The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

PR LGBT Tobacco Survey

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting on the 1st ever LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico

 

I had the joy of attending the history-making LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico. There were some fascinating reports and presentations with useful resources and information with fabulous panelists, presenters and participants. There was a huge emphasis on tobacco in the community throughout the conference and one of the workshops below directly addresses tobacco.

Dr. Elba (second from left)

Dr. Elba Días Toro presented on cancer research and tobacco use on her survey of 1,500 participants in PR.  This survey received advice of the Network in its development. Dr. Toro and her team looked for instruments that were used in the United States for the LGBT community to improve survey. The survey was also available at this Summit for participants to take.

So far the results are showing that 40% LGBT smoke regularly which is significant because only 16% of U.S. population smokes. Interestingly, LGBT Puerto Rican smokers are more interested in quitting than general population of smokers. However, it seems there are unique obstacles to quitting that participants expressed such as fear of quitting, use of tobacco for stress and lack of resources. Menthol use is a widely used among LGBT people in PR too which seems to disproportionately affect communities of color.

It was also found that participants wanted their doctors to be more culturally competent and understand needs. Many participants didn’t care whether the tobacco industry targeted their communities, but they did think there should be more smoke-free spaces and quitlines. Some of the priorities of the LGBT community were factors related to tobacco such as Asthma, insomnia and anxiety.

This survey is so vital as it shows the specific needs of the PR LGBT community which is already showing their unique but similar situations and needs.

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March 2, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

Cumbre Pro Salud LGBTT Puertorriqueña/PR LGBT Health Summit

M. Alvarez

Guest blogger, reporting on PR LGBT Health Summit

La 1ra Cumbre Pro Salud LGBTT Puertorriqueña comenzó con conferencias de Francisco Dueñas de lambda legal,  Sheila Rodríguez sobre Trans en PR e Ines Parks en la prevención y control de tabaco. La primera sesión concurrente constó de salud para la mujer lesbiana y bisexual en donde se expusieron diferentes temas que abarcan la salud femenina. Olga Orraca comienza la sesión discutiendo que ser lesbiana o bisexual no es un riesgo para la salud. Es importante estar fuera del closet con los profesionales de la salud, ya que el estar en el closet nos afecta en la salud y nuestro bienestar físico,  viviendo en el encierro tenemos más tendencia a caer en el descontrol de alimentación o abuso de sustancias controladas.  La mejor manera de saber si un médico es “LGBTT friendly” es preguntando a conocidos, amistades, familiares y al mismo médico.

Jackeline Cruz plantea los miedos y problemas a los que nos enfrentamos las mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales en cuanto a  la salud vaginal. Hay falta de información de la salud vaginal porque no se habla, y hay mucha connotación vulgar de los términos en la salud vaginal. Es importante como mujer poder hacernos un monitoreo de la vulva/vagina. Esto nos ayudará a  tener mejor aceptación de nosotras mismas, poder prevenir situaciones comunicándole al medico los cambios que notamos y de vez protegernos. Luego Ivette Díaz, trajo el tema de madres lesbianas y retos en la crianza. Hay diferentes retos según la constitución de la familia, ya sea porque la pareja viene de relación heterosexual con hijo y entra en relación lésbica,  madre que vive con hijos pero no convive bajo el mismo techo con su pareja, madre que decidió hacer inseminación, auto-inseminación o adopción. Los retos más grandes que se presentan es trabajar con las ex parejas (en caso que venga de una relación heterosexual), si es inseminación inscribirlo legalmente o adopción como madre soltera ya que el estado no reconoce legalmente la adopción en parejas del mismo sexo.

Mabel Lopez  termina la sesión con el tema de  la violencia domestica en parejas de mujeres lesbianas. No hay ningún tipo de inclusión en los servicios de apoyo ni en las leyes de protección para trabajar con las personas LGBTT.  el gobierno invisibilisa al ciudadano LGBTT. En un estudio que realizó a 7 mujeres se estudiaba la relación de éstas y sus parejas como victima de violencia domestica.  Dentro de las conclusiones del estudio la que encontraron más importante y más pertinente es que es necesario incluir las relaciones de pareja de todo tipo en la ley 54.

Definitivamente estos temas deben ser expandidos ya que el tiempo traiciona y no se puede cubrir todas las dudas que tenemos las mujeres en cuanto a nuestra salud. Una pregunta que surgió entre las participantes es si es correcto que un ginecólogo le diga a una paciente, identificada como lesbiana, que no debe hacerse del PAP anualmente ya que no tiene relaciones sexuales de penetración. Profesionales como estos son los que mantienen confundidas y desorientadas a muchas mujeres que, por una razón u otra, no tienen la plena confianza con su médico de hablar abiertamente de su sexualidad.

De izq a derecha: Beatriz Febus (moderadora); Jackeline Cruz; Ivette Díaz; Olga Orraca y Mabel Lopez

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Blogs en español, Puerto Rico | | 2 Comments

Is your mom a lesbian? I don’t know, but she speaks spanish!

M. Alvarez

Guest blogger, reporting on PR LGBT Health Summit

The Puerto Rico LGBTT Health Summit began with Francisco Dueñas, from Lambda Legal, talking about healthcare not being caring; Sheila Rodriguez who spoke about the Trans Community in PR; and Ines Parks on tobacco control and prevention. The first concurrent session consisted of health for lesbian and bisexual women where they demonstrated various topics covering women’s health.

Olga Orraca begins the session by arguing that being a lesbian or bisexual is not a health risk. It is important to be out of the closet with health professionals as being in the closet affects our health, women living in “the closet” have more tendencies to fall into eating disorder or the abuse of controlled substances. The best way to know whether a doctor is “LGBTT friendly” is to ask acquaintances, friends, family and doctors themselves.

Jackeline Cruz educates on fears and problems that we, lesbian and bisexual women, face in terms of vaginal health. There is a lack of vaginal health information because it is not spoken because of the many vulgar connotations of terms in vaginal health. It is important to us as women to monitor the vulva / vagina. This will help us to have a greater acceptance of ourselves and to prevent situations being able to tell our doctors about any noticeable changes.

Then Ivette Diaz, brought the issue of lesbian mothers and parenting challenges. There are several challenges according to the constitution of the family, either because one of the partners comes from a heterosexual relationship with a child or is a lesbian mother living with children but does not live under the same roof with her partner, a mother who decided to have insemination, or self-insemination, or adoption. The biggest challenges are to work with former partners (if coming from a heterosexual relationship), if insemination or adoption to legally enroll as a single mother, because the state law does not recognize adoption in same-sex couples. One of the participants asked her what are the issues kids with two moms have to deal at school, to this Díaz answers that her kid was asked at a school in Texas, “is your mom a lesbian?” and he answered Ï don’t know, but she speaks spanish.”

Mabel Lopez ends the session with the issue of domestic violence in lesbian couples. There is no inclusion in the support services or the laws of protection for LGBTT victims, the government makes invisible LGBTT citizens. In a study, made to 7 women, she learned their relationship with their partners as victims of domestic violence. In the conclusions of the study, they found most important and more pertinent that it is necessary to include relationships of all kinds in the law 54, Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law.

Definitely these issues should be expanded as time is limited and cannot cover all the questions women have about our health. A question that arose among the participants is whether it is right that a gynecologist tell a patient, identified as lesbian; she should not do annually the PAP because she doesn’t have sexual relationship with men. Professionals like these are what remain confused and disoriented to many women who for one reason or another, are not fully trust your doctor to talk openly about their sexuality.

From left to right: Beatriz Febus (moderator); Jackeline Cruz; Ivette Díaz; Olga Orraca and Mabel Lopez

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

   

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