Women have to make gay helath policy – where are the gay men?
Gay sexual health policy driven too much by women
For years I have been at meetings where discussion of sexual health messaging, policy and procedures is taking place. Too often these meetings are dominated by women. Few men and often I am one of the only or few gay guys there. Of course many meetings happen that I am not part of but it seems like most of these meetings are dominated by women.
I was told by a gay guy that he attended a half day meeting about spending the $50 million dollars for BC HIV “prevention” (this is another story for next time, 50 million for what?), he said the presenters never mentioned the words gay, MSM, homosexual. But there was discussion on mother to child transmission, which has happens much less than one time a year. I must add that the women try hard to understand gay men’s issues. Not long ago I was at a meeting (the only gay guy in the room), it was about gay men’s sexual health issues. There was discussion about a new term “pig sex”, and this was being explained to all assembled. It feels strange to be sitting with a bunch of straight females talking about gay guys having “pig sex” (as a new phenomenon). Where are the gay men in these discussions? If gay men are not part of the discussions then who will try to understand our needs, someone has to. It is not easy for someone outside the community to fully understand, it is hard work for these people, they need our help.
An example of this kind of ineffective practice is a situation where men would be telling women about what being pregnant is like. They can talk about it and have an understanding of the concept of pregnancy but they can never know pregnancy the way a women can. The women often involved in gay health research, know their limitations, want to understand and want to help gay guys live a healthy life. I have always felt welcomed and my comments as a gay guy are always greatly appreciated, but ultimately most policy and procedural decisions about treating gay guys are made not by gay guys but by straight women and straight men.
HIV education needs to acknowledge as a basic truth that sex for gay men isn’t just a collection of physical practices to be modified. It’s how we relate, how we connect, and yes, love. Understanding that is where HIV education needs to start. I modified this quote from:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/9/3/896919/-WGLB-presentsYou-Cant-Handle-the-Truth%21:-Gay-Men-and-HIV-Education It is an interesting article that examines some of these issues in more depth.
Gay guys are the largest group of new infections of HIV, by far! Gay guys are the largest group of group of new syphilis cases by far. If gay guys are such a large group of the sexual health clients then where are they in being included in part of the solution. It seems like HIM (Health Initiative for Men), and PWA are well placed to have or develop their expertise in sexual health of gay men, and should be a permanent consultant to all discussions about policies and procedures relating to gay men. I do not think they are asked for their input and understandings very often. Gay men should be a main part of all training of sexual health nurses, because they are the main part of the positive syphilis