“There are lesbian women who fear going to the doctor and spend years and years without attending. Doctors say awful things when they see that you don’t meet the classic image of a woman painted and wearing heels, and that’s hard. So, given that rejection, women don’t go to the clinic anymore, ” Isbrailda Ruiz Bell tells SEMlac.
Ruiz Bell is an activist and member of the group of lesbian and bisexual women Las Isabelas, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, 762 km from the capital. According to her experience, stereotypes and prejudices can be found in different medical consultations, but in some there is more abuse.
“The gynecology consultation is a service where lesbian woman are subjected to more abuse. For example, they should ask for consent for students to attend the physical exam, but that does not happen, ”says Ruiz Bell.
Among the main problems are the low perception of risk of sexually transmitted infections, poor self-care and prevention of cervical and breast cancer, as well as depression and anxiety caused by lesbophobic discrimination.
“There are women who have been diagnosed with diseases at very advanced stages because of their fear of being rejected in a medical institution, I tell you from local experience and also because we have seen it in the workshops organized by Las Isabelas,” recalls Ruiz Bell.
The study confirms what the testimonies say: “The vast majority of women express having received a differentiated attention, nuanced by prejudices and stereotypes, attitudes expressed in gestures and a rigid body language, unfriendly and lacking sympathy, which becomes in an obstacle that limits their attendance to specialized health consultations”, the authors subscribe.
“Hay mujeres lesbianas que temen ir al médico y pasan años y años sin atenderse. Los médicos te dicen cosas feas cuando ven que no repites el prototipo clásico de mujer pintada y con tacones, y eso es duro. Entonces, ante ese rechazo, la persona no va más a la consulta”, dice Isbrailda Ruiz Bell a SEMlac.
Ruiz Bell es activista e integrante del colectivo de mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales Las Isabelas, en la provincia Santiago de Cuba, a 762 km de la capital. Según su experiencia, los estereotipos y ofensas pueden encontrarse en distintas consultas médicas, pero en algunas existe mayor maltrato.
“La consulta de ginecología es un servicio donde la mujer lesbiana es más agredida. Por ejemplo, debieran pedir el consentimiento para que estudiantes asistan al examen físico, pero eso no sucede”, afirma Ruiz Bell.
Entre los principales problemas aparecen la baja percepción de riesgo ante las infecciones de transmisión sexual, el escaso autocuidado y prevención del cáncer cérvico uterino y de mama, además de depresión y ansiedad producto de la discriminación lesbofóbica.
“Hay mujeres a quienes se les han descubierto enfermedades en estadios muy avanzados por miedo a ser rechazadas en una institución médica, te lo digo por experiencias cercanas y también porque lo hemos visto en los talleres que organizan Las Isabelas”, recuerda Ruiz Bell.
El estudio confirma lo que los testimonios denuncian: “La gran mayoría de las mujeres expresa haber recibido una atención diferenciada, matizada por prejuicios y estereotipos, actitudes expresadas en gestos y un lenguaje corporal rígido, poco cordial y carente de simpatía, lo cual se convierte en un obstáculo que limita su asistencia a consultas especializadas de salud”, suscriben sus autores.
Continuereading at: https://rotativo.com.mx/2020/01/27/mujer/cuba-mujeres-lesbianas-salud-a-costa-de-prejuicios-821686/ (Source)
BY KELLY COGSWELL
“If we don’t have enough anecdotal evidence proving how trifling we are, it’s there in dollars and cents. Out of 424 million dollars budgeted for international LGBTI issues in 2013-2014, only a measly two percent went toward projects for LBQ (lesbian, bi, queer) women. And out of hundreds of recommendations put forward at the United Nations in recent years, only one addressed specifically lesbian issues.
Those figures come from the first European Lesbian* Conference that took place early this month in Vienna, and they were the proverbial last drop that pushed the organizers into action. (They should crunch the numbers for women’s projects, too, which I suspect are no more eager to embrace lesbian issues than queer NGOs often headed by gay men.)
The two researchers who presented a report to the conference on lesbian lives in Europe discovered that we were almost on par with unicorns when it came to mining data even among countries in the relatively progressive European Union.
This meant that not only were they limited in the conclusions they could draw, but that we would hit a brick wall if we wanted to propose a project on lesbian mental health, for instance, because we wouldn’t have enough figures proving it was needed or to create a model for how it might work. Ditto for projects addressing violence against lesbians. No data. Therefore, no funding. And no action. As a result, almost every researcher at the conference begged the lesbian participants from Iceland to Uzbekistan to get involved collecting data on their own communities.”
Continue reading at: http://gaycitynews.nyc/ustoo-reclaiming-lesbian-vienna/
Roberta Bishop says more talk with health-care providers is needed to ensure LGBT seniors have better experiences in personal care homes, for example. (Trevor Brine/CBC)
Bishop recalled the story of a woman who lost her spouse of 25 years.
The woman didn’t tell her friends in her knitting group that her partner was a female until the shooting at Pulse nightclub happened in Orlando in 2016, Bishop said.
“There’s an assumption that if you get old and you’re widowed, then you’ve lost a man,” Bishop said, explaining why the woman didn’t reveal her partner’s identity sooner.
Continue reading at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/finding-rainbows-summit-winnipeg-1.4391413 (Source)
“Many people talked about how health-care practitioners would not look them in the eye, seemed flustered by them or just generally communicated through body language that they were uncomfortable,” McPhail said.
Continue reading at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/lgbt-lesbian-queer-trans-manitoba-winnipeg-health-care-1.3445825 (Source)
detransitioned, lesbian, just trying to help
“I can’t speak to the response of people who have never transitioned, or again, to detransitioned men, but, I can tell you I’ve never heard a detransitioned woman say we should be using reparative therapy. Most of us did transition due to gender non-conformity, either in whole or in part. A lot of us are lesbians.”
“When I was transitioning nobody in the medical or psychological field ever tried to dissuade me, to offer other options, to really do anything to try and stop me except say I should wait until I’m 18.”
“Detransition is not about re-training ourselves to conform. It’s about accepting our non-conformity as part of our womanhood rather than taking it as a sign that we were meant to be men.”
Continue reading more from cari at: http://guideonragingstars.tumblr.com/ (Source)
Posted in Blogs We Love
Tagged cari, compulsory heterosexuality, detransition, detransitioned lesbian, Discrimination, gender dysphoria, Health and well being, homophobia, Julia Serano, language matters, lesbian detransitioners, lesbian erasure, lesbian voices, Lesbophobia, mental health, trans politics
Being a lesbian can sometimes be an extremely isolating experience. The purpose of this gathering was to combat that by connecting a group of us to each other, and by using our time spent together to support lesbian artists and celebrate lesbian achievements.
Continue reading at: ACTUALIZE: An Intentional Lesbian Gathering | (Source)
‘They grabbed me, held both my arms tight and brought me to a McDonalds near the train station. My father slapped three tickets on the table and said “you’re coming with us to Ivanovo.” That was their ultimatum for me, and it was the first time that I ever disagreed with them in my life.’
Continue reading at: Lesbian escapes Russia by boat and sails to Canada to be with the woman she loves (Source)
Update: This Lesbian Couple Sailed Oceans To Be Together. Their Epic Journey Is Far From Over.
Encounter, an organization that provides, “professional development training in LGBTI issues and culture in Australia,” has announced it’s lineup of speakers for the May 29-30 Encounter Course in Melbourne. According to the organizations website, this introductory course, “covers the ten most common myths surrounding the LGBTI community and sets the record straight by presenting the latest research and lived experience.” The description goes on to say, “we look at the common issues in the LGBTI community, with a special emphasis on the ‘coming out’ journey'”
Unfortunately, this important professional development course will feature no lesbians, as according to their Facebook page, “we have two on our team, but both have had to pull out.”
(This comment has since been removed)
If this series is so, “essential for those working with LGBTI clients, employing LGBTI people or simply those wanting to gain a better understanding of the journey of a person they care for,” why were they unable to find a single lesbian on the east coast of Australia who could share her experience as a lesbian?
Without the “L” represented as the title proclaims, this organization is at the very least being disingenuous and at most, erasing lesbian lived experience and lesbian voice from the community it claims to represent.
After several people voiced concerns that there was no lesbian representation in their course, the Facebook page moderators removed all questions and comments related to this matter.
Source: Encounter the LGBTI Community | Professional development training in LGBTI issues and culture
From the time I was a teenager, I was attracted to women, but it was difficult back then to even think about my sexuality. I was born 71 years ago, when the social and cultural repression around homosexuality was at its peak in the US. As a young adult I had several intense friendships – crushes really – on women, including one that was loving, sensual and addictive. However, the idea that it could ever be sexual didn’t occur to me. My sister remembers me saying, a few years later, that I found relationships with my women friends difficult – the feelings were just that strong. Because I didn’t know what to do with them, there was a lot of internal conflict.
Continue reading at: The best decision I’ve ever made? Coming out at 65 | Opinion | The Guardian (Source)
Lesbians in the news
05/04/2015 – 011/04/2015
Fight Homophobia–Help a Lesbian
Mary Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin (Image source: Curve Magazine)
In an example of an appalling hate crime in 2012, two two young lesbians went on a date but were viciously attacked. Mollie Olgin was killed and Mary Kristene Chapa was left for dead.
Their attacker was arrested in 2014 but was not charged with a hate crime, despite sufficient evidence to justify it.
Despite the horror of the crime, Mary Kristene Chapa’s medical fund has only raised $12,882, compared to the over $800,000 raised for Memories Pizza, the pizzeria that declined to cater same sex weddings.
Horrific anti lesbian crime occur routinely and they are not reported. When they are, this is the level of interest they garner.
This is lesbophobia and silencing writ large.
Please read more about Mollie and Mary in Victoria A Brownworth’s piece and please donate to help Mary Kristene Chapa with her medical expenses.
Violent Crimes against Lesbians:
- There seemed to be surprisingly few violent crimes reported against lesbians this week. Given what we know about crime against women and specifically lesbians, it seems unlikely that the crimes have ceased, and more likely that the crimes are either not reported or the reports are not making it to the mass media. How do we change this and how do we access accurate information about violent crimes against lesbians?
- The first in-depth report into sexual violence against LGT Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge was released. Despite showing horrific levels of sexual violence against gay men and transgender Cambodians, the reporting is silent on the fate of lesbians, despite previous reports showing horrific violence against women under the regime, including reports that most rape victims were women. It seems unlikely that women, gay men and transgender men and women were subjected to sexual violence but that lesbians were somehow spared, but where is the reporting on these crimes?
- In a move aimed at better preventing, understanding and responding to crimes against lesbians and bisexual women, a three year study will be undertaken at the University of Buffalo to assess the experience of sexual assault of lesbian and bisexual women compared to heterosexual women. Lesbian and bisexual women seem to experience higher rates of sexual assault and report their assaults at a lower rate, resulting in their needs going unmet and perpetrators not being reported, much less prosecuted.
Conversion therapy and social homophobia:
- The Obama administration has called for an end to conversion therapy for lesbian, gay and transgender children. Conversion therapy for lesbians and gay men has a dark history from elimination of “inversion” to ongoing Christian conversion practices. These practices were and are about enforcing gender conformity and discouraging gender non conformity through the linking of sex and required behaviours and attributes (sex stereotypes), and are primarily aimed at eliminating homosexuality. A concern about any concrete bans on all forms of therapy is that it could inadvertently ban the kind of counselling that children diagnosed as transgender may need given that 75-80% of transgender children go on to be not transgender as adults but predominantly lesbian and gay. These children, in particular, need access to supports that validate gender non conformity and homosexuality in the absence of any broad media representation or social acceptance.
Laws, Politics and Policies:
- Indian LGBTI activists seek the repeal of a reinstated colonial era law which leaves them open to blackmail and abuse.
- Tulsa looks to introduce specific sexuality based protections to ensure the city’s fair housing policy extends to protect lesbians and the rest of the LGBTI community. A recent example demonstrating the need was a married lesbian couple with children who were told that to process their mortgage application, they would have to disavow their relationship.
- Employment discrimination continues to be a problem with proof from that lesbian and gay applicants are less likely to be offered employment. The UK research showed discrimination was ‘commonplace’, augmenting existing knowledge about the wage gap which shows sexuality affects average wages. As reported last week, straight men earn most, with single and then coupled gay men lagging behind them. Women earn least with lesbians only earning more than straight women because they worked longer hours on average. Will measures like President Obama’s recently introduced Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination (for federal contractors) make a difference?
- The Irish National Teachers Association has called for the abolition of Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act, which permits schools to act where teachers are “undermining the religious ethos of the institution”. Irish Equality Minister, Aodhan O Riordain, has undertaken to amend the legislation, citing a constitutional issue with removing it. Ireland faces a referendum on same-sex marriage in May.
- A rally has flooded downtown Springfield Missouri protesting voters choice to repeal LGBTI rights over fears about gay marriage and bathroom access.
- In the absence of a state-wide law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, New Orleans’ mayor comes out against discrimination with his concerns over the pending bill to possibly protect businesses from recognising same sex marriage.
- Demonstrators in Texas have signalled their opposition to the proposed “conscientious objectors bill” which, similar to other laws in America, would permit discrimination on the basis of religious belief.
- In response to moves to protect Indiana’s LGBT population, however limited the moves, New York’s Governor Cuomo has lifted the travel ban to Indiana as have Portland Mayor Charlie Hales plus Connecticut Governor and San Francisco and Oakland mayors. Meanwhile, protests in Indianapolis have criticised the limited nature of the amendments and called for more substantial anti-discrimination measures to be enacted. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 29 states still do not have measures preventing discrimination on the basis of sexuality. While anti-discrimination legislation does not lead to substantive equality, the absence of it is a clear indicator of structural inequality.
- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison declines to improve workplace anti-discrimination measures for lesbian and gay employees despite the amendments to a religious objections bill not specifically prohibiting sexuality based discrimination.
- Two women in Guam who were denied a marriage license are fighting for the right to marry ahead of the US Supreme Court’s hearing on same sex marriage later this year.
- A Colombian lesbian adoption court case highlights the mixed picture for lesbians in Latin America. What is curious is how many of these articles reference same sex marriage as if that is a panacea to the structural oppression, social exclusion and sanctioned abuse and violence lesbians face around the world.
- The Sunshine Coast Rainbow Network have met with the Sunshine Coast council as part of their efforts to lobby for marriage equality, despite marriage laws not being under the control of local government in Australia.
- In Taipei, a lesbian couple was not permitted to join a mass wedding ceremony, despite having been assured same sex couples would be included, with insufficient time to amend regulations blamed.
- Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Canada and first lesbian Premier, says being lesbian makes her feel more responsible: “It is part of who I am and it is important for me to be clear that I have a responsibility because of who I am . . . to make our society safer and more inclusive”.
- Two organisations, NCLR and the National LGBTQ Task Force have removed their names from the Equality Michigan petition calling on the Michfest to include transwomen, without having changed their opinion on inclusion. To a non-American the choice of a single (less than) week-long woman’s music event as the symbol of well being for transwoman seems odd in the context of employment discrimination and abuse.
- Photographic Series “Happy Lesbian Couples” shows, well, happy lesbian couples. Whether you believe this is an argument for marriage equality or not, positive humanising representation in itself is important.
- Japanese celebrity Ayaka Ichinose and her partner hope to raise awareness through publicity following their wedding ceremony, despite the effect on her career.
- Love it or hate it – do we need another (better) L word? Are we better served by individual characters in mainstream television or entire shows about us? Perhaps we need both, and to ensure that they are more broadly representative of our diversity than the narrow range of representation we have seen before? Do we know what good representation looks like?
- On a really trivial front, LGBT emoji have come to iOS but what do they look like? We have identical blondes in pink dresses and women in bunny ears doing synchronised dancing…
- On a more serious note, religious organisations have shifted their positions as a Baptist college has invited married, lesbian bishop to serve as worship leader and a rabbinical group gets first-ever lesbian president. Does this represent progress, albeit slow, in lesbian acceptance in religious circles and what could the broader ramifications of it be?
Social and Health Issues:
- An Australian asylum seeker discusses the additional problems of being a lesbian asylum seeker as neither the refugee community nor the LGBTI community were comfortable with all aspects of her life. This is contrasted with the pending nuptials of two lesbian asylum seekers who fled persecution in Angola.
- In an effort to improve connectivity and prevent isolation for older lesbians, UK charity The Labrys Trust has set up a scheme linking older lesbians with “befrienders”, as well as providing support services. Ideally, as we start to understand the ways in which older lesbians’ needs are not met by aged care industries and/or society in general, we would see a rise in service and support options, but as a marginalised and often invisible group, where does the funding come from? An aged care provider in Melbourne is in the early stages of developing an LGBTI-specific aged care home in recognition of these issues.
- Somewhat hyperbolically, a Florida school has fired a lesbian teacher for her “lifestyle choices”, citing their “Awesome God”. Jaclyn Pfeiffer and Kelly Bardier were fired by the school after being given the option to change their “lifestyle”. While the school is taxpayer-funded, it is exempt from local anti-discrimination ordinances on religious grounds.
- A New York taxi driver who called a lesbian couple “whores” and other misogynist insults and ordered them to stop kissing or leave his taxi has been fined $10,000, given a $$5,000 civil penalty and ordered to undertake anti-discrimination training, in an example of the way in which breaches of “decorum” is used to discriminate on the basis of sexuality.
- Should businesses have the right to refuse service and on what grounds? This lesbian small business owner believes so and donated to the Christian owned pizza shop in Indiana which has faced pressure after saying they would not provide pizza at same sex weddings. Over $800,000 has already been raised for Memories Pizza despite most Americans thinking that businesses should serve lesbian and gay customers. Pizza Lovers for Marriage Equality has raised $5,441 to date.
- A North Dakota mother claims her sexuality was the basis for the custody outcome of shared care of her young child with her ex-husband, although the judge denies being influenced by it. Although the situation has improved since the 60s, lesbian mothers still face difficulties in custody battles including through the use of so-called “morality clauses“.
- After a public outcry, Louisiana Teen Claudetteia Love has been told she may wear a tuxedo to her school prom. Originally the student had been advised that she was not allowed to wear a tuxedo to the prom as part of gendered dress codes that require girls to wear dresses.
- More of a question than an answer as a recent Australian LBQ Health conference asked – How do we improve health outcomes for LBQ women? As this event moves to the national stage and is held annually, we can only hope that women’s health, and lesbian health in particular, is finally given more attention.
- In related news, a recent Australian survey found both increased rates of drug use associated with heightened rates of socially induced anxiety and depression in the LGBT community, with protective benefits coming from increased community engagement. This again raises the question of what a representative community looks like, with lesbians unlikely to gain the health benefits if the community they are engaging with is not representing and respecting their needs. This situation is exacerbated by medical communities and public health campaigns not recognising and addressing lesbian-specific needs. This Indiana billboard is an example of a campaign running counter to the trend and starting to address the heightened rate of smoking in the lesbian community.
- The UK National Union of Teachers has approved motions calling on governments to address bigrotry and discrimination and teach positive representations of same-sex relationships, including in sex education.
- In Japan, same sex wedding ceremonies are gaining greater acceptance, despite the ongoing difficulties same sex couples experience in their daily lives, posing the question of what the link is between broader acceptance and marriage equality…
***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in News
Tagged compulsory heterosexuality, Hate crimes, Health and well being, Lesbians in Angola, Lesbians in Australia, Lesbians in Cambodia, Lesbians in Canada, Lesbians in Colombia, Lesbians in India, Lesbians in Ireland, Lesbians in Japan, Lesbians in Taiwan, Lesbians in the U.K., Lesbians in the U.S., Mary Kristene Chapa, Mollie Olgin, Religious Freedom laws, representation