DANG holds support groups and it has inspired others to do the same. Katie Savin and Tony Heywood co-founded the "Sugar-Free Queers" group in New York City. They "offer a space (free of judgment) to talk about challenges and successes concerning diabetes, as well as when those challenges intersect with other aspects of our identities."
Outside of access to competent care, the LGBT community faces unique issues:
- LGBT teens commit about 50% of all suicides. If you know a teen who is not taking insulin, think beyond diabulimia (intentional insulin omission to lose weight); consider if this is a youth in trouble — trying to come out of the closet but has zero resources. Isolation and depression runs high for this group.
- Continued risk for HIV and other STDs.
- Increased tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use.
- Transgendered people have special medical and mental health care needs; one survey resulted in nearly 40% feeling direct hostility from their healthcare providers.
- Pregnancy planning, an area often overlooked when practitioners assume LGBT individuals do not want children.
If you are an LGBT person with diabetes, and your provider isn't supportive or savvy to your unique issues, you have a choice. Ask them if they will help you or find another who is truly a non-discriminating healthcare partner. Not an easy task, but certainly worth the effort. Some will continue to be silent as gay rights in the United States lag behind many other countries (although certainly better than those who still execute!) and coming out to a healthcare provider still holds risks for many.
With diabetes it pays to be your own advocate and to find people who will work with you regardless of your situation.
"Hope shall never be silent."
— Harvey Milk
For more information about DANG, email Ion at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 746-6735.
For more information about Sugar-Free Queers, email Katie at Katie@act1diabetes.org or Tony at email@example.com or call (917) 720-3695.
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NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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