November is International Men’s Health Awareness month, also known as Movember. This world wide movement, designed to bring attention to the health issues males face everyday, is more dire than most can imagine. Male health is thought to be the norm, but actually, our health is often ignored by doctors, researchers and even us!
The most common way to celebrate is for guys to stop shaving their faces and donate the money they would have spent on products and barbers to a non-profit that is bringing attention and assistance to our concerns. But, we also need to move further to not only support but practice the information these organizations are trying to bring to light.
When it comes to healthcare, many gay males feel themselves separated from their straight brothers and concentrate only on sexual health issues such as HIV or other STDs, but we are more than just our sexual lives and our healthcare needs to address us as full and complete men, who happen to be gay. What this means, is that more of us need to join the chorus of campaigns that address the general health issue that all males face, including those of us that are gay. We don’t have a choice in being gay or male, we are both. Yes, we have some differences with our straight brothers regarding health but not as many as most would think. The stereotypes about gays do little to bridge the divide. This includes all of us having gym memberships, 6 pack abs and perfect diets. In real life, our physical fitness and eating habits are just like everyone else.
General Male Health Concerns
When discussing male health, we need to also speak about race because it does effect the overall health and wellbeing of a man. This Centers for Disease Control chart breaks down the major health concerns and percentages.
All Males by Race/Ethnicity Rank All Races Hispanic White Black American Indian/ Alaska Native Asian/Pacific Islander 1 Heart disease 24.5% Cancer 20.6% Heart disease 24.6% Heart disease 24.1% Heart disease 19.5% Cancer 26.4% 2 Cancer 23.4% Heart disease 20.4% Cancer 23.6% Cancer 22.2% Cancer 17.6% Heart disease 23.0% 3 Unintentional injuries 6.4% Unintentional injuries 9.7% Unintentional injuries 6.4% Unintentional injuries 6.0% Unintentional injuries 13.5% Stroke 6.1% 4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.2% Diabetes 4.5% Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.6% Stroke 4.9% Diabetes 5.1% Unintentional injuries 5.3% 5 Stroke 4.2% Stroke 4.4% Stroke 4.0% Homicide 4.3% Chronic liver disease 4.9% Diabetes 3.9% 6 Diabetes 3.1% Chronic liver disease 4.2% Diabetes 2.9% Diabetes 4.1% Suicide 3.7% Chronic lower respiratory diseases 3.4% 7 Suicide 2.5% Suicide 2.8% Suicide 2.7% Chronic lower respiratory diseases 3.2% Chronic lower respiratory diseases 3.7% Influenza & pneumonia 3.2% 8 Alzheimer’s disease 2.1% Chronic lower respiratory diseases 2.6% Alzheimer’s disease 2.3% Kidney disease 2.6% Stroke 3.0% Suicide 2.6% 9 Influenza & pneumonia 2.0% Homicide 2.3% Influenza & pneumonia 2.0% Septicemia 1.9% Homicide 2.1% Kidney
10 Chronic liver disease 1.9% Influenza & pneumonia 2.1% Chronic liver disease 1.9% Influenza & pneumonia 1.7% Influenza & pneumonia 2.0% Alzheimer’s disease 1.6%
As gay males, we need to keep our eyes on the above issues as well as include medical and mental health concerns that come from being gay in a heterosexual world. These include:
- Drug/alcohol abuse
- Mental health/depression/loneliness
The mission of the Gay Male Journal is to educate and inform gay males about our health concerns, from a gay male perspective, free of homophobia and racism. Throughout the month of November, we are going to concentrate on the above top 10 issues and discuss ways you can reduce your risk and increase your wellbeing. We hope that you will join us, tell friends about us and even donate to our cause. All of the civil rights in the world mean nothing without your health.