Connect with us

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Healthy travel tips for the LGBT community

We thought we would break down some of the issues you might face while traveling, and give you some advice to ensure that you not only enjoy your trip away, but you also get home safe, sound, and in robust health. Let’s get started with some of the basics.

Published

on

While it’s clear that attitudes to the LGBT community in this country still have a long way to go, there are plenty of other parts of the world that make the US a shining light of equality and enlightenment. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are treated differently in pretty much every country, so traveling the world can often cause problems when it comes to keeping healthy and safe.

With this in mind, we thought we would break down some of the issues you might face while traveling, and give you some advice to ensure that you not only enjoy your trip away, but you also get home safe, sound, and in robust health. Let’s get started with some of the basics.

It all starts with research…

You could write several theses of material on the different attitudes towards the LGBT community, as they vary so significantly – not just from region to region, but also from country to country. But here are some of the stark facts: homosexuality is punishable by death in eight countries at the moment. And same-sex relationships are criminalized in a further 72 countries, 45 of which have outlawed sexual relationships between women, too.

But that’s not all you need to know. While there are plenty of countries that recognize the LGBT community and grant them a certain amount of rights, it’s not the whole story. In many countries around the world, we are still in the early days of progress, and social acceptance of the local population is not at the level you might expect. Just like in the US, there is a sense of intolerance in many areas of the world, and it’s important to do your research before booking a trip abroad.

There are a few places you can start looking, however. Plenty of guidebooks offer valuable information, many of which specialize in LGBT travel matters. And the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association website has a great interactive map where you can see the most dangerous parts of the world for LGBT travelers.

You should also check out discussion forums online, where you will find plenty of good advice from seasoned travelers who can give you a ground view of traveling in any given country. And finally, make sure that you check with your local tour operator, who might have a good idea of where you can go that will be safe for the duration of your trip.

Planning for your health

Once you have decided on your destination, make sure that you visit your doctor well in advance. Your physician will talk you through the health implications of any given country and can provide you with any immunizations that are necessary, or that you need to make you up-to-date. Feel free to take notes – some of the diseases in foreign countries can be complicated, and it’s a good idea to jot down any advice on preventing disease in a language you can understand.

Be sure to check out the CDC travel website, too. Not only will it confirm what your doctor is telling you and give you the opportunity to print off vital information, but you will also see if there are any particular flare-ups in a particular part of the world. It also gives you key info in general health and safety advice on diseases like malaria, water safety, and rabies – all of which can be an issue in many parts of the world. If you intend to travel to a developing region, it is vital that you educate yourself and get your immunizations at least a couple of months before you leave.

Insurance for LGBT travelers

Make sure you are properly covered for traveling by your health insurance. Read the small print – because many countries are still hostile towards the LGBT community, you may not be covered correctly if you travel there. You may have cover for standard travel – even Medicare Plan F covers that, for example – but you must make sure that you are covered for almost every event you can imagine. At the very least, you should have Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage, which will help you get home in the event you become ill or injured in a country that doesn’t offer adequate health care.

You have to understand that this isn’t medical coverage per se – it just gives you the necessary transportation to the nearest acceptable hospital that can treat your illness or injury. Let’s say you are enjoying yourself on a cruise ship, and get a case of something like appendicitis. You will need a Medivac to get you to a hospital – and short of people like Bill Gates, few could afford the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to get you to safety without the right insurance coverage.

Restrictions

Another important point to remember about traveling is that there are still some countries that have HIV-related travel restrictions. This isn’t the place to debate the rights and wrongs of such policies, but the simple truth is that there are a few places that ban anyone with HIV, and a larger number that restricts entry – even for short-term stays. The Middle East makes up the bulk of those countries, but you will also experience problems when traveling to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Sudan/South Sudan at the time of writing.

However, depending on when you travel, some of these restrictions may have changed, so always check with the relevant authorities. And also, bear in mind that if you plan on traveling to a certain place for a long-term stay, you will need to check what policies affect people living with HIV if you are your traveling companion is living with the condition.

Mental health issues

OK, so the world is an enormous place, and there are many places you might want to go to. But, as we mentioned above, it can be a dangerous place for members of the LGBT community. And while you can – technically – travel anywhere you like, as long as you are careful, of course, don’t underestimate the sheer weight of strain that can arise from being in an anti-LGBT country. Whether you are traveling, vacationing, or studying abroad, it’s important to be mindful of your mental health. In a country where your sexuality is actually illegal, you will have few people to turn to, and you have big decisions to make about how open you are.

According to research, pretty much 100 percent of LGBT couples state that they don’t show any affection at all while traveling abroad, and when you feel like you are hiding your true self from others, it can be an incredibly stressful experience. And, of course, stress is a lot more serious than a lot of people recognize. Not only can it have mental health implications, but it can also result in severe physical conditions like heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.

But what happens if you are carefree, and focus instead on reducing your stress levels and act in a way you normally would at home? Well, a lot of the same-sex couples from the report make it clear that they have suffered from threats of physical violence. Clearly, there is a delicate balance to strike, so a thorough knowledge of the local attitudes to the LGBT community is essential if you want to protect both your physical and mental health.

General health tips

As most people in the LGBT community understand, research suggests that LGBT individuals face large health disparities which are linked to all kinds of things. Social stigma, discrimination, denial of human and civil rights – all of it has an impact in this country, let alone where more archaic attitudes exist. It’s vital to understand that in many other countries in the world, it won’t be any easier, and is actually likely to be a whole lot more difficult to deal with.

Sexual health is also a big issue. No matter where you are in the world, you must ensure that you have the right protections easily at hand. Given that HIV is more prevalent in some groups within the LGBT community, you are dicing with enormous health problems if you don’t protect yourself. The reality is that STDs of all descriptions can be rife in this country, but the problems are far worse elsewhere.

Finally, don’t forget about your general health requirements before traveling. You may need to arrange a bulk purchase of prescription medicine, for example, to keep you going for the entire duration of your trip.

Conclusion

It is possible for members of the LGBT community to stay safe and healthy throughout their trip away, no matter where they go in the world. However, it is vital to remember that depending on your destination, it can be a lot more complicated than just turning up and having a good time being yourself. And also, that hiding your true instincts and sexuality can be difficult, especially if you are going abroad for a long-term experience. Avoiding the threat of violence can be difficult on the mind when you are at it for 24/7/365 – so make sure you are taking as much care of your mental state as you are your physical condition.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected by WP Anti Spam

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Luxembourg named best country for workers in LGBT community

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

Published

on

IMAGE DETAIL BY CODE83 FROM PIXABAY.COM

Rainbow at work.

Luxembourg is apparently the best country in the world for LGBT workers, according to data released by Silver Swan Recruitment via its LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

The LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index was compiled by analysing the following factors:

  • LGBT laws and rights
  • LGBT employment laws
  • Minimum wage
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average salary
  • LGBT-friendliness

For each of the six factors, a score from zero to three was awarded to each country, meaning that the top possible result was 18. Luxembourg scored a total of 17.

Only the top 30 countries in the rankings were awarded a place on the LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Image source: Silver Swan Recruitment

Second in the list is Australia, followed by New Zealand, then Monaco, France and Belgium. The Netherlands, known as a strong supporter of gay rights only made seventh place on the list. This was mostly due to the country’s average salary rating.

At the bottom end of the 30 countries index comes Spain, Slovenia and Colombia, respectively.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Almost half of gay men encounter intimate partner violence

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

Published

on

Not just women’s issue.

Nearly half of men in same-sex couples suffered some form of abuse at the hands of their partner, according to a study that surveyed 320 men (160 male couples) in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago in the US to measure emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, monitoring of partners, and HIV-related abuse.

PHOTO BY ELVIN RUIZ FROM UNSPLASH.COM

The study – “Dyadic Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence Among Male Couples in Three U.S. Cities” by Nicolas A. Suarez, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Robert Garofalo, Emily Brown, Anna Marie Bratcher, Taylor Wimbly, Marco A. Hidalgo, Samuel Hoehnle, Jennie Thai, Erin Kahle, Patrick S. Sullivan and Rob Stephenson – found that 46% experience some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the last year, belying the misconception that this is only a woman’s issue.

“If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25% to 30%, roughly the same as women,” study author Rob Stephenson was quoted as saying by Webmd.com. “We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator, and while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships.”

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

Another abuse factor related specifically to male couples is the degree of “outedness,” which the study says can create a dynamic of “bidirectional violence as well as creating a power imbalance where the ‘out’ partner may threaten to disclose his partner’s sexual orientation and lead to further violence.

READ:  Kyle: 'With acceptance, there’s happiness'

HIV-related issues also surface in gay abusive relationships, particularly if there is lack of communication about HIV status and if one of the partners is unable to enforce condom use as a form of protection.

This study actually only backs earlier findings on IPV in LGBTQIA relationships. For instance, in Associations Between Alcohol Use and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, published in LGBT Health, Davis Alissa, Kaighobadi Farnaz, Stephenson Rob, Rael Christine and Sandfort Theodorus noted that although alcohol use is a known trigger of IPV.

Alcohol use among MSM tied with intimate partner violence

This newer study was first published online in May, and appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Mental health of young adults with lesbian parents the same as their peers, study finds

25-year-olds raised by lesbian parents do as well on multiple measures of psychological health as adults from a population-based sample.

Published

on

25-year-olds raised by lesbian parents do as well on multiple measures of psychological health as adults from a population-based sample. This is according to the longest-running prospective study on sexual minority parent families, with the researchers comparing relationships, educational/job performance, and behavioral, emotional and mental health problems in the two samples.

The report, “National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study—Mental Health of Adult Offspring”, appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine and is co-authored by Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Visiting Distinguished Scholar, along with Henny Bos, Ph.D., former Visiting International Scholar at the Williams Institute, and Audrey Koh, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

The 25-year-olds are participants in the ongoing US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), which has followed this cohort of offspring from conception to adulthood. The NLLFS, now in its 32nd year, has a 92% retention rate. This is the first NLLFS report based on data collected when the offspring were legal adults.

“When I began this study in 1986, there was considerable speculation about the future mental health of children conceived through donor insemination and raised by sexual minority parents,” said lead author Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. “We have followed these families since the mothers were inseminating or pregnant and now find that their 25-year-old daughters and sons score as well on mental health as other adults of the same age.”

READ:  Your ultimate camping checklist for this summer's vacation

The study focused on mental health because the peak incidence of many psychiatric disorders occurs during young adulthood. The researchers matched the 77 adult offspring in the NLLFS with a population-based sample of 77 adults of comparable age, sex, race/ethnicity and education to examine any disparities in their mental health.

The researchers specifically assessed adaptive functioning, the presence of behavioral or emotional problems, scores on the mental health diagnostic scales, and percentages of scores in the borderline or clinical range. Results showed no significant difference between the two groups for any of the measures.

“These findings demonstrate that claims that it is harmful for children to be raised by same-sex couples are completely unfounded,” said co-author Henny Bos, Ph.D., Professor of Child Development and Education, and Endowed Chair in Sexual and Gender Diversity in Families and Youth at the University of Amsterdam. “There is no justification to restrict child custody or placement, or access to reproductive technologies, based on the parents’ sexual orientation.”

There are an estimated 114,000 same-sex couples raising children in the US, including 86,000 female couples. Ten states, including Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, allow state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

This is the 23rd publication from data collected in the NLLFS. Previous research found that the development of psychological well-being in these offspring over a seven-year period from childhood through adolescence was the same for those conceived through known or unknown sperm donors. In addition, the absence of male role models did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment of 17-year-olds raised in lesbian households. None of these 17-year-olds had been abused by a parent or caregiver. In contrast, 26 percent of 17-year-olds nationally report physical abuse and 8% report sexual abuse by a parent or caregiver.

READ:  Staying safe when dating online - Is it up to providers to ensure safety?

Continue Reading

Travel

San Francisco’s Castro District highlights Pride is still a long way away…

Outrage Magazine visits San Francisco’s Castro District to see that the LGBTQIA community may have achieved a lot, but so much more needs to be done before Pride is really felt by all.

Published

on

Where we’ve been. Where we are. Where we’re headed.

That, in a gist, is how I perceive San Francisco’s “LGBTQIA central”, Castro District to be. It celebrates where we are now by paying (some) attention to our shared past; but it also highlights the areas where our community needs to act (and act fast) before we can truly say that we have Pride.

Castro District is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco, California. It was named after José Castro (1808–1860), who opposed US rule in California in the 19th century. As one of the very first gay neighborhoods in the US, it actually became LGBTQIA-centric starting only the late 1960s, aided by the hippie and free love movements in neighboring Haight-Ashbury district.

By the 1970s, it was already an upscale gay community (first mitigated by people’s movement here before it became the prime spot that it is now).

Castro’s influences in the (global) LGBTQIA community are numerous.

Harvey Milk was from here; in 1973, he opened a camera store here, Castro Camera, and he also began his political involvement as a gay activist here. So this place sorta helped exemplify LGBTQIA political involvement, particularly at a time when we had even harder times.

Then in the 1980s, the area was hit hard by the HIV and AIDS crisis. This is a defining moment for the LGBTQIA community (with HIV “blamed” on gay people, and with the American government not lifting a hand to do something/anything about this sitch then), so this helped galvanize the (particularly) gay community.

Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow. Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

And then there are some of our stereotypical concepts of “beauty”, which surfaced from Castro. The one that immediately comes to mind is the “Castro clone” that exemplified butchness and masculinity; to date, this idiotic penchant for “straight-acting and straight-looking” continues…

READ:  5 Things to do in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Truly, nowadays, Castro is a “living” reminder of the LGBTQIA community’s history.

But Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow.

Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

This – not surprisingly – highlights the social stratification within the LGBTQIA community. Exactly because the we’re talking moolah, and because not everyone has this, the social classes that divide the community is highlighted. Even the nearby LGBT Center isn’t immune to this, with some LGBTQIA people critical of it (supposedly) for being elitist.

Then there’s the leaving behind of members of the LGBTQIA community. For instance, in San Francisco, the homeless population is approximately 7,499 – 29% of them identify as LGBT; and 11% of them have HIV or AIDS. If you want to see some of them, try waking up early – like 6.00AM or so – and take a walk along Castro Street to see them, living in the midst of the trash from the partying that happened the night before.

Castro has long become a tourist trap that highlights “progressive LGBTQIA community” a la America. And – as such – it can’t be denied how it’s a good reminder that we’ve (well, at least ‘they’ have) made progress.

But it also stresses – for me – that so much more still needs to be done…

Continue Reading

In the Scene

‘Kasarisarian’ LGBTQIA community cultural event slated in Lucena City on July 21-26

To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 in Lucena City.

Published

on

To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 at the ESPASYO ART GALLERY, Quezon Avenue corner Trinidad Street, Lucena City in the Quezon Province.

Particularly for this year’s event, “we’re trying to elevate the discussion and the perspective on the current situation of the LGBTQIA people in the country,” said Aaron Bonette, co-organizer of the event. “We want to make Kasarisarian 2 a non-hierarchal exhibition invested in grassroots community organizing, and focused on radical queer narratives, visioning and politics. This means that the curated works will tackle and represent queer lives and struggles based on the current and past experiences of LGBTQIA people that are skeptic – from the looming commercialized cooptation of Pride to the glitter industrial complex to the failed political myth of equality through law, violence against LGBTQIA people and class hierarchy.”

The event will feature 15 artists based in the Quezon Province and two artists based in the Netherlands, including: Lans Lans, Elvira Bvlgari, Aaron Bonette, Syeril Powsa, Catsoup, John Van Vallesterol, Annita Remoroza, Aann Reynales, Jaymar Valdoria, Alliza Beth, Joma Importante, Skimmi Shimmi, Beatriz Rogas, France dela Paz, and Brian van Niehoff. Documentaries from Outrage Magazine’s #KaraniwangLGBT series will also be shown; as will Sunugin ang Aparador by Gio Potes, and Mark & Lenny by Gio Potes.

Outrage Magazine launches #KaraniwangLGBT

Bonette added that the annual Pride month celebration has just ended, and yet – over 20 years since the first such gathering in Metro Manila “the LGBTQIA movement does and spends more on branding rather than coalition building, with the mainstream LGBTQIA movement focusing on soliciting funds from corporation to run our cause; it’s almost like our rights have been bought, paid for and sold to the highest bidder no matter how anti-worker or neoliberal policy upholder that corporation is.”

READ:  Love and HIV - Is there such a thing?

In this sense, “the metaphor of being ‘treated like a piece of meat’ is valid, as if our bodies and identities are there to be exploited in the free market of commodification and oppression.”

Bonette said that they are cognizant that “corporate money also do some good for the community”, but that awareness is needed so LGBTQIA people also recognize that “there is something antithetical about a movement for equality and justice funded by the forces in the world that is also most responsible for widespread economic and social inequality.”

In the end, “we’d like to use this event as a venue to ask LGBTQIA people: What’s the future ahead of us? When our community is not yet united as a social movement that addresses the issues facing the most marginalized LGBTQIA people, with those fighting against systemic poverty, are we really making any progress? Or has the LGBTQIA movement, our movement, already hijacked by power elites advocating for their own interests?”

“Kasarisarian” is a term coined from: “Kasarian” which means gender, and (2) “Sari-Sari” for variety and diversity. It aims to provide queer (and straight) artists a non-commercial and an uncompromising space to tackle and explore various queer narratives, identities and politics.

This is a free event (yes, there’s no admission fee); though it is open for donations (during the event). Door will open at 1:00PM on July 21 and the program will start at exactly 6:00PM with a welcome reception, followed by the Artist Talk, film screening and cultural performances. This will run until July 26.

For more information, head to Guni-Guri Collective; or contact Aaron Bonette at aarnmssbntt@gmail.com or 0995-085-3664.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

LGBT teens use e-cigarettes more than straight peers, survey says

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens have substantially higher rates of e-cigarette use than straight youth, with these teens far more likely to say they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days than their straight or questioning counterparts.

Published

on

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens have substantially higher rates of e-cigarette use than straight youth – at least in Ohio, with the Ohio Department of Health reporting that teens who described themselves as LGB were far more likely to say they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days than their straight or questioning counterparts in a Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey taken during the 2016-2017 school year.

IMAGE USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSE ONLY; PHOTO BY DANI RAMOS ON UNSPLASH

Meanwhile, those who described themselves as transgender or gender nonconforming were far more likely to vape or smoke than their male and female peers. Transgender teens used e-cigarettes at twice the rate of males or females.

Among the reasons cited for the use of e-cigarettes and even traditional cigarettes is to cope with the stress and anxiety; in the case of LGBTQIA people, when faced with social stigma. Also, similar risky behaviors may be picked as youths try to find a community where they feel accepted.

Better information about the health effects of e-cigarettes are said to be therefore needed, with emphasis on the difficulty of giving up nicotine the moment its consumption is started, similar to traditional cigarette use.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular