Health barriers can create health challenges, and this is where the issue arises when you are a minority trying to find health. Queer people have and face some pretty unique and complex health needs that their straight and cisgender counterparts don’t face. As a queer person, I feel iffy about going to the doctors, and before I found a doctor that I was conformable with, I rarely went to the hospital.
I haven’t stepped foot in a hospital for over 10 years, and I would self-medicate myself because I am a queer and non-binary person of color. As queer people, we often fear seeking medical attention because we fear the judgment of health care providers. So, without further ado, let’s get into the blog and learn some of the tips to take care of your health as a queer man.
1. Tackle depression
According to research, queer men who have sex with other men have a higher risk of having depression and anxiety. If you are reluctant to seek treatment, then you can confide in a loved one or a close friend. However, I can stress this enough there should be no shame attached to seeking help.
Sharing your feeling is one step toward getting help, but this is usually the hardest step to take. As a queer person, you go through a lot of hardship, and one thing that a lot of us suffer from is body dysmorphia, and this might be something that we don’t feel comfortable talking to just anyone. However, talking about these issues will help you in the long run, and it is the first set toward loving yourself.
2. Body image
Queer people of color are doubly marginalized even within their own community. One thing that we all know is rampant in the queer community is body shaming and racism. Gay men are more likely to experience body dysmorphia and eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia than their straight counterparts.
Part of this discourse stems from dating sites and how we are judged based on how we look. One explanation for this might be because most queer men grew up with the image of slender and effeminate gay men or muscle daddies (men with muscular bodies) as the ideal body type.
This is why some of us are excessively worried about how we look and how much we weigh. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, then seek help and talk to a mental health provider about potential treatment options. Again, the taboo behind getting help needs to be stripped because if you need help, you should get it and be afraid to do so.
3. Substance abuse
In the United States, gay men are more likely to smoke compared to heterosexual men, and they are also more likely to deal with alcoholism than the general population. This also stems from the fact that most queer spaces are foregrounded in the nightlife scenes and queer men. Most queer safe spaces are bars, which might be one reason why queer people are more likely to consume and use drugs for recreational purposes.
STIs, better known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases, is a major concern for queer men. Here are some tips or advice for protecting yourself from STI or HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus):
- PrEP: Also known as Pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a way for people who don’t have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. It is also used as an HIV treatment alongside other medications. Drugs like Truvada can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection in those who are at high risk.
- Protection: Use condoms every time you have sex, especially during anal intercourse. Use a water-based lubricant and not body lotions, oils, or petroleum jelly when having sex. One reason for this is that oil-based lubricants can weaken latex condoms and cause them to break, which can lead to you contracting an STI.
- Get Tested: Don’t have unprotected sex unless you and your partner have been tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Getting tested is very important and is something you should do pretty often as not everyone is honest about their status.
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