Today I came across this recent post by Catholic blogger Tracy Trasancos.

In her post she is clearly distressed at a variety of perceived sexual acts committed in front of not only herself but also her children.

“At the pool this summer there were homosexual couples with children and, while I was polite as my own young daughters doted on the baby with two ‘mommies’, I also held my breath in anticipation of awkward questions — questions I’m not ready to answer,” she wrote.

“When there were two men relaxing at the side of the pool unnaturally close to each other, effeminately rubbing elbows and exchanging doe-eyes, I was again anxiously watching my children, hoping they wouldn’t ask questions. They don’t see Daddy do that with anyone but Mommy. We haven’t been back to the pool for a couple of weeks, except once but it rained. The truth is, now I don’t really want to go back.”

In both of these statements it would appear easier to not take her children for a day at the pool rather then have to deal with the possibility of having to explain to her children that, yes indeed, sometimes people of the same gender have love for each other.

More concerning was her extrapolation of what seems to be pretty normal behaviour for humans — hugs and affection — into some sort of sexual festival her children require shielding from.

“I can’t even go to normal places without having to sit silently and tolerate immorality. We all know what would happen if I asked two men or two women to stop displaying, right in front of me and my children, that they live in sodomy,” she said.
Unless sodomy is a particular suburb of Massachusetts I am very confused as to what was going on.

While it’s amusing to examine the beliefs of this lady, it would appear the only people being impacted by her beliefs are her and her children.

As a gay man I am not in a majority. I am not able to express my love for my partner in public without the potential of being singled out for physical abuse, verbal abuse or the seething eye of some delusional lady from Massachusetts.

I do not have equal representation under the law as my straight counterparts. If my partner was unwell and in hospital, his parents would be able to have me removed from involvement in his care if they wished, despite being “de facto” for more than a decade.

It doesn’t mean I am wrong, I am just not in the majority.

Does homophobia impact on health?

When people are forced to live life as second-class citizens there has to be some sort of impact on their health, both mental and physical.

Sadly the impact of homophobia on overall health has limited studies. An interesting paper by Christopher Banks, a researcher in Canada, does a good job of collating the current research, showing that gay men and women are more likely to do poorly on a variety of measures including depression and suicide, substance misuse, risky behaviours and even the likelihood of murder.

It would appear that if a particular group of people is forced to live under chronic stress, there is bound to be an impact on people’s mental health and physical health.

What can we do as a community do to reverse these dreadful predictions?

My belief is that change will always start from within. By this I mean that each and every one of us must be accepting and loving of ourselves before we are going to be able to do the same for others.

Sadly, many of us have been subjected to years of negative messages, fear and, for some, physical and mental abuse. It’s tough and it hurts like hell, however, we need to get to a space where we are able to love, accept and respect ourselves exactly as we are.

As feelings of self-care and respect increase, remarkable things happen. People start to care for themselves better, and health starts to naturally follow. People who feel great about themselves are more likely to stand up for what they feel is right. People who are able to care for themselves are in a much better position to be able to offer help to others who are struggling.

So may I dare to ask — how do you feel about you? Do you wake up every morning feeling great and ready to take on the world? Do you feel like your contribution, no matter what form it takes, helps make a difference?

When was the last time you did something nice for yourself? When was the last time you beat yourself up for something that went wrong?

If someone was to ask you the question, do you love who you are? What sort of words would come to your mind?

It’s honest answers to these sorts of questions that are the key to our strength as people. It’s questions like these that make for a strong community. They are simple questions but the answers are not easy.

As we go through these questions and the feelings and thoughts they evoke, there is a good chance some people are going to get feelings that are not nice. Anger, shame, depression, fear — these are very common responses.

Thankfully there are good people available to help you if you are struggling. If you are unsure, a good place to start could be your family doctor, a trusted friend or perhaps a close loved one.

As you go through the journey, there are people there, ready to help, ready to support, ready to cheer your each and every success. You just have to be prepared to stand up and join in. What do you have to lose?

By DR GEORGE FORGAN-SMITH
General Practitioner

An excerpt from thehealthybear

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