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Human rights for all, free from discrimination, free from exclusion.

While we have applauded a number of cultural and legislative victories in several countries in the past decade--the approval of marriage equality in Argentina is an emblematic example, and we have seen other gains in Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia--it is an undeniable fact that sexual diversity still lacks a legitimate space in many societies, where it is not given equal, dignified nor respectful treatment.

In the field of health, lesbian women are often discriminated against in the healthcare services because of their sexual orientation. Lesbians even discriminate against themselves by not seeking timely medical care for fear of being rejected and judged. They hide their sexual orientation from healthcare providers, who are rarely prepared to treat the specific needs of women who love women in any case. Sexist or gender-based violence is another reality that often affects lesbians, expressed in "corrective" rape, forced marriage and other despicable and discriminatory acts that have a tremendous impact on women's physical and psychological state, causing serious damage to their self-esteem and often pushing them to suicide. The hidden realities of lesbian women are significant obstacles for the implementation of public policies that meet their specific health needs, needs that include comprehensive health, sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

Therefore, in keeping with the commitment that we assumed with the Ongoing Campaign for Comprehensive Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights launched on May 28, International Day of Action for Women's Health, LACWHN urges governments, healthcare institution and related agencies to pay special and immediate attention to the health needs and requirements of lesbian women throughout their life cycle, which cannot be separated from their guaranteed access to opportunities for education, employment and social security on equal footing with the rest of society. Only thus will they enjoy recognition of their status as full citizens with human rights in all areas of their lives.


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Publication:Women's Health Journal
Geographic Code:50CAR
Date:Jul 1, 2011
Previous Article:LACWHN declaration.
Next Article:Creating new realities: Lesbian and bisexual health in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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