Why do we know so little about all sexual minorities and their health? In the Western World, we are privately fascinated with things sexual (we use sex to sell everything from beer to cars). As a culture, though, we have lived by an unwritten rule of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for a very long time! (I know because I had my mouth washed out with soap at age 5 for asking how and where baby gets out of mom’s body!) My argument is that this unwritten rule has crippled our ability to ask the questions which could lead to the right preventive counseling, the right vaccinations, the needed physical examinations, but most of all, the ability to build a comfortable and respectful relationship between care providers and the whole variety of people they serve.
So that is why you are being invited to read this blog. This blog invites you to participate fully in the radical challenge of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in health care! We are capable of vastly reducing health disparities for LGBTQI patients by putting the soap and disapproving looks away and instead opening our mouths and ears to engage in honest discussion about how to become and stay healthy.
If you buy at least some of this basic argument, I invite you to our Improving OUTcomes blog to start to receive tools to increase your ability to provide this care. It will also lead you to the Improving OUTcomes conference we will be holding March 27 and 28, 2015.
I want to honor our colleagues for their beautiful work showing why it is critical to talk about on how to start that discussion with your patients or clients if you are a health care provider and how to have that discussion with your provider if you are a patient. The same honest discussion are critical to keep families together and healthy, a topic we will discuss next. We will also talk about how to help family members and friends navigate a gradually changing but still unsafe world as they accept their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You can register your e-mail address as a provider or as an interested and curious human being. Thanks for taking a moment to listen!
Edward J. Callahan, PhD
University of California, Davis Health System
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel
Professor of Family and Community Medicine
Chair, Vice Chancellor’s LGBTQI Advisory Committee