Human Rights / Health

How health policies affect LGBTI people?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The question of how health policies affect LGBTI people is discussed at the Symposium against Discrimination which is attribute to Mahmut Şefik Nil, as one of the founders of Kaos GL Association. Healthcare staff came together to create an anti-homophobic medical service.

Second day of the fourth Symposium against Discrimination which organized by Kaos GL Association, Turkish Medical Association and Health and Social Service Worker Union has begun with the session of “How health policies affect LGBTI people?”

Prof.Dr.Aslı Davas, Dr.Filiz Ak and Asst.Prof.Dr Özge Karadağ Çoman talked at in it.

“We are forced to neo-liberal healthcare system”

First speaker, Prof. Dr. Aslı Davas from Ege University Faculty of Medicine started to speech by mentioning the lack of studies related to LGBTI community, healthcare system and how it represents the discrimination. Davas who stated that “we are forced to neo-liberal healthcare system. Healthcare is destroyed, healthcare staff pushed to precarity, healthcare got commoditized” continued by reminding how right of health is taken out of Constitution in 1982:

“In 1990s, the discussion of health reform was done. In that period, family health practices and privatization became the main topic but it didn’t come true. Later this reform come true but it was only because of the efforts of Turkish Medical Association and Health Workers Union. The transition to neo-liberal system began as the budget reserved to health had been cut. In a nutshell, they forced us to this system.”

Davas stated that the first practices of transition was done in the year of 2002.

“LGBT people can’t take advantage of marriage insurance”

Davas who stated that there is no way for LGBT people to take advantage of marriage insurance, continued as “without a formal heterosexual marriage, there is no way to take advantage of the insurance. At the same time, LGBT people are out of family insurance if their family disinherit them.”

“As a result of performance based system, lots of problems have begun flourishing in all fields such as psychiatry which requires a long time treatment. It affects LGBT people first of all. Medicine was a vehicle which lets people transition but now it has become something conservative.”

Davas reminded Selma Aliye Kavaf who was appointed as State Minister Responsible for Women and Family and the Minister’s statement “I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease. It needs to be treated.”

Davas: “In a country where such Ministers live, where doctors think homosexuality is a disease, health becomes a field of discrimination all by itself. The health policies of Justice and Development Party (AKP) persist on controlling the bodies of women and LGBT individuals.”

“Are trans men and women accepted to hospitals?”

Afterwards, Dr.Filiz Ak from Ankara University Faculty of Medicine talked about how it’s necessary to teach students of faculty of medicine about LGBTI people and gender.

Ak continued to the speech by asking “are trans men and women accepted to hospitals?”

“We, as the teachers of health education, have to change the medicine and turn it to a battlefield to homophobia and transphobia. Down with this binary gender system which destroys the discrepancy! LGBTI people not only deal with problems of healthcare but also the other ones.”

Following, Ak described the needs of lesbian and bisexual women from family doctors, nothing but respect to privacy and morality and a manner out of homophobia.

“LGBTI health, gender health should be understood as essential branches of health education.”

“Stigmatization and discrimination affects health negatively”

At last, Asst.Prof.Dr.Özge Karadağ Çaman from Hacettepe University Institute of Health Sciences talked about how LGBT people reach healthcare, stated that defenseless and disadvantageous groups should have their own health policies. Çaman continued:

“We all know that some groups and even the families of them become subject to discrimination and stigmatization in healthcare. Stigmatization not only affects the body, but also spiritual and psychosocial health, affects the body as a whole in negatively.

“However, despite the hardships people have to get through, awareness stage of healthcare staff and the ones in charge is still not high enough.

“Even though LGBT community is a heterogeneous one, there are mutual issues which affect the whole community at the moment of treatment. Among these, being stigmatized by healthcare staff, being exposed to discrimination at the moment of treatment, being subject to negative attitude and being obliged to hide information which might be necessary or avoiding healthcare just because of all these reasons.”

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