Speaking out on GBT men's health: a critique of the Australian government's Men's Health Policy
Filiault, Shaun Michael
Drummond, Murray John
Riggs, Damien Wayne
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In its recent position paper regarding men's health, the Australian Commonwealth's Department of Health and Ageing addresses the burden of disease and illness faced by Australian men. This document represents a significant advancement in both a national discussion regarding men's health and the use of a truly gendered perspective when engaging in that dialogue. Within the document, the health of several groups of particularly disadvantaged men is addressed. These groups include Aboriginal/Torres Straight Islander men, men of a low socio-economic status (SES) and rural men, among others. It is obvious that men in those groups experience compromised health as a result of their minority group status and the social, economic and political disadvantages that are engendered through minority identification. The health of these men is important and worthy of increased attention so as to rectify the inequities described in the report. Despite the report's exemplary identification of several groups of minority men, it is surprising that it does not expressly identify gay, bisexual and transgendered (GBT) men as a specific at-risk group. Indeed, GBT men face particularly poor health outcomes, often as a result of social homophobia that renders silent the voices of gay men and serves to impair these men's access to adequate health resources. Transgender men may suffer even worse outcomes, due to their especially hidden and stigmatised place in Westernised culture. Notwithstanding the exclusion of GBT men from the original draft of the Men's HealthPolicy, we are encouraged by the Australian Senate's enquiry into this document and the possibility for future revisions and additions to the text. Therefore, we present the following discussion of GBT men's health both to inform practitioners who may lack knowledge and understanding of this field, and to inform policy makers and other stakeholders as to the relevance of GBT health concerns to any future discussions of Australian men's health.
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