Umm, well, yes and no

All too often, health disparities reinforce stigma and moral judgment rather than prompting us to ask why these differences exist. We ascribe race-related disparities to poverty, drug abuse and genetics. And we blame higher rates of disease among LGBTQ people to promiscuity.

But it’s actually a person’s membership in a stigmatized minority that exposes them over time to disproportionately higher levels of stress related to prejudice, harassment, discrimination, rejection, hostility, sexual assault and hate crimes. That stress leads to worse mental health and, in turn, worse physical health – and more healthcare spending.

Sure, stress and socio economic positioning affect health. So does being buggered 20 times in an afternoon down at the bath house.

Thus there’s a certain distinction to be made over which illnesses and diseases we might be talking about. sickle cell anaemia is pretty much restricted to those with (some) West African heritage (however white they might look as a number of Americans have found out about their family tree). Tay Sachs hugely more common in those of Ashkenazi descent. Lung cancer and heart disease in the poor partly (note, partly!) as a result of greater prevalence of smoking.

And yes, promiscuity does lead to higher STD rates. But it is the promiscuity (HIV is different), not the LGBTQ bit.

That is, it’s necessary to be specific over what we are talking about.

14 comments on “Umm, well, yes and no

  1. “Physicians need to develop greater familiarity with LGBT bodies in a way that affirms and encourages its members to seek regular medical care. “

    Wha..?

  2. it’s necessary to be specific over what we are talking about.

    We’re talking about Waaaaaah!

  3. We ascribe race-related disparities to poverty, drug abuse and genetics.

    Who is this “we” Kemosabe?

    Claiming minorities suffer more stress is a theological statement not a scientific one. Because there is no evidence that minorities are having a stressful time.

  4. I’m losing the acronym race here. LGBT I get, but what the **** is the “Q” ??
    Oh, and yes, it does all sound pretty silly.

  5. The first Q is “Queer”. The second Q, if your acronym of choice has one, is “Questioning”.

    And know, I don’t know (and, frankly, don’t care), how ‘Q’ differs from the sum of ‘L’ and ‘G’. Although I’m sure we all know of somebody who might cock up a Venn diagram for it. For a strictly non-taxable fee, of course.

  6. I can’t keep up, even if wanted to. LBGTQ misses the second T for trans gender or sexual?

    The excellent Van Patten gave me the skinny on the latest acronym du jour here and it contained, from memory, approaching 20 letters or so, although no W, so wombat botherers have obviously not been catered for.

  7. But it’s actually a person’s membership in a stigmatized minority that exposes them over time to disproportionately higher levels of stress related to prejudice, harassment, discrimination, rejection, hostility, sexual assault and hate crimes. That stress leads to worse mental health…

    Alternatively, in some cases, it could be that mental health issues are leading people to adopt these practices which put them in a stigmatized minority category in the first place. I know at least one woman who got into a relationship with another woman mainly for attention-seeking purposes than any genuine homosexual desire, and she had borderline personality disorder written all over her.

  8. Tim Newman – “I know at least one woman who got into a relationship with another woman mainly for attention-seeking purposes than any genuine homosexual desire, and she had borderline personality disorder written all over her.”

    What is Julie Bindel like?

    I know I ride this hobby horse a little too often – mostly to annoy Rusty and BiG – but the interesting one is Black. Why does being Black involve such health risks such as herpes and heart attacks? It can’t be stress at racism because it is not true for all ethnic groups. It also appears to be true, in so far as it is relevant, in Africa where being Black tends not to be stressful.

    You might well think that it has to do with poor grasp of the future or consequences. But I don’t think it is likely. When marriage is weak and matriarchal short-term stupid decisions lead to more children?

  9. ‘We ascribe race-related disparities to poverty, drug abuse and genetics.’

    The soft bigotry of low expectations.

  10. And yes, promiscuity does lead to higher STD rates. But it is the promiscuity (HIV is different), not the LGBTQ bit.

    Technically it is not all the lettuce and bacon salad that is at risk. It is the male parts of it. Gay men are highly sexually active. Lesbians less so. Less so to the point they have tried to re-define “sex” to include things like cuddling so that everyone will stop sneering at the lesbian bed of death.

    This is not hard to understand. Sex is very much a skewed distribution with most people having very low numbers and a few people with very high numbers of partners. Sexually transmitted diseases are spread by highly connected nodes. It is not the people who have had three sexual partners that are the problem. It is the people who have had a thousand this year. If you have a one in ten thousand chance of getting an STI from any one sexual encounter, then obviously having sex with a thousand people this year is a much bigger problem than, say, thirty over the course of a lifetime as with Nick Clegg.

    If we persecuted Gay people we would reduce those numbers there would be no HIV. As seems to be close to the case with the Middle East.

  11. “not all the lettuce and bacon salad”

    You owe me a keyboard. My car’s registration ends with LBT and when signing into bases to remember it I think “lesbian bi trans” but when spelling it out audibly I say “lettuce bacon tomato”.

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