Thursday, December 22, 2016

LGBT Articles

Slate has a series of LGBT articles and two of those piqued my interest.
Don’t Have Time, Don’t Want To: Why Lesbians Don’t Participate in Health-Care Studies—and Why That’s a Problem
By Marybec Griffin-Tomas
December 21, 2016

On June 5, 2016, New York University’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies launched a study into how lesbians between the ages of 18 and 29 access health care.* We figured that we would have no problem surveying 200 lesbians during Pride month—after all, we could recruit at the Dyke March and at the city’s massive Pride parade. We were even offering $5 in cash to anyone who would complete a survey at several of the season’s outdoor festivals. Besides, we had easily recruited around 800 gay men for a parallel study. So simple, we thought. So wrong we were.
What they think is the reason they can’t find any lesbian for their research,
Even superqueer New York City has a lack of explicitly lesbian spaces, though the same isn’t true for gay male venues. We could only recruit at four lesbian bars, while we had more than 30 gay men’s bars to choose from. This meant we were going to the same places over and over in search of study participants—the same places where we’d failed to sign anyone up the week before. The disappearance of lesbian bars isn’t unique to New York City, of course; lesbian bars are closing all across America, but if there are only four lesbian bars in a city of 8 million, just imagine the challenges we would have faced in a smaller metropolis.
The scientific community hasn’t conditioned lesbians to participate in research in the way it has gay men. A PubMed search of the scientific literature from the past 10 years found 135,266 health articles on women, 882 of which were about lesbian health. That’s less than 0.7 percent of the scientific literature. Compare that with a similar search of men’s health articles—66,306 total articles with 1,401 on gay men’s health, or 2.1 percent of the scientific literature.
We found the same problems with trans people, not only is there a lack of research with the trans community but also we are hard to find because we are such a diverse community. Many trans people do not go to gay bars and there are fewer social spots where trans people gather.

When we were doing a pilot study on HIV/AIDS in the Hartford area we had a hard time getting a diverse trans population. We went to gay bars and support groups looking for trans people to take the survey but a lot of trans people do not visit places like those. We also reached out to community health services for people to take the survey.

Also the CDC considered us “men” so they categorize us as Men having Sex with Men” (MSM).

I think all research should include in their demographic questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, it will only three questions and they can gather so much more information about the LGBT community.

The other article that caught my attention was about married couples with one spouse a trans man.
Staying Married Through a Gender Transition
By Evan Urquha
December 21, 2016

Six years ago, Cassie and I met and began dating as lesbians. At the time, I didn’t know I was transgender. Then about two years ago, just nine months after we were married, I told her I thought I might want to transition and live as a man. It’s hard to overstate how difficult this was for us at first, but we stuck with one another and managed to preserve our marriage. I spoke with Cassie about staying together, and about being a lesbian (or maybe not) in a relationship with a trans man.
When you first told me, I was surprised by how angry I was. I mean, you weren’t my first experience with a trans person. I’ve had a number of friends come out, and it’s never been hard to adjust. Plus, I was in the queer dorm at UMass, and many of the kids I lived with were trans. I always figured I was well prepared for the possibility of a romantic partner coming out. I didn’t know what I’d do, exactly, but I didn’t think I’d be angry. But when you told me, I don’t know … We were trying to get me pregnant at the time, and all I could think was that you were fucking up my adorable little lesbian life.
Part of the feels it seems to me is the loss of the partner’s lesbian identity because now they are seen as a straight couple.
Sometimes I see myself as a lesbian, and sometimes I don’t. Part of me thinks it’s wrong to consider myself a lesbian because if I do, and I remain in a relationship with a trans guy, or even admit attraction, on a certain level, to any other trans guys, I’m effectively invalidating their gender. That said, coming out to myself was such an important thing for me. It made so much about myself make sense, not just who I was attracted to but my personality and how I interacted with the world. It made me so much happier. I don’t want to let that go.

And then the big question…
This reminds me, we’ve been talking about trans men, but what about trans women? Are you attracted to trans women? Have you ever been with a trans woman? Do you think you can be with trans women and still be a “real lesbian”?

Yeah, I’ve been attracted to and been with trans women. I know it’s a point of contention for some people, but I think that’s silly. At least for me, if I’m hanging out, flirting, feeling attraction and chemistry with someone, then there’s a good chance I’m going to enjoy having sex with that person if I get the chance. I guess if you’re only attracted to genitals, that could be more limiting, depending on the specifics, but I feel like you’re probably having pretty boring sex. Maybe I’m wrong, and to each their own, but it’s not an issue for me. And I kind of suspect it would be less of an issue for other people than they think, but they just don’t want to think about it.
Being trans is hard not only for us but also for those that love us.

The straight couple is now perceived as a lesbian or gay couple and the gay or lesbian couple is now perceived as a straight couple. Both results in being excluded from the space they occupied before, a lesbian or gay couple becomes less welcome in lesbian or gay spaces and a straight couple now is less welcome in a straight space.

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