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Lesbian Health: Myths and Realities

in WORLD, 08/09/2011

Stereotypes and misconceptions linked to sexual orientation and gender can have adverse consequences on the health of lesbians. The aim of this project is to demystify "myths and realities" on certains aspects of lesbian health's, such as Breast and Cervical cancers, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections and Well-being.

Lesbian Health: Myths and Realities

In June 2010 ILGA collected the results of an internet survey sent to over 800 of its members and allies. The aim of the survey was to assess the outcomes of the ILGA women’s project, a project funded by Oxfam-Novib which lasted seven years. We wanted to understand which were the areas that ILGA should focus in the coming years in relation to women issues. One of the outcomes of the survey indicated that members and allies would like ILGA to continue working on lesbian’s health. That is why ILGA decided to undertake this project “Lesbian Health: Myths and Realities”.
(see here for the full survey report http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/mKOoA2m1gA).

Most of the time lesbians’ issues are either placed into the general “Homosexual” category, that is to say masculine, or in the general “Woman” category, that is to say heterosexual. This is also the case for health. Studies and statistics on women’s health, although numerous, are rarely broken down by specific groups. In addition, research on gay health is still very much concentrated on HIV/AIDS amongst gay men.

Given the general lack of focus on lesbian health issues, ILGA decided to design a project that raises awareness of some misconceptions on lesbian’s health and sexual behaviour that could have life-threatening consequences.

Three double-sided sheets, that can also be used individually, focus on the “myths and realities” surrounding lesbian’s health and are available in French, Dutch, English and soon also in Spanish. The themes tackled are Breast and Cervical cancers, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Well-Being. The illustrations at the back of each sheet will help to easily understand what are the “myths” and the “realities” of lesbians’ health on each of the topics.

We have also prepared a quiz on myths related to lesbians’ health. It will give you the opportunity to test your knowledge. The quiz can also be used in raising awareness trainings and workshops.

Help us to demystify some myths on lesbian health by sharing and disseminating this information!

Read and Download "Lesbian Health: Myths and Realities": 
EN - http://old.ilga.org/health/ILGA_Lesbians_Health_Myths_Realities_EN.pdf

This project is financially supported by the Belgian Foundation against Cancer which also approved the texts. ILGA thanks the Women's Secretariat, Minority Women in Acton.

The initial project in French and Dutch was coordinated by ILGA with the help of the following Belgian associations: Maison arc-en-ciel, Plan F, Tels Quels, Merhaba, Fédération des Centres de Planning Familial, Fédération laïque des Planning Familiaux, Wish, Cavaria, Casa Rosa.

 

Patricia Curzi
Project coordinator
ILGA


Organisations are encouraged to use the sheets and translate them to their local language, provided that credit is given to ILGA. Interested? Please send a message to women@ilga.org

 

For the French version, please click on FR, on the top left hand of your screen.

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