Men are pretty much the same, gay straight, or something else. We generally love to eat, sleep, have sex (often), dislike seeing doctors and we avoid anything that gives us the feeling that we cannot care for ourselves. We like to feel that we are in control of our lives and bodies, we usually despise feelings of dependency or vulnerability. But the reality that is as a sexual minority and when it comes to our health we are vulnerable and we need each other, in a very real way.
As my parents move into their mid-80s I see just how much care they need and how dependent they are on family. Most gay men will not have children to depend on as we age, and we will most likely be left in the care of others when we are physically unable to care for ourselves. What is even more concerning is that we, as gay men, are not generally listened to within the larger political and governmental establishments. This situation (a combination of being physically unable to care for ones self at any age, and being a stigmatized minority), is a ‘prefect storm’ for substandard care and a repeat of the victimization many of us experienced as we ‘came out’ and emerged as gay men in a sexually repressive society.
Regardless of our age and familial circumstances, we above many groups, need each other in a very basic and personal way when it comes to our health and how we are treated within the health care system. I want to be able to visit those I love within my family of choice,
One group in particular is worthy of mention and your support, the Gay Men’s Health Movement (GMHM). The Gay Men’s Health Movement consists of formal and informal collaborations of gay men, bisexual men, transgender men, and allies, advocating for access to health care, health care utilization strategies and training, affordable and comprehensive health insurance, and effective, culturally appropriate services across the span of our lives.
To document needs and outline a future for the health of gay men, in 2009, the GMHM produced the Gay Men’s Health Agenda after an extensive year-long process of collecting input from across the nation.
According to Jim Pickett, a gay men’s health leader, the Agenda is a road map of objectives and strategies needed to advance our health and well-being, including a call for appropriate funding, enhanced data collection, developing campaigns against homo/bi/transphobia, legislation and other initiatives.
For more information on the agenda or to join the mailing list please email firstname.lastname@example.org