English translation from the original article in “LeCronache” – 17.10.2022
The meeting – The second transnational meeting was held in Salerno
Health inequalities in the LGBT+ context
of Andrea Orza
Second Transnational Meeting of the project
“Establishing an Inclusive LGBTI+ Health Care Provision: MAKE A STAND AGAINΤ STIGMA DISCRIMINATION INEQUALITIES” – INSIGHT,
Co-funded by the European Union
and involving in partnership University of Turin, University of Salerno, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – NKUA, Orlando LGBTI+ (Greece), ReadLab (Greece), CANDIDE International (Belgium).
Prof. Giulia Savarese, Department of Medicine and Surgery – UNISA
- What injustices do we refer to when we talk about inequalities in the health system in the LGBTI+ sphere?
“The most representative example is the patient in transition who does not know whether to go to the men’s or the women’s bathroom. The revolutionary power of INSIGHT lies in tackling the problem at its root, starting with the training of doctors and health professionals who care for a diverse range of patients. Subjecting medical care to the binary male-female logic creates devastating effects and, in the aftermath, drives away from medical facilities all those who identify with other genders. The project has now been underway for a year and we recognise that it will take time to metabolise and rework the latest reports on diversity. Since we are dealing with scientific material and not naïve observations, we may be heading towards a definitive solution against the overriding discrimination that engulfs us. It seems that human beings are programmed to resist change and defend pre-established values. Inclusive culture and diversity must be educated from an early age. It is first of all a cognitive process, which then influences the emotional and social one”.
Prof. Luca Rollè, Department of Psychology – University of Turin.
- The INSIGHT vision, a paradigm shift in the healthcare system. What does it consist of?
“The project encourages innovative thinking about communities. The cultural turn will consider the health and well-being of minorities within the social and health services. If we want to identify new possibilities of care, we have to take into account that, even today, people are still discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. It is not an excess of speculation to ask what is the best way to welcome patients as part of the LGBTI+ community. Rather, it becomes an obligatory pathway to provide adequate training for health workers and avoid falling into dramatic stereotypes. The prerogative of Operation INSIGHT is to stimulate awareness in the public and private system to guarantee equal rights and ensure a better quality of life in the long run.
“THE REVOLUTIONARY POWER OF INSIGHT LIES IN ADDRESSING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM”
Marco Navarra, Ph.D., Project Manager INSIGHT
- The regulatory survey will have European legislative resonance. Besides the collaborating partners, how will the project be promoted?
“Project activities and results will be widely disseminated. Our dissemination plan is designed to involve both local and international participants and stakeholders. Both online communication channels will be used – periodic information via newsletters, activation of dedicated social networks – and in-person events designed as infodays with the participation of national-level speakers and guests. The methods for conveying the message are different, there is no single dissemination criterion, although we are interested in enthusing a wide audience: the goal must be that at the end of the 24 months, with the conclusion of the project there will be further motivation and opportunities to continue ‘INSIGHT’. We will soon set up an initial event in Salerno, which will also involve local administrative bodies.”
“THE PROJECT ENCOURAGES INNOVATIVE THINKING ABOUT COMMUNITIES”
Dr. Filippos Paganis – Orlando LGBT+ (Greece)
- What is the civil rights situation in Greece?
“Greece’s legal protections of LGBTQI+ rights have been gradually increasing in the past eight years, with the introduction of laws that expand existing protections and rights to LGBTQI+ people or specifically cover issues that affect the LGBTQI+ community, with the most recent example being the introduction of a ban on “normalisation” surgeries for intersex children in June 2022. However, there still exist gaps on a legal level that do not ensure equality and leave LGBTQI+ people not fully protected against discriminatory practices.
Due to the still existing gaps on a legal level, and also due to the homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and interphobic prejudices that are deeply engrained on a societal level, LGBTQI+ people continue to face high levels of discrimination in their everyday lives and especially in the sector of healthcare equal access to services is hindered. Professional’s anti-LGBTQI stereotypes and prejudices, the lack of specific education on LGBTQI issues and the existing systemic barriers, create obstacles to access and leave LGBTQI+ people not feeling safe to reach out to healthcare services, even when they are need of care. As highlighted by a survey on LGBTQI+ people’s access to public services, done as part of the EU project FAROS1 in 2020, 1 in 2 LGBTQI+ people in Greece never (23%) or rarely (25%) feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to healthcare professionals, with the majority of them worrying that coming out to healthcare professionals will result in not receiving quality healthcare services.
In Orlando LGBT+, as the first legally recognised scientific organisation in Greece focusing on the mental health of LGBTQI+ people, we strive to promote the scientific approach on LGBTQI+ mental health that is structured on the idea of full depathologization of sexual orientation and gender identity, respect of self-identification and human rights. Additionally, we are committed to tackling discrimination and any human rights violation that constitute the main risk factor for the mental health and well-being of LGBTQI+ people. The education of health and mental professionals on providing services to LGBTQI+ people, and more specifically the introduction of relative courses and material within third level education is on the most central pillars of our work. In this context, we are glad to be part of the INSIGHT project, an initiative aiming to improve access to healthcare for LGBTQI+ people through the enhancement of (future) professionals’ knowledge and skills regarding LGBTQI+ issues.”