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 gaytoz / HEALTH & SAFETY

My 15 year-old son came out to me
Gay Milestones
Gays accept abuse as part of life - 2004
HIV Risk for gay black men -2002
Count me in, Brighton - 2000
Queerbashing
Drugs
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS
Positive Lives Survey - 1999
Gay Youth Suicides
Campaigning for Equality / Discrimination at work
Other sources


My 15 year-old son came out to me

Extracts from an article in The Observer, 19 October 2004, in which a mother explores how she felt, and what she discovered, when her son announced he was gay.

• It seemed rather young to be sure about anything (although I have since discovered that 15 is now the commonest age to come out. A decade agao it was 19).

• MIND have published a survey in September 2004 - the largest of its type ever undertaken in Europe - showing that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people suffer more from mental health problems than the rest of the population and that they are at greater risk of alcoholism and substance abuse. Young LGB people are three to seven times more likely to think about suicide or attempt it.

• Did he have any idea how narrow and bigoted people could be? I'd just read an article about Damilola Taylor which pointed out that he had been the victim of another attack, a few days before the one that killed him. Then, his assailants had taunted him with being gay. The possibility that his murder was homophobic was not even raised at the trial or subsequent public inquiry.

• New York has just opened the first public High School for LGB children.

• In 1989 a study commissioned by the US Department of Health revealed that across America a gay and lesbian youth commits suicide every 5 hours and 48 minutes. The figures have improved since then, as there is less stigma, and more role models on TV.

Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gay People - Fflag helpline | Tel 01454 852 418.

Ideas and suggestions for Coming Out


Gay Milestones

1993 Brookside features the first lesbian kiss on TV

1994 The homosexual age of consent in the UK is lowered from 21 to 18

1996 The General Synod rules that Anglican bishops will be able to protect gay priests from disciplinary tribunals

1997 The European Court of Human Rights rules that a lesbian couple looking after children under a joint residence order constitutes 'family life'

1999 Barrie Drewitt and Tony Barlow become the first same-sex UK couple legally entitled to register as parents when they father twins through a US surrogate mother

2000 The ban on homosexuals in the armed forces is lifted and the homosexual age of consent is lowered to 16

2002 The House of Lords passes measures to allow gay couples to adopt

2004 Canon Jeffrey John is appointed Bishop of Reading, only for the move to be shelved amid fears of evangelical opposition

2004 Section 28, which banned local authorities 'promoting' homosexuality, is finally removed from the state books.

The Observer, Sunday 19 September 2004

Gay dates through history

 


Gays accept abuse as part of life, says study

Gay people in Scotland are all too ready to accept physical and verbal abuse as part of life, according to a new study. The finding comes as part of the Beyond Barriers research which also shows that 20% of all gay people in Scotland are parents.

Their findings show that 79% of respondents had suffered verbal or physical abuse because of their sexuality. Even more disturbing was the finding that only 17 per cent of those who received abuse had reported it to the police, considering it would be a "waste of time."

The survey, which was the largest ever commissioned in Scotland, found that there are approximately half a million lesbian, gays and transgender people north of the border, roughly 10 per cent of the population.

33-year-old Keith Cowan, from Edinburgh, told the researchers that he ignored the insults he receives because of his sexuality and even brushed off an incident when youths hurled stones at him. "It is part of life if you are gay - you have to put up with abuse," he said: "Most of us never think it is serious enough to report it to the police and the police could not cope if every incident was reported."

"Homophobia and racism is now as much of a problem than sectarianism but I've yet to hear a politician in Scotland stand up and insist that something is done about it," Cowan added. Ruth Henry, manager of Beyond Barriers, said: "The survey confirms what we've known for years - that people do suffer a high level of homophobic abuse." "It is clear evidence we can present to the police and other agencies who usually just tell us, 'We don't have any statistics on that' and therefore do know how big a problem it is."

gay.com 19 February, 2004


Greater HIV risk for black gay men, says US study

New research from the US suggests that young, black gay men are more likely to be closeted than whites, and African Americans with hidden lives appear to have much higher HIV infection rates than their counterparts from other races.

According to a federal survey of more than 5,500 young gay and bisexual men released this month, 14 percent of black men who consider themselves closeted were found to be HIV-positive. The infection rates were less than half that for closeted whites and Hispanics.

But even openly gay black men aren't in the clear. Their AIDS infection rates were even higher, at 24 percent. The study findings provide more evidence that black men feel more pressure to live gay lives "on the down low" -- in the closet.

"African-Americans have faced a dilemma: to face the racism within the (lesbian and gay) community or the homophobia within the African-American community," said Stephen Thomas, director of the Center for Minority Health at the University of Pittsburgh, in an interview with HealthScoutNews.com.

The statistics come from interviews between 1994 and 2000 with gay and bisexual men at bars, nightclubs and other popular gathering spots in six cities (Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Seattle). The men, aged 15-29, were asked to rate their level of "outness" on a scale of one to seven. They also received HIV and hepatitis B tests. Researchers considered only 11 percent of all the men surveyed to be closeted because they said they were only out to a few people. But 18 percent of black men said they were closeted. In all ethnic groups, closeted men were much more likely than out men to consider themselves to be bisexual or even heterosexual.

Among all races, 11 percent of the most closeted men were infected with HIV, compared to 8 percent of those who were out. Nearly one in four "out" black men were HIV-positive, compared to 14 percent of those who were closeted. Black men were also much more likely to be infected with hepatitis B. One in five "out" black men were infected, and 23 percent of closeted men were. By comparison, the infection rates for whites and Hispanics ranged from 9 to15 percent. Thomas, the Center for Minority Health director, told HealthScoutNews.com that health workers don't know the best ways to reach young, gay black men.

"The truth of this matter is we don't have any concrete, science-based interventions for this population," he said. "This is the group that's going to not only get infected themselves but are going to drive infection into larger populations and large communities, and that should be a concern for everyone."

Randy Dotinga, Gay.com/PlanetOut.com Network Tuesday 11 February, 2004


Count Me In, survey Brighton 2000

In order to prepare a LGBT Community Strategy for Brighton & Hove, a needs assessment survey called Count Me In was conducted through 1145 questionnaires in July 2000. The key findings are as follows:

About You

- Male respondents identified as being LGBT earlier in life than female respondents.

- Whilst most respondents were out to their friends, almost 20 per cent were not out to any of their neighbours and 10 per cent were not out to any of their birth family.

- Women were far more likely than men to be in a relationship and were in their current relationship for a longer time than men.

- 30 per cent of the sample had been married to or in a long-term relationship with someone of the opposite sex, and women were far more likely to have been in one than men.

- One in seven are in education

- The sample significantly over-represents the number of people with high educational qualifications

- In contrast to the national picture, women in this survey were more likley to have a degree or postgraduate degree.

- The study confirms national data that men earn more than women.

- Sixty per cent of the sample in employment contribute to a pension; however, only one third of those earning less than £15,000 a year contribute to one.

About where you live

- Ninety per cent of the sample live in Brighton & Hove (B&H)

- Of those who don't, one in seven work in B&H, and many work on the South Coast. This suggests that there is a high level of social migration into B&H.

- The main reason for moving into B&H was the LGBT scene and community

- Over half the respondents own their own homes.

- Almost half the women in the sample live with a partner, and are more likely than men to live with children, pets and lesbian friends. Men are more likely than women to live alone or with gay freinds. Many men and women would prefer to live with a partner.

- Almost 10 per cent reported that they had experienced a problem in getting a mortgage or life assurance in the last five years because of being LGBT.

- The proportion of those who reported that they voted at the 1997 General Election is slightly higher than the national average turn-out.

About your Work

- Over three quarters of the sample were in employment - those with high HEQ were more likely to be in employment than those with low HEQ.

- Nearly a third of those not in employment were disabled and nearly a quarter were retired.

- Forty per cent of people in employment said that either their employer did not have an equal opportunities policy that protects them as a LGBT person or that they weren't sure.

- Only a quarter of people in employment said that the terms and conditions of their employment offered equal benefits to same-sex partners as to heterosexual partners.

- Tow-thirds of those in employment said they would feel safe reporting abuse, harassment or discrimination against them as a LGBT person to their employer.

- A quarter of the sample said that they had ever experienced abuse, harassment or discrimination at work for being LGBT - almost two-thirds of those didn't report it to their employer, and men were less likely to report it than women.

- One in 14 of the total sample said that they had experienced abuse, harassment or discrimination at work for being LGBT in the last 12 months.

- Less than 40 per cent of the total sample reported to be a member of a union or professional body.

About Your Health

- A quarter of the sample had a long-term illness, health problem or disability.

- A slightly higher percentage of people reported that they had ME than is estimated in the general population.

- Two-thirds of men have had an HIV antibody test.

- One in six men who've tested were diagnosed with HIV.

- A larger proportion of women in the survey drink in excess of recommended limits (14 units) than is reported among women in the general population.

- More than a third of the sample are smokers, which is higher than is found in the general population.

- Less than half the sample were out to their GP, and women were more likley to be out than men.

- Less than half the sample were confident that their GP has a non-judgemental approach towards LGBT people.

- Twenty per cent said that LGBT friendliness was a factor in choosing a GP.

- Half the sample said that they would prefer to use a GP clinic / service that was specificially for them as a LGBT person.

- One in seven of the sample indicated that they were disabled - the largest type of diisability was arthritis / joint problems, followed by HIV/AIDS.

- Disabled people are significantly less likely to report a high income than non-disabled people.

- Twenty per cent of disabled respondents reported that they had been prevented from using LGBT venues.

- One in seven people were prescribed medicine in the past 12 months for depression, which is higher than in the general population. The figure increased to twenty per cent of the sample aged under 24.

- Almost twenty per cent of the sample had ever attempted suicide.

- Ten per cent of the sample report ever self-harming.

- Thirty percent said that they felt they needed counselling/therapy for any reason.

- Sixty per cent had ever been to a counsellor or therapist, with women significantly more likely to have been than men.

- One in seven of those who had seen a counsellor or therapist said that being LGBT had been inappropriately seen as contributing to their problems.

- One third said that they had been prevented from using a counsellor or therapist because of the cost.

- One in eight men aged under 25 had been paid to have sex in the year before the survey.

- Ten per cent of men had paid for sex in the year before survey.

- Two-thirds of women aged 50-69 had attended a breast-screen in the five years prior to survey.

- The number of women aged 50-64 attending for breast screening is lower than the national average.

- The number of women aged 24-64 attending for cervical screening is lower than the English national average.

- Almost one third of women reported that a GP or practice nurse had asked them inappropriate questions about contraception.

- One third of women had been referred to a hospital or clinic for gynaecological problems. Of those who had been referred, only one in 14 rated the service they received in relation to their sexual orientation as good or very good.

- One in three women had ever had a sexual health check.

- Half of the men in the survey were vaccinated against Hepatitis B and forty per cent against Hepatitis A.

- One in seven men have not examined their testicles for lumps.

- One in six men said their GP or practice nurse had raised the issue of testicular cancer with them.

You and your Community

- A quarter said that there were no or few safe opportunities to meet other LGBT people socially off the commercial scene.

- Almost a third rarely or never use the commercial LGBT scene in Brighton and Hove.

- The three LGBT venues most visited in B&H are Revenge, The Marlborough and The Amsterdam.

- Twenty per cent people felt unsafe or very unsafe socialising on the straight commercial scene in Brighton.

- Twenty per cent socialise on the LGBT scene in London at least monthly.

- The main reasons preventing use of the LGBT scene in B&H were reported to be money/affordability, the smoke-filled environment, the music, and being too much of a 'meat market'.

- Eighty per cent felt it was important to keep a historical record of the lives and experiences of LGBT people in B&H.

- One in six people had volunteered for a LGBT voluntary or community group in the last year.

You and your Children

- More than a quarter of women were thinking about having children.

- The most popular suggested means for having children was reported to be articial insemination.

- One in twenty men said that they were thinking about/donating sperm, two thirds of whom intended having a role in the child's upbringing.

- One in eight respondents have children, the vast majority of whom are a biological parent.

- One in six of those respondents with children said that being LGBT had been used to try and prevent them having custody or access to the child / children.

- More than half of the respondents with school-age children said that the child's school knew about their family structure. Although more than half of the schools were supportive, only one in twenty schools taught about their type of family structure.

- One in seven respondents with children said that their child had been bullied at school over their family structure.

Personal and Community Safety

- Less than half the sample said they felt safe when arriving at or leaving LGBT venues. The main reasons for feeling unsafe were youths gathering and feeling vulnerable to abuse or attack.

- Women were more likley than men to feel unsafe through poor street lighting.

- Forty per cent said that their safety concerns or fear of homophobia had led to them avoiding coming out to someone in the last 12 months and half said it had led them to avoid at least one location or facility in the last 12 months in B&H.

- Two thirds said that safety concerns or fear of homophobia had led them to change their behaviour (such as showing affection to someone of the same sex) in public in the last year.

- Twenty per cent reported that concerns about homophobia had affected them in at least one aspect of their life in the last 12 months (such as changing job or accommodation).

- Nearly sixty per cent had ever experienced abuse, violence or harassment outside of the home - over half listed their sexual orientation as related to the experience.

- A third had ever experienced abuse, violence or harassment inside of the home - 60 per cent of these characterised the event as domestic violence.

- Respondents were more likely to seek formal support for incidents inside the home than those outside it.

- Half of those who reported abuse violence or harassment inside or outside the home to the police evaluated their treatment as poor or very poor.

- A third of people said that they had ever been pressured or forecd to have sex against their will - half of these characterised the event as rape.

- Over 90 per cent of those who had been pressured or forced to have sex against their will did not report any of the incidents to the police. Of those who did, a third evaluated their treatment as poor or very poor.

- Over half the sample said that there are areas in town that they avoid because the consider them to be dangerous or intimidating - the most frequently listed area was the Whitehawk estate.

About the Services you use

- Men were generally more confident than women using services for issues related and unrelated to their sexual orientation.

- When in a crisis women were significantly more likely than men to turn to their partner or a counsellor, while men were significantly less likely than women to seek support from others.

- Twenty per cent of respondents had ever tried to seek legal advice about a matter related to being LGBT, of whom a third had experienced difficulties finding that advice.

- A quarter had used a LGBT-specific support service.

- Ninety per cent said that they would find a directory of LGBT-specific services to be helpful.

- Over half said that they don't believe the views of LGBTs are taken into account when planning local services.

- Two-thirds of people have regular access to the Internet, and half the sample have access at home. Two thirds of people have an email address.

- More people had used the Internet for information and advice than any other purpose. Men were significantly more likely than women to report internet use for shopping, chat and cruising / sex.

- The most popular LGBT media is G-Scene.

- The most popular mainstream media is The Guardian.

- Respondent's preferred medium to get information about LGBT news, services and listings is local lesbian and gay press.

Count Me In, findings published June 2001

Researched by Dale Webb and David Wright of University of Southampton
Sponsored by East Sussex, Brighton and Hove Health Authority, Brighton & Hove Regeneration Partnership, Brighton & Hove Primary Care Group, and Brighton & Hove Council.

The Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Strategy was prepared by
The Associates, 21 Victoria Road, Manchester, M16 8GP


Homophobic Violence

The Met Police have been monitoring a range of homophobic violence - including verbal abuse, property damage, threats and actual assault - and In the first six months of 2001, 745 incidents were recorded:

  • 87% were male victims.
  • Less than one in five incidents are actually reported
  • 75% of victims who did report the crime would do so again
  • Incidents are spread evenly across days of the week, main times 3pm to 3am
  • 40% of cases involved physical injuries
  • 60% of incidents involved one victim and one suspect, usually neighbours, local youths or other people known to the victim
  • same-sex domestic violence has similar patterns to heterosexuals
  • 75% of victims were on their own, 20% were with their partner, 5% were in a group.

(Source: met Police June 2002)

Queerbashing

One in three gay men and one in four lesbians have been queerbashed in the last five years according to a survey of homophobic violence conducted by the Stonewall Group. 4,200 responses were received, and found that for under-18s the figures were even higher. Avoidance techniques were adopted, with 88 per cent avoiding holding hands or kissing in public, 65 per cent avoiding telling people they are gay, and 59 per cent avoiding looking 'obviously gay'.

The defence of 'homosexual panic' has been used at least 15 times in the last ten years to reduce charges from murder to manslaughter.

(Source: Gay Times, June 1996)



Drugs

In a survey of Gay Times readers:

Cannabis- 76 per cent have used Cannabis, with over a third using it at least once a month
Ecstacy - 48 per cent had tried E, with 20 per cent taking it at least once a month
Speed - 57 per cent had taken Speed
Coke- 40 per cent had tried Coke with around half of these people using it regularly
Acid - 48 per cent have tried LSD, but over half have stopped.

(Source: Gay Times, September 1996)


HIV/AIDS

RISKS

According to a report by Kimberly Page-Shafer, an epidemiologist at the University of California, the risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is 4 in 10,000. The risk through anal sex with a condom is 18 in 1,000.

Source: Pink Paper 2 November 2001.

 

HIV Facts and Figures


United kingdom - National AIDS Trust

The World - UNAIDS

 

Latest UK statistics need careful interpretation In this piece for NAT?s journal Impact,
Barry Evans of the Public Health Laboratory Service interprets the latest UK?s HIV and AIDS statistics.

While the UK?s epidemic remains small compared to that of other countries, it is nonetheless significant: HIV is endemic in the UK ? in other words it is not going to go away. We continue to see an increase in new infections, while deaths from AIDS have declined: people living with HIV in the UK are growing in number and living longer. There was an increase of HIV diagnosis of 10% from 1997 to 1998, and a further 6% from 1998 to 1999. ? In contrast, although AIDS case reports have fallen again, this is only by 3% (522 to 507). Deaths have increased by a small number on the 1998 prompt reports figure (357 to 363) ? perhaps reflecting that highly active antiretroviral therapy may have achieved its maximum potential, at least for the time being, in reducing the numbers progressing to AIDS and death.

? In 1999 for the first time in the UK diagnoses of heterosexually acquired infections exceeded those in men who have sex with men. Although more diagnosed infections were acquired heterosexually, within the UK men who have sex with men remain the group most at risk of acquiring HIV. Most of the heterosexual infections were acquired abroad mostly in sub Saharan Africa. The other/ undetermined category will decrease as these infections are assigned exposure category when further following up with clinicians reporting is undertaken. ? There has been an increased uptake of antenatal HIV testing in the first six months of 1999 in inner London, (the last period for which data are currently available).


Source: Public Health Laboratory Service AIDS Centre May 2000


Other links for HIV and World AIDS Day

Local HIV Organisations

Richard Hollingsworth's life with HIV webcast

Essex Schools Education Unit- 40% of 11 year olds have not heard of the virus!

Department of Health- 1,174 young people aged 15-19 are HIV+

Health Initiatives for Young People- 16% of 15 year olds thought HIV could be caught from a toilet seat!

Whatudo - putting young people in touch with the facts and each other

Personal Accounts- touching personal stories

Aids Education Research Trust

Terrence Higgins Trust - one-stop shop for information

UN Aids Site - 5.3 new cases since last World AIDS Day

UN Aids Clock- chilling countdown of the epidemic

Alternative Medicine & Chatrooms

Doctors' Online Advice

Advice on Personal Choices

UN Africa Report

Treatment Action Campaign

National Aids Memorial

Crusaid - the national fundraiser for HIV AIDS

ActUP - the direct action campaigners

Dr Robert Gallo - does HIV really cause AIDS?

AIDS Myths

 


Positive Lives Survey 1999

In a survey carried out by Pink Paper's Positive Lives campaign and ID Research in summer 1999 nearly 1000 HIV-positive gay men were interviewed. Among the findings were:

Employment questions
- 50 per cent agreed 'I want a job so I can increase my income'
- 48 per cent agreed 'I would find it difficult to work and keep clinic appointments'
- 49 per cent agreed 'I am not considering employment because I am concerned about failing health'.

Why use the clinic you attend?
- 60 per cent thougt it gay-friendly
- 59 per cent thought they had access to the best treatments
- 58 percent 'because they had always used it' Service received
- 57 per cent found quality of treatment excellent
- 36 per cent said it was good - one per cent throught it poor or very poor

How gay-friendly is your clinic?
- 55 per cent said excellent
- 36 per cent said it was good
- two per cent said poor or very poor

How important are the services?
- a designated pharamcy was very important for 51 per cent and important for 21 per cent
- a one-stop shop with many different services was very important for 43 per cent and important for 31 per cent
- 24-hour on-call services were very important for 52 per cent and important for 19 per cent

Non-clinical services
- 75 per cent had never attended a workshop about HIV
- 67 per cent never use treatment helplines or AIDS helplines
- 43 per cent never use drop-in centres or support groups (only 6 per cent said they do use them)

Combination therapies
- in 1997 Positive Lives found 65 per cent were taking combination anti-HIV therapy
- in 1999 this has risen to 73 per cent
- of the 20 per cent have never taken anti-HIV therapy, most decided not to because they are still healthy
- none of those not on therapy stated that it was being withheld from them
- 86 per cent feel they have enough say in decisions about their anti-HIV treatment most of the time

Adherence
- 10 per cent said they do not take their drugs correctly every week
- 18 per cent said they do not take their drugs correctly every few weeks
- 35 per cent said they do not take their drugs correctly every few months
- 44 per cent said they do not tell their doctor when they have not taken their anti-HIV drugs at the right time or in the right way.

Internet
- 53.2 per cent do not use the internet
- 46.8 per cent do use the internet
- of whom 28 per cent say on-line advice is very important and 31 per cent quite important

ID Research 020 7697 0426
Pink Paper 020 7296 6000



Gay Youth Suicides

In 1992 The Department of Health set a target to reduce the suicide rate among the general poluation by 15 per cent by the year 2000.. A group called 'Esteem' is currently researching attempted suicide rates among the lesbian, gay and bisexual young people as it is believed that the rates are alarmingly high.

Gay and Bisexual Youth Suicide Studies - USA

Elevated rates of suicidal behaviour in gay, lesbian and bisexual youth - UK


UNPROTECTED SEX IS ON THE INCREASE - a survey of 6,600 gay men by University College London has found that 38 per cent admitted having unprotected anal intercourse in the past year, compared to 32 per cent in 1996. Another survey of 10,000 gay men by the Terrence Higgins Trust found that 45 per cent had unprotected anal sex in 1999, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year. GMFA | Gay Men, AIDS and Safer Sex. | THT. | 2 June 2000

SCREENING FOR ANAL CANCER COULD SAVE GAY LIVES - Smear tests for gay men, similar to those used to identify cervical cancer in women, could be used to identify anal cancer early, which affects up to 35 gay men per 100,000, says Harvard School of Public Health | 1 June 2000



Gay men Fighting AIDS

A 1992 GMFA survey found only a third of HIV projects were targetting gay men. By 1994, 84 per cent of health authorities were funding gay men's work thanks to agitation and work by Gay Men Fighting AIDS and other groups.The National AIDS Trust has published a report Are Health Authorities Failing Gay Men?



Campaigning for Equality

The Stonewall Lobbying Group campaigns for homosexual equality, and played a leading role in the reduction of the age of consent to 16 years, and the Repeal of Section 28. They publish a regular newsletter which includes details of their research projects looking at relavnt issues such as harrassement and discrimination in employment, and the incidence of physical assault faced by lesbians and gay men, especially Homophobic Bullying.

Discrimination at work

Research in 2000 showed that 44 per cent of lesbians and gay men have experienced discrimination at work on grounds of their sexual orientation. 74 per cent of the general public believe that lesbians and gay men should not be sacked from their jobs because of their sexual orientation, and almost three quarters believe that lesbian and gay staff should not be treated less favourably because of the sexual orientation.

Source: TUC/BMRB International Poll, 2000
Stonewall Lobby Group



Other sources

Centre for Applied Research in Education - University of East Anglia

National AIDS Trust. Tel 020 7814 6767.

The Terrence Higgins Trust. Tel 020 7831 0330.

Gay Times

National AIDS Manual - NAM

Stonewall Lobby Group

Gay Business Association

Campaigning and Political Groups

 



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