Gay, almost the exactly same one is in the legislature in Louisiana. There is one in Oklahoma that prevents people from using the bathroom that responds to their gender identity. There is one in South Carolina that permits health care providers to refuse gender-affirming treatment that, quote, “violates the practitioner’s conscience.” So, you know, if we’re looking for broad language, that’s a really big example. There’s one in Missouri and Tennessee that doesn’t allow students to play on the sports teams that correspond to their gender identity. Another in Louisiana–oh, I’m sorry–one in Alabama that was signed by the governor last month stating that, quote, “all practices to alter or affirm a minor’s sexual identity or perception not be withheld from parents.” And this is extremely dangerous, you know? So if we have a kid that, you know, is coming into the classroom or perhaps the doctor’s office and is presenting and the gender identity that they feel comfortable with, but they cannot perform that gender identity at home because it’s not safe there, suddenly we’ve created an unsafe home environment. And as we know, the issue with homelessness is a whopping one among LGBT youth. So when we see laws enacted like this, not only are we contributing to negative mental health effects, but also an uptick in LGBT homelessness. And those are very scary numbers.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: As we think about where we go from here in this particular moment, what are members of the community doing to push back, to organize against this, to take back some of the narrative about the impact that this has on real people in real communities?

 

Heather Zayde: So, you know, I’m still very hopeful, even though, you know, all this is happening, because we’re seeing action, a lot of action on so many levels. You know, when I see footage of teenagers and youths in Florida staging walkouts, doing the protests, you know, shouting, “We say gay” at the top of their lungs, it gives me hope. These bills are horrible, but they’ve really they’ve woken a sleeping giant. So, you know, these students are speaking out, doing a beautiful job of doing so. There’s gay rights groups that are also speaking out, and, you know, Equality Florida, in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, are suing the state of Florida on the basis that this bill violates free speech and equal protection and due process. Florida teachers, like I said, are speaking out to the best of their ability. And there’s a huge push by activist groups also to get out there for every single election possible and vote out homophobic politicians. So I have a big list of things that we can do as allies to help here. Being extremely attentive to your politicians’ views on these bills and LGBT rights as well is going to be really number one there.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: From folks who are not part of the community but want to be effective allies, what are those things that we ought to be doing?

 

Heather Zayde: So I’m speaking out as far and wide as you can. So, I tell people on a micro-level, you know, among your family, among your friends, become aware of these bills if they aren’t so that they can also become active in fighting against it. And then also speaking out on the macro level, reaching out to your local and also federal politicians and letting them know your views on such bills. Clearly stand out as an ally by confronting language and behaviors that you see as discriminatory. Being politically engaged and making sure that the people that you vote for do not support this bigoted legislation. Use and respect gender pronouns, so introducing yourself and stating your preferred pronouns help other people feel safe doing the same. So I might say my name is Heather Zayde, my pronouns are she and her. You know, it might seem obvious to some people that those might be my pronouns, but it’s not obvious for everyone. But me saying that invites other people to be able to feel more comfortable sharing their own. Educating yourself on LGBT+ issues and staying updated on the challenges in the community. And it’s pretty easy to do just by watching the news, but like I said, there are some bills like the Florida bill that really well covered, and some aren’t. So making sure that you stay aware of the bills that aren’t as portrayed in the media as others. You can contact your local LGBT groups to see what they’re doing to help LGBT youth in teams and seeing if you can volunteer time, or if you don’t have time, leave a donation. And I think most importantly, reminding the young people in your life that you are fighting for them, and they are not alone in this. I think that when allies that are outside of the LGBT community really make it known that they are supportive, that speaks to young people, and I think that can really actively fight against the negative things that they’re hearing from the other side.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about the mental health of LGBT folks, what is it that we’re missing? Like, what aspect of the conversation isn’t being covered that you really wish people just understood?

 

Heather Zayde: I think, you know, people just want to be accepted for who they are. So doing your best to understand who a person is based on who they are, not about, maybe what your assumption is about who they are, an assumption based on what others might look like. You know, what we really want to do is ask more questions. You know, ask, What pronouns make you feel most comfortable, how does it feel when I talk about this, what can I do to support you? Listening more than speaking sometimes. And just being present, being present in the person’s life, and knowing that they can come to you when they need support and care, is going to give so much to that individual and in turn, the community.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: We’ll be back with more with Heather Zayde after this break.

 

[ad break]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: If you could sit down with Ron DeSantis or any legislator or governor who is trying to advance these kinds of laws, what would you share with them?

 

Heather Zayde: What I wouldn’t give to sit down with Ron DeSantis. So there’s a few things I would say. Number one, talking about LGBT people and communities and identities does not turn a person gay. Number two, it’s never too early to talk about these identities. You know, there is one study that says that 40% of gay men knew that they were gay before the age of ten. So when DeSantis says it’s not quote “age appropriate” between kindergarten and third grade, I say wrong. That’s not true. Some of my patients have known that they were gay or trans by the age of five. And that this culture of silence, you know, you’re doing the exact opposite of what you want to do, because what’s really happening is the whole world is talking about, you know, this case and how wrong it is, so while you might be attempting to silence the classroom, you have so many people now speaking out against you, Governor DeSantis, this bill, so your attempt at silence is a massive failure.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And then, you know, we’re in June, which is Pride Month. And, you know, this is a moment where you think about the history of anti-LGBT repression and the way that the community rose up against that. And, you know, as a student of the HIV-AIDS movement, it was a disease that was largely neglected because it was seen as a disease of gay men. And it was a movement of gay folks who stood up and said, Not only are you going to accept us, but you are going to take this disease seriously, you’re going to invest time, energy and funds to understand it and to provide treatment. And, you know, in so many ways, it’s not just the folks who have HIV in America that have benefited from that, but really it’s the global HIV community that has benefited from that. In this moment, as you reflect on where we are and where the struggle for equality and freedom are, what gives you hope in this moment?

 

Heather Zayde: So, looking at the trajectory of, you know, gay rights in this country and, you know, how we’ve moved forward, looking at the activists of the past, the Marsha P. Johnson’s, the Edie Windsor’s, the fight that they had to go through in order to get us where we are, knowing that now it’s our turn to fight, to keep moving forward for our young people. I once heard Barack Obama speak and he said, you know, When you get scared, look at the trajectory of this country, how things have improved. And yes, things have slowed down, sometimes it’s gone backwards, but when we look at where we started versus where we are now, I have a lot of hope for where we’re going, and especially when I see the activism of the youth in our country today, I have a lot of hope for the future that things are going to continue to improve.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Well, Heather, we really deeply appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us, to teach us, to share your experiences, and to talk to us about where where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. That was Heather Zayde. She is a mental health practitioner in Brooklyn, New York, and she joined us to talk a bit about the effects of anti-LGBT stigma and bullying and and what we can do to face it on, and overcome it. We really appreciate your time and your work and your activism.

 

Heather Zayde: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It’s really great to be here.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: As usual, here’s what I’m watching right now: thankfully, for the first time since April, the average nationwide number of COVID cases appears to be falling. That said, two new Omicron sub-variants BA4 and BA5, which caused another surge in South Africa, are circulating across the U.S.. It brings the total number of sub-variants actively circulating to five. While the fall in cases is definitely a good thing, this raises questions about the long-term future of the pandemic. If five sub-variants each evolved from being able to evade the immune response to the last one can co-occur simultaneously, what does it say about the state of our overall immunity? The high probability is that our general immunity will build up slowly, with sporadic cases continuing to break through over time. This makes sense considering that a large proportion of common colds are caused by coronaviruses, and we keep getting colds throughout our lives because there are an ever changing number of consistently evolving common cold viruses. At best, we can hope that SARS-CoV-2 fades into the background as just another genre of that. At worst, though, it can remain far more virulent, causing far worse disease. In that respect, a new analysis from the consumer rights organization Public Citizen issued a new report that showed that COVID variants have killed nearly as many people as the original wild type variant. And remember, most of the variants occurred after we had learned far more about how to prevent infections, how to care for COVID-infected patients, and we developed vaccines. So, far from fading, COVID variants remain dangerous.

 

Just last week, social media was abuzz with videos of Shanghai residents breaking out of their quarantines after nearly two months effectively in captivity, the consequence of China’s zero-COVID policies. Since, Shanghai, residents have struggled to leave the city for fear of yet another lockdown. The train stations are packed and some are making treks to less crowded places by foot.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And if you live in Southern California, like most of my Crooked Media colleagues, you’re now living under water restrictions to address the state’s worsening drought. According to the US Drought Monitor, more than 97% of the state is under severe drought right now. The restrictions right now focus on limiting the watering of lawns, but authorities have also advised against baths and long showers. Now, why am I covering this? Because it’s a reminder of the impacts of climate change on human welfare. Sure, a brown lawn may not be a big deal, but when your waterways are at 20% capacity, the downstream–no pun intended–implications, could be.

 

That’s it for today. One more thing before I go: I’ve got a special announcement, I’ve got a new YouTube channel I need you to check out. I break down the issues of the day in 5 to 10 minute explainers. If you like my monologues at the top of the show, you’ll love this channel. Go to YouTube.com/Abdulelsayed. That’s YouTube.com slash a b d u l e l s a y e d. And don’t forget to like and subscribe and tell your friends.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: American Dissected is as a product of Crooked Media. Our producer is Austin Fisher. Our associate producer is Tara Terpstra. Veronica Simonetti mixes and masters of show. Production support from Ari Schwartz, and the theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa and Alex Sugiura. Our executive producers are Sarah Geismer, Sandy Girard, Michael Martinez, and me, Abdul El-Sayed, your host. Thanks for listening.