Tag Archives: research

How Homophobia May Actually Increases HIV Cases In Gay Men

Have you ever wondered what some of the long ranged and potentially harmful side effects of a country’s homophobia? Well one study has found some rather shocking results. The study, Access to HIV Prevention and Treatment for Men Who Have Sex with Men done by the medical and mental professionals of The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) found that situations like rate of homophobic perceptions and income are directly correlated to the number of HIV cases seen in sexually active gay men.

As you can see in the graph below, it shows that gay men from low income countries that have a high amount of homophobia as well as a lack of access to preventative measures such as condoms, testing, and treatments are at a significantly higher chances on contracting HIV.

The study does note that a high amountasd of participants that resided in low income countries expressed fear of exposure of their sexuality and that homophobia which lead to them not buying and preparing things such as lubricant and condoms that would help protect them against HIV and other diseases that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Here’s a further and more detailed summary of the study’s findings:

In summary, the study findings underscore the need to improve global efforts to ensure that gay men and other MSM have access to basic HIV prevention and treatment services. Structural, community/interpersonal, and individual barriers and facilitators to service access must be addressed at multiple levels; interventions must both disrupt the negative effects of barriers and support the protective effects of facilitators. When considering PrEP implementation, study findings indicate an urgent need for the dissemination of more and better information regarding HIV prevention strategies generally and PrEP in particular.

From the narratives of MSM who participated in this study, it is clear that local and global advocacy efforts are needed to create enabling sociopolitical environments that will increase access to HIV-related services and improve MSM health overall. Securing the human rights of MSM is essential to HIV prevention and treatment strategies, new and old.

These barriers, either through society or anti-gay laws undoubtedly and justifiably perceived as homophobia were also found to cause these overall feelings with higher rates of HIV cases:

Poor self-worth
Substance abuse
Delay/avoidance of services
Treatment interruption

So the next time someone say being anti-gay doesn’t have ramifications this study proves the contrary. And even though this is only one very detailed piece of evidence, the findings are hard to dispute. Homophobia has much more powerful and potentially damaging consequences than previously known.

Saying “That’s So Gay” Does More Damage Than You Think

In something to think about news, The Huffington Post discussed the effects of a commonly used anti-gay phrase. The phrase “that’s so gay” may be more detrimental than it is widely believed. In the Journal of American College Health, a study was conducted to see what the condescending phrase affected a group of LGBT college students.  The study used a survey to determine how when hearing the phrase made the participants feel. This is what they found:

“more frequently were more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.”

Also note that of the 114 participants, only about 10 percent of them gad not encountered the phrase while on campus. The researcher, Assistant Professor at U-M Michael Woodford, further elaborated on the negative phrase’s impact:

Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing ‘that’s so gay’ may elevate such perceptions. That’s so gay’ conveys that there is something wrong with being gay.

Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses.”

Remember that everyone is different. We process things like situations, environments, events, even words differently so what you or I may be able to bush off, some are unable to do so. A study done at the University of Concordia  This is in conjunction with the study done last year by stating the negative effects bullying can have on someone. Doctoral student, Michael Benibgui, also found how severe homophobia has on LGBT:

“Compared to their heterosexual peers, suicide rates are up to 14 times higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual high school and college students,”

Overall, I agree with Woodford when he says that the phrase leads to the assumption that there is something is wrong with being gay.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY…or bisexual, transgendered, lesbian, questioning, asexual or straight. That’s why it’s important to discuss when it comes up why it’s not a joke and to respect why people have such a negative reaction when hearing the condescending phrase. Definitely something to think about.

Are Gay Men Incapable of Monogamy? Conventional Norms Questioned

Does sexuality determine promiscuity and monogamy? Are us gay men and women more likely to have a mutual understanding while still being in an open and honest relationship? Today monogamy in gay relationships were examined resulting from an article from the Huffington Post discussing the beautiful and majestic silver haired reporter Anderson Cooper and the suspected but not confirmed cheating rumors.

After several photos were discovered showing Anderson’s boyfriend, Ben Maisani, kissing and holding hands with another man in a park over the weekend, this sparked a conversation of monogamy in gay relationships. The writer then leads into the assertion that in most gay relationships ” in the queer community, which has fewer hangups and restrictions on sex and less rigid parameters on with whom and how we love and lust, open relationships have long provided the stability of partnership with the excitement of being able to meet and sleep with other people.”

The writer feels this factor of gay relationships is unknown outside the community and  that most of  America is “barely ready for gay marriage (and, in most states, entirely unprepared for it). Right wingers are quick to argue that if they give their blessing to gay marriages, other unthinkable terrors, like polygamy and polyamory, won’t be far behind.” So what if the religious right has problems with gay marriage. Does that mean we should stop striving for that right because we have variation in our relationships JUST like straight couples? Absolutely not.

The article suggests a liberation of close minded thinking and “it’s time to start breaking down our antiquated ideas about romance and relationships, many of which are largely based on ideas of control and fear, and start talking openly and honestly about what really works best for each of us”

A couple of years ago, The New York Times suggested in an article that in gay male relationships, monogamy isn’t a huge issue and is not a “central feature for many”. The research also suggested that “gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships“but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.” I don’t agree with this notion that monogamy is absent in same sex relationships so much as it’s what each person in the relationship defines as acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Another article supported this claim that gay men are less likely to have monogamous relationships but did note that men do desire and appreciate long-term loving relationships.” 

The one thing I wish these studies had covered that seems paramount in my none too important opinion is the age groups used in their studies. Were these all gay men in their early 20s to mid 30s because there’s such an ambiguous timetable for when men settle down.

Also it would’ve been nice had the studies compared when/if these men came out as that also may have contributed to these results. I’m not making excuses, but if you’re going to make such a strong declarations, all of these variables may have contributed to the results.

I think my only issue with the Huffington Post article is that to me is not that it insinuates that most gay couples have this arrangement. There’s just as much variation in relationships of gay couples as there are in straight ones and everyone needs to understand what monogamy means to themselves and their partner. And it’s about preference too of what type of relationship you want and what’s acceptable to you. Regardless of whether it’s an open or monogamous relationship, in my none too important opinion communication is key.

So do you think gay men are less likely or incapable of monogamy? Are open relationships happy and last longer? What does it take to make it work? Whether it is about cheating or an open relationship I just hope Anderson is happy.


Has Hollywood Made LGBT Characters Too Stereotypical Gay?

Do you think Hollywood is doing a good job with LGBT characters? Can you identify with these characters at all or are they too stereotypical and way over the top? Here’s two sides to the argument. First, I came across an article from the New York Post today that feels Hollywood has done a horrific job in it’s portrayal of LGBT characters. The writer generalizes these Hollywood characters saying they’re “so screamingly stupid” .

Also, the writer assesses the male gay characters from shows like Glee and Modern Family as “limp white boys and scary” and compared the portrayal of lesbians as “sexually predatory girls”.  The writer says these characters are so damning that they make the bold  assertion that “it’s enough to drive the gay-rights movement back underground.” while these portrayals will be used by “delight loyalists of Chick-fil-A” and overall these characters are “self-loathing.

The writer feels that these LGBT character portrayals are detrimental and  as a result it’s “an awkward moment for TV land to give so much ammunition to the religious right”. So what because of the religious conservative right we shouldn’t have these characters on tv? Other then one dimensional thinking the writer doesn’t provide any solid evidence to support this claim.

Further, the writer received commentary from Williamson Henderson, Director of Stonewall Veterans Association, named for the 1969 Greenich Village Riots. Henderson felt as though the portrayals of LGBT are relegated to “wimpy characters, crying” and that“they don’t represent gay people in a productive and positive sense” .

Henderson also discussed Chaz Bono son of Cher and DTWS contest, who is female to male transgender, and the controversy surrounding the dance competition saying “it was the clowning of the GLBT community,’’ and that “they were using him as a weapon to attract those who don’t support gay rights. He did more harm than good”.

Okay, let’s look at another side of this debate. The counter argument suggests that these LGBT characters are an asset, not a detriment. University of Michigan’s Professor Edward Schiappa, who studies communication, did research on these varying shows finding that overall, “TV and movie representation matters”. Schiappa compared data from five studies concluding that prejudices towards LGBT showed a decrease and noted while “these attitude changes are not huge — they don’t change bigots into saints. But they can snowball”.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that there is a significant lack of diversity for LGBT characters in Hollywood. I want to see well thought out multi-dimensional characters in film, sitcoms, drams, playrights and all other mediums. But there are some positive aspects to these characters too.

Growing up during the 80s and 90s I can’t vividly remember one LGBT character in any of the tv shows I watched. I know not all visibility in causes are good, but I definitely don’t think the examples provided by the writer of this article are all bad either. What do you think?

How Long Does Gay Love Last? A Ridiculous Notion on Labels

When you fall in love, you always seem to remember the series of firsts you share. The first time he says something to makes you smile. The first song that makes you think of him. the first time  you lose all senses when your hands touch. The first late night stroll to unknown destinations while gazing upon the moon. The first time he says “I love you”. I’m certain that just the mention of is making you think of those first, just as I am while writing this.

Those moments stay fresh in the mind and all you can think of is forever with him. But how would you feel if someone told you that your love had an expiration date? That no matter what you did to foster communication and understanding that because of your sexuality, This love was on a clock that weould soon run out?

A few years ago in Time a man dissected his relationship with his partner to see if then being gay is what led to it’s downfall. The author ridiculously implies that through research that his relationship faltered because of their sexuality.What I find difficult to understand is did he ever question were the problems due to sexuality, or his absurd notion of what roles we serve in our relationships as gay men and women? To me,  it sounds like trying to be what he thought  one man has a dominant role while the other submissive is flawed.

Dr. Stuart F. Chen-Hayes an  Associate Professor of Counselor Education/School Counseling from National-Louis University  porvides a guide on dispelling  the myths surrounding gay s and lesbians in relationships.  Dr. Chen-Hayes discusses how LGB relationships have many if not almost all the same challenges and triumphs of straight couples.  It implies that sexuality effects the relationships of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals just as much as as in straight  relationships.

Even the title to this entry is so ridiculous to me . How can someone ever put a limit or encompass the experience of love onto someone? Could you imagine being told that your relationship has a time limit because of your sexuality? I’m sure those that oppose gay anything will try to breakdown every minute detail and stage of a gay relationship in order to make arguments that our relationships don’t last.

Studies on gay relationships is relatively new. But hopefully more research will reveal or label that our relationships are no different then straight couples. They can point out things you may not have realized that affect a relationship, But a study can’t tell you how to be yourself or measure hw long ANY love last between two people. In my not too important opinion, the only thing that determines how long love last is the two people in love. Sexuality is not a variant on how long a relationship can last.