Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Administration and Policy

By Wallace Swan | Go to book overview

9

A Survey of Gay and Lesbian Health Issues

Sid Guthrie

Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.


I.

INTRODUCTION

No community can thrive and prosper without considerable attention paid to the health of its members. The gay community will be no exception. Unfortunately, with the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in the middle 1980s, little attention has been focused on other health-related issues that have surfaced in the gay community.

Considerable changes have taken place within the gay community over the last 30 years. These are causing considerable shifts in how we both view health issues as well as determine health-care services needed. More gay and/ or lesbian baby boomers are “out” and as they age will require more healthcare services geared to their unique health needs. It will also change the face of senior services and long-term care. A degree of tolerance along with an abundance of information has helped gay youth identify their sexual preferences much earlier, necessitating the need for development of culturally sensitive preventative health-care programs as they progress through their teen and adult years. Lesbians are no longer settling for women's health services that are geared to predominately heterosexual women. This is most notably seen in the area of breast cancer. Lesbians have and are continuing to expand programs and services to women who have breast cancer. Many of these projects will serve as models for other programs developed for gay women.

By far the two most profound changes that have occurred are the domestic partner-same-sex marriage movement and the growth of gay

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