About & FAQ


Open Minded Health is a medical blog covering health news, information and research relevant for gender and sexual minority people. Open Minded Health is intended to be read by both the general public and medical professionals alike.

Open Minded Health is not intended to replace medical advice from a licensed health care professional. If you have concerns or questions about your health, please consult your physician.

You may find content here that squicks, upsets, or disgusts you. That’s just the nature of human gender, sex and sexuality. I try not to use upsetting images or phrases. Please keep an open mind and use discretion when reading Open Minded Health. The blog continues to evolve. If you want to see something different, let me know!

FAQ - CC BY 2.0 - flickr user eleaf

What is a “gender and sexual minority”? Why use that term?

“Gender and sexual minority” is a loose, flexible term. It roughly refers to people with minority sexual orientations, sexual behaviors, gender, and gender/sex-based expression. It embraces many different communities, who all have different needs and experiences.

Many are familiar with the term “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and the various alphabet soups that have emerged from LGBT. “Gender and sexual minority” shortens to GSM, so it’s shorter. GSM is also broader than LGBT.

GSM includes…

  • sexual orientation: lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual…
  • sexual behaviors: “kink”, BDSM, fetishes…
  • relationships: non-monogamy, polyamory, swinging…
  • biological sex variations: intersex, disorders of sexual development…
  • gender/sex mismatches: transgender, transsexual…
  • gender variations: gender fluid, genderqueer, neutrois/agender, two-spirit…
  • gender behaviors: cross-dressing, drag…

Gender and sexual minorities are discriminated against. In many countries it’s even illegal for gender and sexual minorities to be themselves. For some examples of discrimination in the United States, see the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom‘s Violence and Discrimination Survey (2008) or Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Some gender and sexual minorities have special health care needs. Few physicians are trained and know what those needs are. Some physicians are prejudiced against gender and sexual minorities for cultural or religious reasons. This has very real effects on the health and wellbeing of gender and sexual minorities. And that’s why Open Minded Health.

Because of the differences between gender and sexual minority groups some are more represented here on Open Minded Health than others. This is not meant to exclude anyone. Please understand that even if I don’t speak a lot about all gender and sexual minority groups, they are included in spirit.

I must give credit where credit is due. I was first introduced to the term “sexual minority” in Dr. Charles Moser’s book Health Care without Shame. While I’ve broadened the term since that first reading, I use it today because of his influence. Many thanks to him for all his good work on behalf of gender and sexual minorities.


What is trans? Cis?

Trans is Latin for “across”. It is also a shortening of transgender and/or transsexual. Cis is Latin for “on the same side as” and is a shortening of cisgender and/or cissexual. A cis person’s internal sense of gender is the same as their anatomical sex. Most people are cisgender.

There is considerable debate over the specific definitions of transgender vs transsexual. Transsexual is more commonly used in the medical literature. I use trans instead of either transgender or transsexual to be inclusive.

Who are you?

My name is Rose Lovell. I’m currently a medical student at the Frank H Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, in the class of 2018. I received a BS in Psychology in December 2012 from San Jose State University, a California State University. I hope to practice primary care medicine, with a special focus in providing care medically undeserved communities (especially gender and sexual minorities).

What’s with the rainbow snake?

It is the rod of Asclepius, the symbol for medicine and healing. The rainbow was added as a symbol of diversity.


Please! Especially if I’ve provided an incorrect piece of information or used terminology which was offensive. You’re welcome to comment, or you can send me an e-mail.

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  5 Responses to “About & FAQ”

  1. Hi! I’m doing a paper on obstacles trans people face when going through transitioning, or planning to transition. I was just wondering if you could give me some basic, or even in depth information? Thank you!

    • Hi Samantha!

      The #1 best resource is trans people themselves. Barriers will be different in different locations, with different phases of life (e.g., a trans kid is going to have different challenges than a trans adult with a job, partner, children etc). See if your school/university library has any books written by trans people about transitioning.

      For research, I’m very fond of Injustice at Every Turn. It’s a depressing read but it’s probably close to what you’re looking for.

  2. Hey, in your ‘Who are you’ section, you have ‘undeserved’ where I think you mean ‘underserved’.
    Excellent articles! Thanks for the good work!

  3. Dear Open Minded Health,

    My name is Sage Kalmus, and my husband Curry and I have recently launched Qommunity: The Queer Social Network. We aim to be the one-stop social network and information portal for the queer community. By queer we mean LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual) and emerging sexual/gender identities; allies are also welcome. We are a safe space for people to be and express who they are. Membership is free, and many of our offerings are available to the public without membership, including free advertising like the listing we’ve posted for your website in our Directories. Here’s the link: https://www.qommunity.org/resource/7/open-minded-health

    If there are any factual errors you’d like us to correct, please let us know. Our hope, however, is that you will claim this listing* as your own and make it even more attractive, interactive, and relevant for your members and ours. This would probably be a good time to let you know that this is all free.

    Your Listing can have a profile photo and cover photo. It can be Liked, Shared, Suggested to Friends, and Reviewed. It can link all your contact information. It can have a full HTML Overview. You can upload Videos, Photos, Comments, Discussions, Geo-Check-ins, Status Updates, and more. All free.

    You can also change the Category of your Listing. Or have multiple Listings in multiple Categories (for your various Programs, Services, Products, Activities, Events, etc.) Also free.

    We also have Pages (like the Pages of other familiar social sites) that offer you even more social and interactive dexterity, including the ability to link your Page to your various Listings, and add additional material like Polls, Music, Forms, and Offers. Members can also Join your Page and thereby automatically receive in their Qommunity Wall any Updates you post.

    As for our membership, as I said, that too is free. Directory Listings can be viewed by the public without membership. Pages can be viewed by members only.

    We already have a mobile website, and in the coming weeks we will be releasing our iPhone, iPad, and Google Android apps.

    We are very excited about building and expanding Qommunity into the online home for all who identify as queer and all who love and support us, and we deeply hope that you will be a part of it. Please feel free to reply to this note with any questions or comments you have, and I will get right back to you.

    Best regards,
    Sage Kalmus
    Qommunity: The Queer Social Network

    * To Claim Your Listing: simply join Qommunity and then go to your listing. In the dropdown menu with the gear & arrow icon in the center of the cover photo, click “Claim this (listing category)”. We’re excited to see you there!

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