New LGBTQ Discriminations by HHS

On June 15, 2020, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1

The Trump administration on Friday finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance.

It is one of many rules and regulations put forward by the Trump administration that defines “sex discrimination” as only applying when someone faces discrimination for being female or male, and does not protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The rule focuses on nondiscrimination protections laid out in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. That federal law established that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.” In 2016, an Obama-era rule explained that protections regarding “sex” encompass those based on gender identity, which it defined as “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”

Severino said at the time, “We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex. “Under the new rule, a transgender person could, for example, be refused care for a checkup at a doctor’s office, said Lindsey Dawson, associate director of HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Critics worry about access to health care, especially in a pandemic

Mari Brighe, a freelance writer and transgender woman who lives outside Detroit, called the rule “terrifying.”

“I can relate a decade of stories about getting terrible health care because I’m trans,” Brighe said. “We walk into any given health care situation not knowing whether doctors are going to treat us well, whether we’re going to get high quality care, whether any given, random health care person is going to be terrible to us.”

Once, when seriously ill with the flu and having trouble breathing, Brighe recalled, she was sent home from a hospital in rural New York and ended up driving 90 minutes and crossing a lake by ferry to get treatment at a hospital in Vermont.

She said worries now that the rule could make transgender people — who are already reluctant to seek medical care — all the more likely to avoid coronavirus treatment and testing.

“The way that [the rule] reads to me is that people could refuse to collect your COVID specimen because they don’t want to touch a trans person,” she said. “That’s a recipe for spreading a really terrible pandemic among a really, really vulnerable population.”

“I can’t help but think about how this impacts black trans people,” said Gaynor, the political science professor, who noted that African American transgender people are “arguably the most marginalized group in our country.”

African Americans who get COVID-19 are much more likely to die from that disease than are white Americans, statistics show. A recent report from the Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that hundreds of thousands of transgender adults may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they have an underlying condition, are over 65, lack health insurance or live in poverty.

For black transgender people, Gaynor said, “it’s layers of oppression — it’s transphobia on top of racism on top of economic oppression.” All of that could affect their ability to get health care during the pandemic, she said, which in turn could have public health implications for all.

Katie Keith, a health law professor at Georgetown University, noted that the new rule could have another chilling effect. “Even if no one actually does discriminate more because of the rule, you’ve created a fear,” Keith said.

She pointed to research documenting how the “public charge” rule — which penalizes people who are seeking to become citizens if they use public safety net programs such as nutrition and housing assistance — affected people and programs outside the scope of the rule itself.

“When they target these vulnerable populations, you see less enrollment in health insurance,” she said. “You see folks scared to go to the doctor.”

“I don’t think any reasonable person wants to see transgender people not enrolling in health care plans and not having access to health care,” Anderson said. What’s needed, he said, is a “finer grain” approach to this issue — such as a new law in Congress that protects LGTBQ people from health care discrimination generally but carves out protection for providers to refuse to provide care related to sex reassignment.

NPR June 12, 2020

As you may know, I teach / supervise / graduated from / at Denver Family Institute’s Marriage and Family Therapy program.  Today, I serve as the Board Chair.  DFI is a non-profit, low-fee community counseling clinic and post-graduate couples and family training program that helps mental health clinicians deepen their therapeutic skills through hands-on experiential training.  It is truly a unique community!
I wanted to share that DFI is currently accepting student applications for their MFT program for the Fall 2020 cohort. The deadline to apply is May 15th and DFI will be hosting a Virtual Open House on Friday April 24th from 1-2pm for those interested in learning more about this professional opportunity.
Please spread the word about DFI to anyone you can think of who is considering a career transition or is already in the field but looking to deepen their clinical skills. From my experience, the supervision and coursework at DFI is second to none and perfect for anyone who wants to start seeing clients right away.  Or, if that person is you, let’s meet up virtually and chat about DFI!
Attached is some more information that you can pass along to anyone who you think might be interested. The application and program information can be accessed here:   I would also be more than happy to talk to anyone about my experience at DFI.

Sex During COVID-19

On March 21, 2020, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1

The NYC Health Department may change recommendations as the situation evolves. 3.21.20

Sex and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

All New Yorkers should stay home and minimize contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

But can you have sex?

Here are some tips for how to enjoy sex and to avoid spreading COVID-19.

1. Know how COVID-19 spreads.

    • You can get COVID-19 from a person who has it. o The virus can spread to people who are within about 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 when that person coughs or sneezes.
    • o The virus can spread through direct contact with their saliva or mucus.
    • We still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and sex. o COVID-19 has been found in feces of people who are infected with the virus.
    • o COVID-19 has not yet been found in semen or vaginal fluid.
    • o We know that other coronaviruses do not efficiently transmit through sex.

2. Have sex with people close to you.

  • You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.
  • The next safest partner is someone you live with. Having close contact — including sex — with only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19.
  • You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household. If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible.
  • If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.

3. Take care during sex.

  • Kissing can easily pass COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts.
  • Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread COVID-19. Virus in feces may enter your mouth.
  • Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva or feces, especially during oral or anal sex.
  • Washing up before and after sex is more important than ever. o Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The NYC Health Department may change recommendations as the situation evolves. 3.21.20

    • o Wash sex toys with soap and warm water.
    • o Disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others (for video chat, for watching pornography or for anything else).

4. Skip sex if you or your partner is not feeling well.

  • If you or a partner may have COVID-19, avoid sex and especially kissing.
  • If you start to feel unwell, you may be about to develop symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.
    • If you or your partner has a medical condition that can lead to more severe COVID-19, you may also want to skip sex. o Medical conditions include lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system (for example, having unsuppressed HIV and a low CD4 count).

5. Prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

  • HIV: Condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and having an undetectable viral load all help prevent HIV. For more information, visit and search HIV.
  • Other STIs: Condoms help prevent other STIs. Visit and search STIs.
  • Pregnancy: Make sure you have an effective form of birth control for the coming weeks. Visit and search birth control.

The NYC Health Department may change recommendations as the situation evolves. 3.21.20

For more information about COVID-19, visit

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The 12 year-old child of basketball star Duane Wade came out this week as transgender.  Some would say she came out, however what she really did was to invite the world in.  Zion Wade was born male, and has come to identify as female.  Zion is now known as Zaya and is receiving unconditional love and family support from dad, Duane Wade and step mom, Gabrielle Union.  One of the kindest things we can do is to use Zaya’s preferred pronouns, she/her/hers.  Words matter, pronouns matter.

People don’t choose to be transgender or non-binary. More than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide.  My hope from this post is that we use this as a learning opportunity.  If you only take-away one thing from this post, it may astonish you.  If just one adult is supportive to a transgender or non-binary youth, the suicide rate drops by 40%!  Being kind and supportive does indeed save lives!

Have you ever considered becoming a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist? 

Denver Family Institute (DFI) is one of the leading programs in the country.  Applications for the Fall of 2020 is Now Open!!!!  If you know anyone who might be interested in joining us please have them contact Susan Terkhorn for more information or a tour of DFI.  The first round closes on February 21.



Dr. Joe Kort (December 16, 2019)

“This week I talk all things Kink with my guest, sex therapist Dr. Neil Cannon. Neil has been researching, writing about and treating members of the kink community for nearly fifteen years. He believes kink is nothing to feel any shame about. “In sex therapy all roads lead to shame, but clinicians should be there to help clients create a clear understanding of their sexual desires, without shame, says Neil. ‘We need to give people permission to be themselves sexually – that’s what most people want. To be free…and accepted!'”

30 Minute Podcast

Why do I donate my money and so much time to Denver Family Institute?  Because as the volunteer Board Chair, I know how every penny is spent.  DFI has been helping individuals, families and couples since 1982.   Most of DFI clients desperately need the community mental health services that our student clinicians provide.  When you give to DFI, you are also contributing to the development of the next generation of therapists.  DFI is a 501-c-3 Non-Profit.  DFI provides mental health care to good folks in the Denver community who need low cost mental health services.  (Sliding scale starting at $15 per session).  Every dollar makes a difference.  Please click here and then click on donate.



As you may know, I graduated from Denver Family Institute’s Marriage and Family Therapy program many years ago. I wanted to share that DFI is currently accepting student applications for their MFT program for the Fall 2019 cohort. The deadline to apply is coming soon, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is filled.

Please spread the word about DFI to anyone you can think of who is considering a career transition or is already in the field but looking to deepen their clinical skills. 

The price, flexibility, and structure of this 2-year program is a perfect fit for many working professionals.  The supervision and coursework at DFI is second to none and perfect for anyone who wants to work behind the glass start seeing clients right away.

For more information, feel free to contact me or the Director of Student Services, Susan Terkhorn.



Dr. Emily Nagoski Coming to Denver

On December 22, 2018, in Uncategorized, by drneilcannon1

The Colorado Section for AASECT is very excited for Emily Nagoski’s workshop on Monday, October 7, 2019.  Emily is the author of “Come As You Are.” If you are a therapist of any type, a mental health professional, educator, medical professional, or counselor, you are welcome to attend.  If you click on the link below, you will find all the details and have the ability to buy tickets.  Each participant will receive 6.5 AASECT CE hours.