Some of the issues they face include: They also have higher rates of obesity, smoking and unsafe alcohol and drug use, and are more likely to self-harm. This is likely to account for the higher levels of some cancers in these groups. Equity and legal rights for gay men and lesbians Part of the reason gay and lesbian people experience marginalisation is that federal, state and territory laws do not offer gay and lesbian people uniform protection against all forms of discrimination. They may express this fear in a variety of ways ranging from subtle discrimination to overt violence.
Health professionals, particularly in rural areas, may be inadequately informed about gay and lesbian health issues. Gay and lesbian people do not need special medical treatment, but they do need treatment that is fair and appropriate. Prior to these changes, Victorian laws governing such factors as property rights and stamp duty were applicable only to heterosexual couples. Sexuality and violence A study of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender GLBT Victorians found that nearly one in seven reported living in fear of homophobic violence. The constant pressure of dealing with this uncertainty has an impact on health. Gay men, lesbians and health professionals Research suggests that gay men and lesbians have reduced access to medical care compared to heterosexuals. The constant pressure of dealing with the homophobia of others makes depression, among other mental health problems, relatively common. Australian society generally regards heterosexuality as the most acceptable sexual orientation, which means that gay men, lesbians and bisexual people may be marginalised and discriminated against. While gay and lesbian people are as diverse as the rest of the population, their shared experience of discrimination creates common health issues. Heterosexism is the belief that everyone is, or should be, heterosexual and that other forms of sexuality are unacceptable. Victorian gay and lesbian reforms Legal recognition and protection of rights is a powerful step towards improving the health and wellbeing of gay and lesbian people. A study of young Australians found that 61 per cent had suffered verbal abuse because of their sexuality, 18 per cent suffered physical assault and 69 per cent suffered other forms of homophobia such as exclusion rumours and graffiti. The problem does not lie with GLBTI individuals, but with the attitudes and behaviour of the society around them. In eighty-five per cent of cases, violence and harassment were preceded or accompanied by homophobic language. For example, it may mean that the form you fill in at a medical service may have no place to record that your nominated next of kin is a same sex partner. Reduced access to services leads to reduced levels of screening in gay and lesbian populations. Transgender and intersex people may also experience marginalisation and discrimination in relation to their health and wellbeing. Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria was established in and is funded by the government to provide training for health care providers, produce health resources and maintain a clearinghouse of health information for gay and lesbian people. Research suggests that gay men and lesbians have reduced access to medical care because of their fear of discrimination. Some of the issues they face include: This is likely to account for the higher levels of some cancers in these groups. They can be accessed on the Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria website. If you are a young gay person, you may not be permitted to take a same sex partner to the school formal. This fear was justified in that nearly 85 per cent of respondents had been subjected to some form of homophobic violence or harassment in their lifetimes and one in two had experienced homophobic harassment or other non-physical abuse in the past two years. This may make them less inclined to seek medical help, or they may wait longer before they seek help. They may express this fear in a variety of ways ranging from subtle discrimination to overt violence. Gay men and lesbians may be reluctant to have their sexuality recorded in their histories due to the fear that others may gain access to their records.
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