In a medical setting, it is often difficult for Gay people to feel safe and comfortable. Gay discrimination from professionals stigmatizes us in these settings due to fear based on the misconception that Gay sex equals HIV transmission. ManyGay men face verbal abuse from healthcare providers and physical assault from other patients who share these misconceptions.
The same issue occurs with Gay women within this setting, too. They receive both negative treatment and discrimination from their caretakers because of their sexuality. It’s time we stop this cycle of violence.
Basic Rights We Are Denied
Let’s start with the most basic of rights stripped away from us. In America and many other countries around the world, we cannot donate blood.
In this blog post, I will discuss how we can stop gay discrimination through education about HIV prevention. This breaks down stereotypes associated with being Gay or LGBT+. It will help you understand repression and confront it.
The stigma comes from the fear of spreading HIV and aids. However, it does not matter who donates blood. Doctors check blood in all cases to make sure it is safe. Here is the full list of tests doctors do on blood before a transfusion.
The stringent rules applied to our Community specifically oppress us by excluding us from donating blood. They give us aspecific label which further puts a target on our back for discrimination. The label is MSM (men who have sex with men).
The next type of discrimination we face is a social stigma in hospitals, schools, and other government areas. Take note that not all doctors or hospitals treat us this way. Still, it happens with enough frequency that it caused the UK’s parliament to launch an ongoing inquiry into mistreatment amongst lgbtq+ individuals. Here are some interesting facts about our overall health, the services we receive, and their effects on our Community.
The mental effects of gay discrimination
- Over half of the LGBTQ community has experienced depression in the last year.
- Sixty-one percent of our community members have experienced anxiety.
- Nearly one in four members of our Community heard shocking remarks about them in a healthcare setting.
The effects of gay discrimination our health and well-being and our personal lives in the process.
How does Gay discrimination affect our personal lives?
It affects our jobs. In some places, people fire us for being gay. In areas where this is not a legal action, the cause is usually specified as something other than your sexuality. This puts salt in the wound and further affects our mental health.
Gay discrimination affects our access to medical help. Doctors don’t see us as a priority. So we often spend more time trying to schedule appointments. If this were not bad enough, you have internal labels assigned to you that identify you as an LGBTQ individual once you can get an appointment.
It affects our access to healthcare coverage. Gay men, in particular, struggle with this because many of us lack the necessary reproductive organs that would allow them to obtain full coverage through insurance companies or public aid programs like Medicaid. Any pre-existing conditions can also exclude us from receiving quality treatment and care.
Lack of education in our lifestyle affects our youth which means they are not looking for long-term stable relationships that reduce the transmission of life-taking diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
All of these make us feel uncomfortable and less likely for us to be open about our sexuality. This can increase our stress levels, limit social networks that help us feel accepted, and negatively affect every facet of our health.
An Inclusive Solution
We need to require schools to teach inclusive sex education. Because we don’t teach it we can see rising HIV rates amongst LGBTQ youth. By introducing this in our schools, we can protect our youth and reduce the stigma attached to being gay and living a gay lifestyle.
Hospitals and other government entities worldwide need extensive training and an insight into the gay lifestyle through a fresh, up-to-date perspective. This type of training can include understanding the different sectors within our Community and appropriately respecting our boundaries by resolving misconceptions about our lifestyles.
Resources for Inclusive Medical Professionals
These issues are not going away, and they are adding fuel to the fire of oppression that we face daily for being ourselves. We must stop allowing people to treat us this way by choosing allies who support us instead of discriminate against us.
If you are in the USA, you can use GLMA’s online Provider Directory.
If you are in the UK, you can refer to the Terrence Higgins Trust for finding doctors and dentists that will not look at you in a negative light or label you internally.
I hope these resources can help you understand the need for inclusive medical professionals and provide you with the information you need to find a doctor that’s right for you and your health. I hope you use them to find doctors that treat you like a person and understand you. Get involved by becoming an activist.
Stay safe and as always, have a gay day!