Edwin Cameron to open OUT LGBT Well-Being clinic on Women's Day

The launch of the Clinic will take place at the OUT Offices, 745 Park Street, Arcadia, Tshwane, on 9 August 2006 at 17h30

August 08, 2006

Edwin Cameron
TSHWANE — National Women's Day is an important time to take action around the health challenges facing lesbian women. Gender-based violence, targeted hate crimes, and homophobic attitudes within mainstream health care settings, continue to negatively impact on the sexual and mental well-being of lesbian women in South Africa.

Results from a representative, quantitative research study, conducted by OUT in 2002/3, found the following:

  • 12% of lesbian/ bisexual woman delayed seeking health treatment because they were afraid of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation (2002/3).
  • 6% of lesbian women and gay men had been refused health care treatment by services providers, based on their sexual orientation.
  • 12% had lived with a health condition and not sought help for fear of their sexual orientation being discovered.
  • Over and above these direct discriminations, a health care practitioner�s assumption that someone is heterosexual (ie. heterosexism) can suppress adequate communication with the client such that certain health risks may not be appropriately addressed.

    As part of a broader response to these concerns, OUT Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) Well-being is expanding their current services by offering lesbian women, and gay men, an affirming and supportive environment where they can receive free, confidential voluntary counselling and testing for HIV. OUT plans, over time, to expand the Clinic's services to include a Holistic Wellness Centre focussing on addressing the broader sexual and mental health needs of lesbian women and gay men.

    As of the 12 August 2006, the Clinic doors will be open each Saturday, from 09h00 to 13h00. Clients are required to make an appointment on Tel: 012 344 5108. A registered nurse and trained counsellor will be on site. In addition, the Clinic will have a wide variety of LGBT-friendly health care professionals affiliated to it, for further referrals should the person need more advanced health care. OUT offers ongoing emotional and psychological support for individuals testing HIV positive, and will facilitate access to appropriate medical treatment. – Issued by OUT.

    OUT Well-being is a non-profit organisation that has existed for 11 years. We promote lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people�s health and mental health in South Africa and aim to reduce heterosexism and homophobia in society. We work within a human rights framework, underscored by values of non-racism, non-sexism and social justice for all.

    OUT's services include:
  • The provision of direct mental and sexual heath services to LGBT individuals.
  • Research on the issues facing LGBT people.
  • Working with mainstream service providers to cater for the needs and experiences of LGBT individuals.

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