A Programming Note (Or Why This Stuff Matters)

Well, folks, there’s always someone who has to rain on the parade. In this case it’s (naturally) an anonymous commenter whose contribution was deleted immediately (because I have a no nastiness policy for comments on this site) complaining about too much gay in my posts. I was told I should spend more time sticking to what’s relevant–so let me just enlighten you, anonymous commenter:

Oppression is relevant. Stigmatization is relevant. Discrimination makes for poor health, increases vulnerability. A recent journal article in the American Journal of Public Health illustrates this point nicely (PDF). But, hey, a quick google search will give you all kinds of relevant (see also: social determinants of health [CDC; WHO]). So, if there’s any confusion about why we talk about these seemingly irrelevant topics on a forensic healthcare site (or celebrate the small steps towards equality and self-determination in all of its forms), I encourage you to peruse what is but a sampling of full text articles (from scientific journals, popular media and healthcare/advocacy organizations) on the intersection of issues like sexism, racism and homophobia and their impact on the patients for whom we care:

Adolescent Sexual Health and the Dynamics of Oppression: A Call for Cultural Competency (Advocates for Youth)

Race, Socioeconomic Factors and Health (RWJF)

Internalized homophobia and health issues affecting lesbians and gay men (Health Education Research)

Women and health: today’s evidence tomorrow’s agenda (WHO)

How Racism Is Bad for Our Bodies (The Atlantic)

Discrimination and homophobia fuel the HIV epidemic in gay and bisexual men (American Psychological Association)

Does Racism Affect Health? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom (Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law)

Special Collection: Reproductive Justice & Violence Against Women: Understanding the Intersections (VAWnet)

There will always be a place at the table for these sorts of discussions–until everyone has a place at the table.


  1. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am


    Well said Jen. Whatever specialty of healthcare one may practice in, these issues are relevant for the health and well being of our patients, our communities, our nation, and our planet. Oppression and discrimination can be found at the root of bullying and suicide among young people. These aren’t gay issues. They are human issues. Appreciate your perseverance in keeping these issues in our everyday awareness.

  2. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Donna Lowman

    Amen to your response!!!!
    Thanks as always…..

  3. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Deb O’Hay

    Very well said.

  4. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Cari Caruso

    All people matter. Some people are resistant to enlightenment.

  5. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am


    Meeting negativity with evidence based knowledge is the best response of all. Anonymous commenter, I am saddened, I hope you are not a forensic nurse.

  6. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Joan Carson

    thanks, Jen

  7. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Phyllis Van Order

    Thank you for the broad range of information you share to help aid us in the promotion of optimal health for the patients and communities we serve 🙂

  8. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Kim Day

    Thanks, Jen for really pointing us back to what we know is at the heart of the violence our patient’s experience- and keeping us on track to be diligent to overcoming that oppression-

  9. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Theresa Arico

    Wow Jen, Thanks so much for this well written response. I would love to cross-post your comment and links on FB. I have “friends” who I work with as a nurse [not SANE nurses] and I often wonder how the apparent cognitive dissonence between their social/political views transpires in their care for patients. You have created a thoughtful connection that is worth sharing far and wide.

  10. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am


    Thanks, Theresa–feel free to cross-post. The conversation is a good and much needed one as you point out.