On World AIDS day the LGBT community sends a message to the world. LGBT advocates claim that their community is disproportionately affected by an underestimated, invisible intersectional trauma – that of HIV and domestic violence.
Philip Burse, director of Voice, claims that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are not counted in the statistics of crime and health. He says that this makes it harder for service providers to get funding.
Because of sterotypes and the sociological heteronormativity (viewing the world through heterosexual lenses), domestic violence is overlooked in LGBT households. In consequence, even if when thinking about domestic violence people, including law enforcers, have the image of a man abusing a smaller women, the phenomenon is also present in LGBT couples, where the power dynamics are less visible.
When the issue of domestic violence merges with a health condition like HIV, things can get even worse. The more vulnerable a person is to abuse, the harder it is for them to come forward and address the issue.
Phillip Burse and Gabby Santos held a workshop on December 1, the World AIDS day. Their goal was to raise awareness among representatives of social services regarding the issues of HIV and domestic violence in the LGBT community.
During the workshop, Santos has given an example of a couple in which the abusive partner threatened their partner they won’t take them to the medical appointments if they tell anybody about the abuse.
HIV is the virus which causes AIDS, a disease that killed almost 40 million people since it was first documented, over 35 years ago. It is believed that in the world there are about 35 million people still living with it – something possible only with the help of medication.
AIDS and violence have a long history together. When it first appeared, AIDS was considered to be a “gay disease” because most of the documented cases were those of gay men affected and dying of the disease. When it first started to be observed at the heterosexual population, many people thought it was the gay men’s fault, so they started targeting and abusing gay persons.
All these stereotypes and stigma lead to the point where many LGBT people were waiting until the last moment to seek help when they suspected they got the disease. Thousands of people have died as a consequence.
In a speech given on World AIDS Day, president Obama declared that the LGBT community, together with Black, Latino, poor people and those injecting drugs are at a greater risk of getting HIV than other Americans so the US should focus on providing health access to vulnerable populations.
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