Why the way of loving closes doors of health?


(Mercedes Mehling, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna C. Nichelatti, a 2nd year medical student at the University of Blumenau (FURB) in Brazil. 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.

Until the near past, in 1973, homosexuality was still present in the American Psychiatric Association’s Handbook of Mental Disorders.  This field of health, for a long time, admitted that the LGBTQI+ were carriers of some disease or deviation from the sexual conduct.

Many of these LGBTQI+ were hospitalized against their will in psychiatric hospitals, where they suffered inhumane treatment, for example: electroshock, cold bath, isolation and medication. Even years after these behaviors were abolished, we still see the unequal access to health because of sexual choice. So, how can we contribute to worthy and non-discriminatory access to health?

In fact, the arrival of the XXI century has brought countless social achievements to the LGBTQI+ community, such as homosexual marriages in many countries, adoption of children, change of sex in documents, among other changes. However, there is a lack of preparation in various sectors of society to provide adequate treatment for this community.

This frequently causes them to have their rights suppressed, including in health. In this sense, some studies indicate that the LGBTQI+ population is resistant to seeking health services or does not reveal their sexual choice, due to the lack of qualification and the prejudice of health professionals to meet this demand. This way, we can cite the female homosexuals that statistically performed fewer cervical cancer and breast cancer screening exams. Therefore, the feeling of inferiority and judgment prevents this population from fully enjoying the most essential rights.

In order to change this reality, many changes must take place in diverse contexts, from the creation of public health policies aimed at this community to the inclusion of LGBTQI+ health in the academic curriculum. An example to be followed is the one launched by the Brazilian government in 2004, “Brazil without Homophobia Program”, in which there is human rights training for professionals and representatives of the LGBT movement, promotion of LGBT self-esteem, denunciation of human rights violations and support to projects that work to promote LGBT citizenship and / or to combat homophobia.

Alongside this, the “National LGBT Comprehensive Health Plan” formulated health proposals specifically aimed at this group, such as: attention to mental health, access to the transsexualization process, stimulation of health actions that respect the differences. But, this is only a small point to change this reality, because for us to reach full equality and universality we must overcome homophobia and heteronormatization.

Therefore, in the proposal to offer a health service free of discrimination and estrangement we must free ourselves from prejudices and respect the uniqueness of each person. With this, the public incentive to promote campaigns and the same public to the LGBTQI+ public becomes essential.

In addition, the health professional must qualify to meet the needs of this population in the best possible way, always with attitudes of humanization and empathy. Finally, when everyone understands that differences are what makes us incredible and not inferior, everything will be lighter and full of freedom.

About the author

Bruna C. Nichelatti is a 2nd year medical student at the University of Blumenau (FURB). She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations. Her aim is to combine graduation with scientific development and philanthropy, forming a doctor who acts on science while not forgetting the love of neighbor.


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