Invisibility outside the closet: health as a right for all

Doctor Health

(Zach Vessels, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Lesley Roks, a third year student of medicine working as LVPI in IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


When searching for the word “health” the definition given by the World Health Organization’s quickly find: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of an illness or disease”. From this, as a Brazilian medical student, I come to question, what’s really, the reason that leads to the persistence of the discussion about whether or not it’s possible to deliver dignified health care without discrimination to the public LGBTQI+?!

I consider the debate on national health policies for the entire population to be extremely relevant, since there was a very concrete medical-scientific appropriation of sexuality, which served to make it possible to be formatted and framed for the benefit of some conservative interests. In this way, sexuality, especially in the medical field, has always been the object of violence, being associated with a pseudo-care that served as a cover-up discourse of such aggression.

It was only in 1973 that homosexuality was removed from the category of mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association. This withdrawal came from social movements that questioned these pathological discourses and fought for more civil rights. This period’s marked by the incidence of HIV/AIDS and with this we can note the current reflection of the attempt to disassociate the disease with homosexuality, since there’re difficulties related to the national policy in seeing other needs than not only STIs (Sexually transmitted infections). When comparing care booklets for the elderly, woman or child, one can note the wide range of issues discussed and the concern with numerous spheres of this public, which then makes the LGBTQI+ community restricted to only one?!

Undoubtedly, the social determination of the health-disease process’s related to the social exclusion generated, in principle, by unemployment, lack of access to housing and food. Regarding the LGBT population, it’s worth mentioning that, often above all human limitations, forms of oppression derived from homophobia should be considered coercions that interfere substantially and directly quality of life and health.

As a result, another point to address this new view regarding the negligence of a minority’s health’s related to the attempt to maintain the path of the struggle for not pathologizing something that’s innate to the human being: the expression of his sexuality. After all, in rejecting a person, disrespect’s allowed with a natural right to every individual: life.

Thus, the failure of the process of humanization can be perceived, culminating in the ignorance of a society that forgets its composition made by diversities and differences. It should be stressed that tackling all forms of discrimination and social exclusion implies promoting social democracy and it requires raising awareness about the right to health and sexual rights as a fundamental component of health. Only with the realization that an inversion of values’s necessary with regard to the pursuit of individual rights being treated as common sense, the world would no longer have such obvious questions that they wouldn’t deserve to go through the sieve of the discussion as it still has today, right?!

About the author

Lesley Roks is a third year student of medicine working as LVPI in IFMSA Brazil
UniCesumar. Skills: responsibility, organization, pro activity, and good interpersonal
relationships and group work, all developed and improved with the help of her local
committee. She is part of two academic leagues: pediatrics and infectology. She has
been very active in college in relation to participation in campaigns, student events
and scientific projects, especially when there’s the involvement of IFMSA Brazil
UniCesumar, which she has participated in since her first year and intends, in the next
years, to grow even more with it to act nationally.

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