Lesbian and bisexual women are being incorrectly told they don’t need smear tests, LGBT charities say


Half of all eligible lesbian and bisexual women have never had a smear test, an LGBT partnership revealed
CREDIT: ALAMY

Women who have sex with women are often wrongly told they do not need
to attend cervical screening test, LGBT charities have warned.

omosessualiResearch highlighted by the National LGB&T Partnership – an alliance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charities – reveals that 37 per cent of women who have sex with women have been told they do not require a cervical screening test due to their sexual orientation.

This results in half of all eligible lesbian and bisexual women never having had a smear test, they said.

The human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancers, is passed on through intimate skin-to-skin contact, which includes sex between two women.

The partnership surveyed women on their experiences with sexual healthcare as part of the inaugural National Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Week, which aims to highlight that “lesbian, bisexual and other women who have sex with women are experiencing a range of health inequalities and both face barriers to accessing healthcare and are having poor experiences when they do”.

“Lesbian, bisexual and other women who have sex with women (LBWSW) lack acknowledgement both in mainstream society and LGBT communities, and to the NHS we are largely invisible,” says Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Elizabeth Barker in the foreword of the report published in November.

“It is unacceptable that LBWSW continue to experience discrimination and that thoughtlessness compromises our healthcare.”

Other issues highlighted by the partnership’s report are that 21 per cent of bisexual women and 12 per cent of lesbian women reported a long-term mental health problem, compared with 4 per cent of heterosexual women, and that 29 per cent of lesbian and bisexual women report more binge drinking compared with 12 per cent in the general population of women.

Around 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. About two out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in women (2 per cent) are cervical cancers, according to Cancer Research UK.

Article from: Telegraph.co.uk

Staff

Contributing Columnist “Rants of the Bisexualist

Adrienne Williams is Web Producer of AJW Media which is the parent company of Bi Social News (BSN) www.bisocialnews.com.

Adrienne is a Jolie of all trades—computers, communication, media, education and art. Adrienne decided that her life lacked some much needed luster and charity. In April of 2006, Adrienne decided to start her own company called AJW Media (formally called AJW Consulting Media), which deals with online new media, technology and social issues.

To stay up on current 2.0 technologies, Adrienne devotes her time to Blogging and has written political, social and political articles for a major national online newspaper; such as the Huffington Post and writes as a freelance writer—as an online Examiner for examiner.com. Adrienne also divides her time to pop culture social issues, political causes, such as Mental Healthcare, and volunteered for two years in the last presidential election.

Giving Back
Adrienne has also donated her time and money to causes that she feels is of benefit to the global world. Depression Is Real, Habitat for Humanity, Autism Speaks, SAGE, GLAAD, and the Arthritis Foundation. She now is focused on the homeless community and feeds the homeless every Tuesday and helps the BLGT community with technology at Center on Halsted; and will partner and help run a bisexual social program coming in January of 2010.

“Meeting Bill Clinton (Author of Giving) changed my life when he came here to Chicago. In that moment when I was inching my way to meet the man that changed a nation; I realized he was most happy now, in this time, giving hope, giving advice, giving to the needs of others and yes, we were dancing to the sounds of Motown; but in that moment — I knew the end of 2007 was the beginning of a whole new life in giving back!”

Adrienne is now writing two books on homeless issues and the Enneagram and working on her other passion—Tall Expression, a site devoted to women over 5′9″ inches tall.

Contact: bisocialnews@gmail.com

List of BSN Interns

Peter Ruggiero
Contributing Columnist“None But Ourselves
Peter Ruggiero is an educator living and working in the Boston area. Peter has a background in ESL/bilingual education and management, and has worked as an instructor, teacher, trainer, translator, and consultant. During 1998 through 2001, Peter served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa), where he worked on urban environmental issues.  Peter has also lived in France and worked in Italy, and speaks fluent French and Italian.

Out as bisexual since his undergraduate days, Peter served on the board of the Bisexual Resource Center for two years.  He is a member of BiNetUSA and the Bi Writers Association, and a planner of the Putting the B in the GLBT Summit in New York City.  Peter also continues his environmental activism by volunteering with the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Maria (Mizz M)
Contributing Writer

Maria (nicknamed Mizz M) is a 30 year-old bisexual and currently recovering from a chronic illness and working on getting her life back. She has known about her sexual orientation since she was 14 years old, but just came out in early 2008. Maria has come out only to most of her friends and some in the BLGT community—but working on it. Maria lives and works in the Washington DC area, and is active in the BLGT communities there. She enjoys reading, swimming, being involved in health advocacy, politics, bisexuality and LGTPIAQQ rights. She also enjoys movies, friends, socializing, learning, meeting new people and trying new things.

Maria will be writing on topics ranging from coming out—bisexuality in pop culture and the image of bisexuality in gay and straight communities.

A Bisexual Space to Call Our Own

bisexual clubA Bisexual Club?

People have commented about the “bisexual community”, some praising how it has acted together to combat the latest round of biphobia, others wondering why there isn’t more of a community. I’ve wondered, what exactly constitutes the bisexual community, and how is it different from the gay, lesbian, and transgender community?

Since I’ve been out, I’ve read and researched this. Although I live in a pretty liberal area where I was welcomed into the larger BGLT community, I kept hearing about other bisexuals who were not so lucky in different parts of the country and world. I figured, “well, don’t they have a bisexual community to fall back on?” The answer, not always.

A large portion of the bisexual community seems to have started and still is online. I’ve read many articles that said that if [it] hadn’t been for the rise of the Internet in the 1990’s, it definitely would have been harder for bisexuals to organize, and I agree. If you are in a small town, and both gay and straight people tell you “it’s just you”, it can be pretty discouraging. But if you go on the Internet, in a very short while you’ll see that there are bisexual groups all over the world, and many Websites and organizations devoted to the cause.

The Internet has really helped us find groups and create a sense of community. However, we need more non-internet information.

In many big cities, including where I live, there are bisexual groups, and these tend to be very accepting and welcome most people. Groups like BiNet USA, and the New York Bisexual Network (I wish there was an “official” network for my city, all we have is one women’s group, though it’s a great group!) What I and others have noticed that both gays and straights have, that we seem to lack, are recreational places for us to hang out. Basically: bisexual bars-why aren’t there any? Where are the “bisexual sections of town” the way there are “gay sections?” A friend and I had a great discussion imagining how an ideal bisexual bar would be-all kinds couples dancing together, all kinds of people meeting and getting to know one another-no one getting a dirty look for being the “wrong” orientation or gender. I could bring both my straight and gay friends and no one would be “suspicious” because they were from the “other side” (I know it’s ridiculous, but I’ve encountered both scenarios). Of course pansexuals, transsexuals, intersex people, asexuals, and others would be welcomed too. So how come there hasn’t been an attempt to start one? Certainly there are gay and straight bars that are bi friendly, but how come we don’t have one of our own? We could call it a “bi/trans/pan” type place. I seriously think that if someone started this in a big city where there are a lot of us, it would become popular very quickly.

We also need more of a presence in pride parades  — I know this isn’t always easy, especially when encountering resistance. In New York, where there is a thriving bi network, a big section of it marches in the parade every year. It’s basically a numbers game — the more bisexual, pansexual, fluid people who are active in the movement, the more of a separate bi presence there is. Where I live, that doesn’t happen enough.

Our woman’s group has a booth at the pride street festival-but there aren’t enough of us who are active to have a separate marching block. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of us-there are many people who are active online but not active in non-online groups. I just found out that there’s supposed to be a “bi/fluid” pride march coming up in California in June! That’s great! I hope we have many more!

Transgender people have done a great job of taking their cause from just the internet to the real world. Often in pride parades you will see a separate block for transgender pride, even if there are only a few people in it, the same with BGLT conferences and pride seminars. They have gotten really good at making themselves visible and making their cause heard even when the larger BGLT movement tries to ignore them. Definitely something to emulate. So to make a long story short, I hope that more of us (who are able to safely be out) can take that energy and passion from the internet and spread it out as far as we can — making ourselves more visible, more heard, and more of a force to be reckoned with. I know we have the numbers — now we just need the voice and the organization. Who knows, maybe one day there will even be a bisexual bar. One can hope, anyway.