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!
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.
- 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.