Sunday, July 08, 2018

It Is Not Just Us Under Fire

We have a lot of company including our gay brothers and sisters from the conservatives.
Why LGBT rights are under threat—and what to do about it
An interview with Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations
The Economist
July 2, 2018

In recent years the progress in securing equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people in the West has seemed on an upward trajectory. Two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from just over a third in 2001. Attitudes have also changed in much of Europe, where same-sex marriage is mostly legal, and in Australia, where same-sex unions were legalised last year.

Yet in much of the world, far more needs to be done. Even in America, activists worry that under Donald Trump’s administration hard-fought victories may be undermined. The Economist spoke with Fabrice Houdart, the Human Rights Officer at the United Nations, about the global challenges to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

The Economist: Are LGBT rights going backwards in the world today?
Fabrice Houdart: We are witnessing a proliferation of hate speech and human-rights abuses globally. This backsliding on human rights is not limited to that of LGBT people--but they experience it disproportionately. The steady advances that we have witnessed over the past few years in most parts of the globe have led to greater visibility of lesbian, gay and transgender people in places where they were previously relegated to the shadows.

Today, in almost every country you will find an LGBT grassroots movement. But increasingly LGBT people are used as pawns for political gain around issues of family and tradition. We have achieved some success in the struggle for LGBT equality in certain countries; but in other parts of the world progress will be harder.
We the U.S. used to be the leaders of the LGBT human rights movement, now we are the world leader in LGBT rights oppression. The Fascists and Republicans have found political and financial gain in oppressing minorities.
The Economist: You have spoken out about how homophobia and transphobia hurt the poor the most. Can you expand upon this?
Mr Houdart: When I first went to India in 2012 at the request of the World Bank to assess the links between poverty, sexual orientation and gender identity, I was struck by how the gay elite seemed to be attached to the status quo. They were not keen to see a public debate on sexual orientation take place. The reality is that money or social status create opportunities for one to isolate oneself from homophobia and transphobia. There is growing evidence that the burden of homophobia is harsher and heavier on the poor.

In India, for example, the poor rely heavily on community safety nets and girls tend to have very little control over their life choices, so fully living one’s sexual orientation is not an option. In 2016 I met a gay man from the slums in Mumbai who explained to me that once he was outed, he had no choice but to remain in the family dwelling exposed daily to the homophobia and violence from family members and neighbours. Leaving, he told me, meant losing all community safety-nets--and could have led to him ultimately dying homeless and abandoned on the streets.
Just like in the straight community, those who can afford to flee poverty, war, and oppression do so while the neediest are left behind.
The Economist: Where is tolerance being eroded? How can individuals and businesses make the case for it more clearly?
Mr Houdart: Conversations remain key. Recently, in New York, I went to a training of new recruits on lesbian, gay and transgender issues at the NYPD Police Academy in Queens, which featured gay and trans officers telling their stories candidly and responding to all kind of questions from recruits. It was very powerful and engaging. That same evening, I went to a well-attended diversity and inclusion event at Microsoft’s New York offices in which staff members shared their views on what being an “ally” meant.

Businesses and individuals should keep these discussions going--even in hostile environments. That is why laws against so-called “gay propaganda” frustrate social change because they ban these conversations.
Just like Harvey Milk said all those years ago, being visible is the key.

We need to control the message and not let those who hate us define us.

Another place of concern is our aging LGBT population, we fought to be out of the closet but as we age many of us are going back into the closet.
LGBT Organizations Focused on Reducing Healthcare Stigma in Aging Adults
The Medical Bag
By Lauren Biscaldi, Editor
July 05, 2018

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community regularly face health disparities because of violence, stigma, and discrimination. Researchers at Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study1 have set out to examine the consequences of those disparities with the help of the LGBT+ National Aging Research Center.

The federally funded project follows 2450 LGBT adults age 50 to more than 100 years. Approximately 13% of older LGBT adults report experiencing healthcare denial or receiving poor health care because of sexual or gender identity. Of transgender adults, 40% experienced the same treatment.

“We've found a constellation of high-risk factors, including a history of victimization and not getting access to the services they need,” said Karen I. Fredriksen Goldsen, PhD, principal National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study investigator and professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work.2 “Not everyone is experiencing poor health,” she added. “In fact, most are doing very well. But we wanted to understand the poor health outcomes in this community.”
Lisa Krinsky, MSW, director of the LGBT Aging Project at The Fenway Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, shared some of the work the Institute is doing to treat the LGBT community, citing a recently launched video conferencing pilot program being used to reduce social isolation among LGBT adults. Additionally, The Fenway Institute is working to address the health of LGBT people with HIV in older age. “We still think of it as a young person's disease,” she said, noting that as a result of the overall success of antiretroviral therapies, people with HIV are living longer. Currently, adults 50 years and older account for 45% of the population living with diagnosed HIV.
I know of a number of hospitals in Connecticut are starting to recognize the disparities in healthcare provided to us and are trying to rectify the inequalities but we still have a long way to go. 

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