The LGBTQ+ rights have come to the forefront of social movements, more and more people are invested in preaching and teaching the health-related risks in same-sex relationships. Contrary to popular belief, same-sex relationships existed from pre-historic times. With the advent of churches and religious propaganda hovering over media, there was a persistent effort to wipe out gay men from the world. Their existence was locked up successfully and no efforts were put forward to bring them out in the limelight. This has caused a high rate of misinformation all around the world and their needs have been packed away. With the Stonewall incident of 1969, the door was opened to the gay rights movement. What resulted in the death penalty and life imprisonment previously, with the world turning around, now results in same-sex marriage. This why we need to discuss the many other problems that have persisted from the closeted-culture.
See some FAQs about same sex marriage in this article from APA.org.
In the lieu, here are 5 things that gay men should be aware of:
- HIV/ AIDS:The 1920s have been a huge time of distress for the gay movement. During the time of Allen Ginsberg, one of the leading poets of America and an uprising gay personality, there had been a sudden outbreak of AIDS among the gay population. This had further lead to hegemonic hatred towards the gay masses. Even in the 21st century, HIV has been a recurrent threat to the gay population and one of the fatal diseases that are at higher risks of being untreated. This is why doctors suggest safe sex for gay and straight people as it reduces the chances of catching AIDS. Even in today’s world, HIV positive patients are going through a lot of taboo around them every day. We, as a population is misinformed about HIV and this has lead us to not only push gay people but also shut away straight people in their homes.
- Substance abuse:About 1 out of 5 Americans fall into the trap of substance and find themselves in rehabs every two years. This is a culture not only restricted to straight men but also gay men. With gay men and their pressure of closeted culture and a toxic patriarchal regime, they often find relief in substance such as marijuana, cocaine, and meth. It is no doubt that it is highly a cultural problem rather than something to do with sexuality. With high uses of drugs, one’s learning, judgment, ability to adapt, decision-making skills are hugely affected. One of the biggest disadvantages of drugs includes memory loss. A study has proven that a stressed environment paves way towards drugs for all ages of men and women. Gay men surely have a lot on their plate. However, proper counseling and behavioral changes can keep one off drugs surely.
- Depression and anxiety: One of the common problems of 2019 are mental illness. Depression and anxiety can find anyone during their lives but gay men are mostly affected by it. The absence of a close support group and the stress of living in a closeted culture, as society does not allow gay men to exist harmoniously and are undue hate, more and gayer men have fallen into depression and other mental illnesses. This often leads to hate against oneself and ends in committing suicide. This is a problematic culture we live in, even after talking about sexual minority rights. However, this culture could be averted and gay men can fight through it by seeking professional help from a mental health counselor and a doctor. There many pro-LGBTQ+ mental health professionals that readily take up to the cause of helping fellow men live a better life.
- STD or Sexually Transmitted disease: Gay men run a higher risk of catching STDs. Anal penetration allows infection to catch up quick. Syphilis, gonorrhea, pubic lice, chlamydia are some of the sexually transmitted diseases that are prevalent among gay men. As most gay men do not have a specific partner and often indulge in multiple partner sexual act, they are at higher risks of having STDs. The use of condoms is more proactive in straight couples than gay couples. This is why doctors and medical care professionals advice gay men to keep safe sex as an option. Some doctors also advice gay men to get vaccinated to protect themselves against diseases such as hepatitis A and B.
- Prostate and testicular cancer:Gay men are at higher risks of dying from prostate and testicular cancer. Apart from these colon cancers are also prevalent among gay men. Whether it be anal sexual intercourse or not, gay men should undergo screening to keep themselves at constant check to curb from these diseases. It is a serious issue and most gay men find themselves to be embarrassed to reach out for help due to sensitive culture. However, one must realize there is no greater good than taking care of oneself.
Since the Stonewall incident, a lot of changes have been consciously made to better the lives of gay people and advocacies such as GMLA (Gay Lesbian Medical Association) have been founded to provide the right health care to the fellow same-sex lovers. From a range of diseases that affect so many people in the world, gay men are mostly in the range of getting affected by these diseases. Due to the culture that we have submitted to for more than 100 years, we still cannot make ourselves comfortable to discuss the issues on gay men’s health. It is extremely appalling that even in first world countries, most doctors are not comfortable to talk about the diseases that might affect gay men. This keeps them under a constant threat of being hostage to diseases that could be prevented. With a more open culture and conversations about the health care facilities for gay men, we can change the society for betterment. We should realize that all people irrespective of our differences in sexuality, deserve proper health care and the right to live their best lives.