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Annotated list of lesbian health-related links

Lesbian health
Chronic illness
Lesbian social groups
Lesbian support groups
Disease resources
LGBT sites
Liz's humble abode
Personal Web site that tells the author's story of learning to live with fibromyalgia, IBS, a sleep disorder, asthma, and chronic headaches. Also contains many links to sites on fibromyalgia and a number of other disorders.
This site contains a wealth of useful information.

Lesbian Health Research Center
"...The official web site of the Lesbian Health Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, an affiliated research Center of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health."
The Your Health: Information for Our Community page states, "A key goal of the Lesbian Health Research Center is to provide easy-to-find information about health matters of interest to lesbians and their friends and families."
Apparently, chronic illness or disability are not of interest to us. However, this page does contain info on:
  • Collaborative Care: Breast Cancer Treatment
  • Screening for Breast Cancer
  • Latest Research: Improving Cancer Screening Among Lesbians Over 50: Results of a Pilot Study.
  • Planning Parenthood Advice
  • Alternative Insemination
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Hormone Replacement
  • How to Communicate with Your Health Care Providers
  • Depression
  • Smoking
I don't know about you, but this listing makes it look as though breast cancer, family planning, menopause, STDs, depression, and smoking are our health issues. Let's see, how many of those are directly or indirectly related to our reproductive organs or mammary glands? Geez, we're dykes and they're still defining us the way women were defined in the 50s.
The same descrimination that makes it so hard for us to get decent cancer or ob/gyn care makes having a chronic illness or disability that much harder, and because those of us with chronic illnesses and disabilities have so much contact with the health care system, we have greater opportunities for sub-standard care and all-round lousy treatment. So how come nobody's studying that issue?

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health: Findings and Concerns
Paper by Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and Columbia University Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, and various individual authors. (January, 2000, Conference Edition [work in progress]).
From paper: "This report discusses the health of lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. This grouping includes diverse and varied populations that often share little more than society’s stigma and prejudice. Stigma, however, as well as a range of other social and cultural factors, are forces that impact both the health of LGBT people and the ability of health care providers to care for them in myriad ways."
This paper is over fifty pages long and does not once mention the terms "chronic illness," "autoimmune illness," "lupus," or "multiple sclerosis." According to the paper, our primary problems appear to be cancer, family planning, HIV/AIDS, immunization and infectious diseases, mental health and mental disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, tobacco use, and violence and sexual assault. Wow, isn't it great that we never get chronic illnesses or have disabilities?

Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future
By the Committee on Lesbian Health Research Priorities, Neuroscience and Behavioral Health Program, Health Sciences Policy Program, Health Sciences Section, Institute of Medicine. Edited by Andrea L. Solarz. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1999. ISBN 0-309-06093-1.
The preface to this paper contains a two-paragraph summary of the history of research on lesbian health concerns:
Until the 1980s, few health care professionals discussed the similarities or differences between lesbians and other women. It was not until 1985 that a high level of interest in lesbian health emerged coincident with the design and implementation of the National Lesbian Health Care Survey (Bradford and Ryan, 1988). This survey provided a systematic approach to identify the health needs and concerns of lesbians. It also sought to underline the importance of studying lesbians and their health needs in order to improve health care delivery to them. Since then, other scholars and researchers have focused their efforts on this aspect of women's health. As a result, a body of knowledge has begun to develop.

Although there had been efforts to address issues specific to lesbian health over the past several decades, federal action was limited. In 1993, a meeting was held between representatives of national and local lesbian and gay health organizations and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, during which lesbian health activists asked that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) increase its attention to, and better meet the health needs of, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals (Plumb, 1997). Subsequently, in February 1994 a Lesbian Health Roundtable, involving more than 60 lesbian and bisexual women's health activists from around the country, was held in Washington, D.C., to formalize the recommendations to DHHS and to establish a lesbian health agenda. The agenda subsequently presented to DHHS had as a priority the expansion of research on lesbian health issues.
Like the paper by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, et al., there is no mention of "chronic illness" in this paper.

Lesbian health and homophobia: perspectives for the treating obstetrician/gynecologist
By Kate O'Hanlan, M.D., accepted for publication in Current Problems in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
This seems to be a comprehensive profile of the medical and psychological effects of prejudice on lesbian ob/gyn health.

Adaptation and age-related expectations of older gay and lesbian adults
Paper by Jean K. Quam, Ph.D., and Gary S. Whitford (The Gerontologist Vol. 32, No. 3, 367-374 ).
From the abstract: "Results from a study of lesbian women and gay men in the Midwest over the age of 50...provide a picture of the aging process of these adults that builds on previous research efforts."

Lesbians and Cancer, a bibliography
The material will be published in the May/June 2004 issue of the Oncology Nursing Forum.

The Mautner Project
"Founded in 1990, the Mautner Project (named for Mary-Helen Mautner, a lesbian who died of breast cancer in 1989) is the only national organization dedicated to lesbians with cancer, their partners and caregivers. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of women who partner with women (WPW) and their families by:
  • Delivering services and support to lesbians/WPW with cancer, their families and caregivers;
  • Educating lesbians/WPW about important health issues;
  • Educating healthcare providers about the needs and concerns of their lesbian/WPW clients;
  • Promoting lesbian/WPW health through research, advocacy, and activism."
This site's links section (Sister Sites) contains lots of links to organizations specializing in different kinds and aspects of cancer — a good resource.

Health Information for Lesbian and Bisexual Women
King County, Washington state public health site.

Lesbian Health Web Ring
"This web ring is dedicated to the health of lesbians and all other women who have sex with women."
Amazon Lifeline is a member of this Web ring.

National LGBT Health Coalition
From their "About Us" squib: "The National Coalition for LGBT Health was formed on October 14, 2000, when representatives from some 50 national, state and local organizations met in Washington, DC to identify new ways to collaborate on an LGBT health advocacy effort, unified enough to be effective, and diverse enough to represent the community."

Gay and lesbian health section of MedlinePlus Health Information
This is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
This seems to be more gay than lesbian.

Lesbian Health page This page is part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America site.
The page provides a decent overview of lesbian health issues, although it seems to me to be somewhat out of date.

Lesbian Health links at Lesbian Mothers Support Society.
Some of these links date back to 1996 and some are broken.


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Page last revised: 04/01/2004

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