Gender Stereotypes, LGBTQ+ Discrimination Hinders Physical Health
In order to achieve wellness one must be physically healthy. This includes nutrition, self-care and activity level. Self-care, like going to the doctor annually and addressing even the most minor health ailments, is something that many Americans neglect.
According to Forbes, on average, Americans visit their doctor four times a year, which is far lower than other countries. In countries like Japan, their residents visit the doctor an average of 13 times a year.
There are some health and wellness issues that only pertain to particular genders.
Those of the LGBTQ+ community face hardships when it comes to self-care. Gabrielle Kaspar, a first assistant RN student at the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in Pennsylvania, believes that many in the LGBTQ+ community experience inequality from professionals, which leads to a lack of treatment.
“I feel like older doctors may treat people differently—or older nurses or just older people in the healthcare field— because they were raised in a different time,” Kaspar said. “Now it’s more about treating people equally and everything. I think it’s a lot better than it was back then. So I think we’re getting there, but I don’t think we’re fully there still.”
Those in the LGBTQ+ community face difficulties beyond self-care. Members of the community also have difficulties when it comes to the activity level portion of physical health.
“If they don’t take proper measures in working out, in keeping up with themselves, like trying to make themselves feel and look more masculine like cisgendered men do, then there could be some health complications,” Brandes Yenchick, a transgender student at Cabrini University, said.
Overall, it can be argued that men face the most difficulties with their health in general. Robert Huffman, the development manager at the Movember Foundation, sees the stigma around men’s health as extremely damaging.
“[We’re] built around a society of men should be the strong person and they shouldn’t open up to people,” Huffman said. “Some people can talk about their issues and other people don’t like to be so vulnerable. So whether it be embarrassed to just talk about your feelings, you don’t feel like anybody really cares, you don’t want to show a weakness.”
This stigma of men’s health, as previously mentioned, is extremely damaging mentally and physically. According to Huffman, four out of five suicides are by men. This, he added, leads to 1,400 male suicides a day, or one a minute. Physically this stigma is damaging, since only 40 percent of men visit the doctor.
The mental and physical effects men feel about health lead to a shorter lifespan.
“On average men are dying six years before women for mostly preventable causes,” Huffman said.
A simple way to be part of the solution is to have conversations.
“Just talking about your health with your father, your grandfather, your brother, your friends, and just getting them to start going to get their annual checkup, their annual physical and be aware of the health risks that they’re going through throughout their life can make a drastic change to somebody’s health as well as their lifespan,” Huffman said.
By Caitlyn Huebner