Three Roadblocks LGBTQ Girls Face in Health Areas


You wouldn’t suppose that sexual orientation has any affect on bodily exercise ranges, particularly should you determine as heterosexual — however the unlucky actuality is that it might probably, and sometimes does. Being a “sexual minority” is like belonging to an successfully invisible minority group, which means that until your sexual orientation is disclosed individuals will typically simply assume you might be heterosexual.

Consider heterosexuality just like the “default” choice in society.

If you happen to naturally match into the default, then you definitely most likely haven’t needed to give your sexual orientation and the varied influences it could have on you a lot thought.

Nevertheless, should you deviate from heterosexuality then you definitely’re most likely aggravatingly conscious of how society is constructed to favour these to stick to its norms.

Latest literature has proven that sexual minority ladies (when in comparison with their heterosexual counterparts) pattern in direction of decrease ranges of bodily exercise, which in flip runs parallel to reviews of elevated weight problems charges amongst sexual minority ladies.1,2,four,5,eight,13,21,24

For instance, one examine estimates that sexual minority ladies are twice as more likely to be chubby or overweight that heterosexual ladies.25

However why? Why are sexual minority seemingly doomed to keep away from bodily exercise? Public well being traits are extraordinarily nuanced and associated to a multiplicity of things — however listed below are three potential components.


Though we’re slowly inching in direction of inclusivity, heterosexism (or homophobia) remains to be very a lot ingrained inside our society. Subsequently, homophobia can take many types.

It may be loud and overt like being requested to depart the locker room,6 it may be institutionalized like the dearth of same-sex household memberships to health services,four,5 or it may be delicate and packaged with a smile like when your cheerful health teacher instantly assumes you’re figuring out for that candy male gaze (a.okay.a. your boyfriend).12

Locker rooms are a key part to accessing health services — sadly, they’re gendered. As such, patrons of locker rooms (so as to defend the implicit heterosexuality inside the boy vs. woman divide) typically interject after they really feel like somebody doesn’t belong in that area.

For sexual minority ladies, particularly after they current extra masculine, which means that individuals typically stare, gawk, ask them to depart, or get some authority determine to have them eliminated.6,12

If somebody is utilizing a gendered area, simply assume that they know their gender higher than you ever may — please don’t enact gender policing, as a substitute foster gender variant assist.

Relying on the health facility, household memberships may be included of their roster of promotional packages. Sometimes, the wonderful print of those memberships dictate household consists of a person, a lady and their offspring. Consequently, LGBTQIA2S+ households that deviate from the archetype nuclear household aren’t eligible to save cash whereas selling health of their household.four,5 As we proceed to query the seemingly obligatory nature of heterosexual household buildings hopefully these discriminatory insurance policies will change.

Health lessons are completely superb, particularly group health lessons the place you possibly can sweat and be social all on the similar time. Health instructors, in coping with a big group of scholars, typically depend on blanket statements to assist inspire individuals. One trope in health is that any female-bodied particular person should be figuring out to switch appearances to make themselves extra engaging to males.12

Clearly there’s a lot unsuitable with that assumption, for hetoersexual and sexual minority ladies alike. Fortunately, workshops at the moment are being created to offer health professionals the correct coaching to keep away from these frequent pitfalls (e.g., Queerflex, based mostly in Edmonton, AB, affords LGBTQIA2S+ Health Accessibility Coaching workshops, aimed toward health professionals and health services alike).

The Athletic Lesbian Stereotype

Now this level could seem counterintuitive. You might be pondering — it’s a stereotype for a cause. Admittedly you’re proper — athletics have lengthy been acknowledged as a refuge for lesbians.7,11 Sports activities, particularly sports activities related to masculinity, have attracted sexual minority ladies since nicely… eternally.

The commonest (and most offensive) principle is that sexual minority ladies are inherently extra masculine than heterosexual ladies, and are subsequently extra drawn to sports activities the place their masculinity is widely known. As a lesbian synchronized swimmer, I can guarantee you that’s not at all times the case however I’ve dated my fair proportion of hockey and rugby babes so you recognize, for no matter cause sure sports activities have increased sapphic tendencies.7,11

Nevertheless (and this will likely appear to be frequent sense), not all sexual minority ladies excel in sports activities — in truth, nearly all of them (much like the remainder of the inhabitants) don’t. It has been proven that this stereotype really generates excessive ranges of expectations for achievement which might be thought-about unrealistic and hectic for a lot of sexual minority ladies.Three,four,13

Dangerous Coping Mechanisms

Life may be hectic — it may be much more hectic for people who belong to 1 or a number of minority teams.18,19,20 variety of you’ll have stumbled throughout the time period, intersectionality, which is a posh and nuanced idea that refers back to the interconnectedness of social organizations equivalent to class, race, sexual orientation and gender.26,27,28

Minority identities can overlap, intersect and compound in quite a lot of ways in which sometimes culminates in psychological stress.18,19,20 To assist cope with the stresses in our lives we depend on quite a lot of coping mechanisms — the issues we do to assist us get by way of the day, month, 12 months, and so on.

Sadly, amongst sexual minority ladies (as nicely different LGBTQIA2S+ communities), the most well-liked coping mechanisms are smoking, alcohol abuse and substance abuse — all of which may be detrimental to 1’s total bodily well being.9,10,14,15,16,17,22,23

More often than not, LGBTQIA2S+ people depend on these coping mechanisms to numb themselves or escape from the constructing stresses of their lives. Given that every one of those substances may be extremely addictive, these coping mechanisms are considered as extremely dangerous behaviours.

How You Can Be a Higher Ally

So, what can we do to assist? As you’ll have been in a position to confirm there is no such thing as a easy reply to that query. My recommendation:

Bear in mind.
Be supportive.
Be current.

Attempt to not perpetuate stereotypes. Attempt to not assume that everybody is heterosexual. All I can ask is that you simply attempt (that’s all anybody can ask).

In case you are studying this text and do determine as a sexual minority however for no matter cause nothing on this article has resonated with you — then assist these in your group who might really feel in a different way.

Don’t negate others’ experiences on the premise that you simply haven’t shared in them.

Collectively, and solely collectively, can we make bodily exercise areas and practices safer for everybody — no matter who they love.


Barefoot, Okay. N., Warren, J. C., & Smalley, Okay. B. (2015). An examination of previous and present influences of rurality on lesbians’ chubby/weight problems dangers. LGBT Well being, 2(2), 154–161. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0112
Boehmer, U., & Bowen, D. J. (2009). Analyzing components linked to chubby and weight problems in ladies of various sexual orientations. Preventive Drugs, 48(four), 357–361. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.YPMED.2009.02.003
Bowen, D. J., Kreuter, M., Spring, B., Cofta-Woerpel, L., Linnan, L., Weiner, D., … Fernandez, M. (2009). How we design feasibility research. American Journal of Preventive Drugs, 36(5), 452–457. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2009.02.zero02
Brittain, D. R., Baillargeon, T., McElroy, M., Aaron, D. J., & Gyurcsik, N. C. (2006). Limitations to average bodily exercise in grownup lesbians. Girls & Well being, 43(1), 75–92. https://doi.org/10.1300/J013v43n01_05
Brittain, D. R., & Dinger, M. Okay. (2015). An examination of well being inequities amongst school college students by sexual orientation identification and intercourse. Journal of Public Well being Analysis, four(1), 414. https://doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2015.414
Browne, Okay. (2004). Genderism and the Rest room Downside: (re)materialising sexed websites, (re)creating sexed our bodies. Gender, Place & Tradition, 11(Three), 331–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369042000258668
Eng, H. (2008). Doing Sexuality in Sport. Journal of Homosexuality, 54(1–2), 103–123. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918360801951996
Garbers, S., McDonnell, C., Fogel, S. C., Eliason, M., Ingraham, N., McElroy, J. A., … Haynes, S. G. (2015). Getting old, weight, and well being amongst grownup lesbian and bisexual ladies: A metasynthesis of the multisite “wholesome weight initiative” focus teams. LGBT Well being, 2(2), 176–187. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0082
Corridor, J. M. (1990). Alcoholism in lesbians: Developmental, symbolic interactionist, and significant views. Well being Look after Girls Worldwide, 11(1), 89–107. https://doi.org/10.1080/07399339009515878
Heck, N. C., Livingston, N. A., Flentje, A., Oost, Okay., Stewart, B. T., & Cochran, B. N. (2014). Lowering danger for illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse: Highschool gay-straight alliances and lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender youth. Addictive Behaviors, 39(four), 824–828. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ADDBEH.2014.01.007
Hekma, G. (1998). “So long as they don’t make a problem of it… .” Journal of Homosexuality, 35(1), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1300/J082v35n01_01
Herrick, S. S. C., & Duncan, L. R. (2018a). A Qualitative Exploration of LGBTQ+ and Intersecting Identities Inside Bodily Exercise Contexts. Journal of Sport and Train Psychology, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2018-0090
Herrick, S. S. C., & Duncan, L. R. (2018b). A scientific scoping assessment of engagement in bodily exercise amongst LGBTQ+ adults. Journal of Bodily Exercise and Well being, 15(Three), 226–232. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2017-0292
Hughes, T. L., & Jacobson, Okay. M. (2003). Sexual orientation and girls’s smoking. Present Girls’s Well being Studies, Three(Three), 254–261. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12734037
Hughes, T. L., Johnson, T. P., & Matthews, A. Okay. (2008). Sexual Orientation and Smoking: Outcomes From a Multisite Girls’s Well being Examine. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(eight–9), 1218–1239. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826080801914170
Kerr, D., Ding, Okay., Burke, A., & Ott-Walter, Okay. (2015). An Alcohol, Tobacco, and Different Drug Use Comparability of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Undergraduate Girls. Substance Use & Misuse, 50(Three), 340–349. https://doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2014.980954
Mason, T. B., & Lewis, R. J. (2015). Minority Stress, Melancholy, Relationship High quality, and Alcohol Use: Associations with Chubby and Weight problems Amongst Partnered Younger Grownup Lesbians. LGBT Well being, 2(four), 333–340. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0053
Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice as stress: Conceptual and measurement issues. American Journal of Public Well being, 93(2), 262–265. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.93.2.262
Meyer, I. H. (2015). Resilience within the examine of minority stress and well being of sexual and gender minorities. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Range, 2(Three), 209–213. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000132
Meyer, I. H., & Frost, D. M. (2013). Minority stress and the well being of sexual minorities. Handbook of Psychology. Retrieved from http://healthinequity.com/websites/default/information/Minority%20stress%20and%20well being%20of%20sexual%20minorities.pdf
Molina, Y., Lehavot, Okay., Beadnell, B., & Simoni, J. (2014). Racial disparities in well being behaviors and circumstances amongst lesbian and bisexual ladies: The function of internalized stigma. LGBT Well being, 1(2), 131–139. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2013.0007
Mosbacher, D. (1988). Lesbian Alcohol and Substance Abuse. Psychiatric Annals, 18(1), 47–50. https://doi.org/10.3928/0048-5713-19880101-14
Tang, H., Greenwood, G. L., Cowling, D. W., Lloyd, J. C., Roeseler, A. G., & Bal, D. G. (2004). Cigarette Smoking Amongst Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals: How Severe a Downside? (United States). Most cancers Causes & Management, 15(eight), 797–803. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:CACO.0000043430.32410.69
Yancey, A. Okay., Cochran, S. D., Corliss, H. L., & Mays, V. M. (2003). Correlates of chubby and weight problems amongst lesbian and bisexual ladies. Preventive Drugs, 36(6), 676–683. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0091-7435(03)00020-Three
Boehmer, U., Bowen, D. J., & Bauer, G. R. (2007). Chubby and weight problems in sexual-minority ladies: proof from population-based knowledge. American Journal of Public Well being, 97(6), 1134-1140. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874217/
Cho, S., Crenshaw, Okay.W., & McCall, L. (2013). Towards a discipline of intersectionality research: Concept, purposes, and praxis. Indicators: Journal of Girls in Tradition and Society, 38(four), 785–810. https://www.jstor.org/steady/10.1086/669608?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Collins, P. (2002). Black feminist thought: Information, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Crenshaw, Okay. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identification politics, and violence towards ladies of coloration. Stanford Regulation Assessment, 43(6), 1241 https://www.jstor.org/steady/1229039

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button