Showing posts with label Medical Homophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medical Homophobia. Show all posts

October 19, 2017

World Medical Body Condemns Forced Men Anal Exams As Unscientific and Unethical

A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct. 
A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct.
© 2016 Neela Ghoshal/Human Rights Watch

(Nairobi, October 17, 2017) – Doctors, medical professionals, and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association’s October 2017 resolution to end forced anal examinations on people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch said today. The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA), an international organization consisting of national medical associations from 111 countries, condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence of consensual homosexual conduct.
Forced anal examinations, based on long-discredited 19th century science, often involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus to attempt to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse. The exams, relied upon as “evidence” in prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct in some countries, have no scientific basis, violate medical ethics, and constitute cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture.
“The jury is no longer out. There is no excuse for governments to continue conducting forced anal exams on people accused of homosexuality,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights at Human Rights Watch. “The World Medical Association has added its voice to an overwhelming consensus that forced anal exams are unethical, unscientific, and unjustifiable on any grounds.”
The World Medical Association resolution calls on doctors to stop conducting the exams. It calls on national medical associations to issue written communications prohibiting their members from participating in them, and to educate doctors and health workers about “the unscientific and futile nature of forced anal exams and the fact that they are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” It also calls on the World Health Organization to make an official statement opposing forced anal exams as unscientific and in violation of medical ethics, which would build on an existing reference that condemns the practice.
The resolution, proposed by the South African Medical Association with the support of Human Rights Watch, has been through a year-long review and feedback process, allowing all members to comment in advance of adoption. It passed unanimously, with two abstentions.
At the General Assembly session, the association also adopted a revised “Physician’s Pledge,” which calls on doctors to refrain from discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.
Several countries that have not yet eradicated forced anal examinations have made recent progress toward ending them, Human Rights Watch said. Governments in Lebanon and Tunisia have taken steps toward banning forced anal exams. Tunisia recently accepted a recommendation to end the exams during its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, although it remains to be seen whether Tunisia will rigorously enforce the ban. In both cases, national medical associations played a key role in shifting their governments’ positions. The Kenya Medical Association, in September, became the latest medical association to condemn the use of forced anal examinations, although the Attorney General’s Office has attempted to defend their use.
Other countries lag behind. In Egypt, men and transgender women arrested on charges of “debauchery” are systematically referred to the Forensic Medicine Authority, a branch of the Justice Ministry, for forced anal examinations, and the results are regularly used in court to put people behind bars on the grounds of their presumed sexual orientation. Since late September, according to Egyptian human rights activists, at least five Egyptians have been subjected to forced anal exams as part of a vicious crackdown after several young people waved rainbow flags at a concert.
And in Tanzania in late 2016, police resorted to forced anal examinations to seek “proof” of homosexual conduct for the first time, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, as part of a broader campaign against LGBT people and their allies. Neither the Egyptian Medical Association nor the Medical Association of Tanzania, both members of the WMA, have publicly condemned the exams.
Other countries in which Human Rights Watch has documented the use of forced anal exams between 2010 and 2015 include Cameroon, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia. Human Rights Watch has received reports of government authorities ordering forced anal exams on people accused of homosexual conduct in Syria and the United Arab Emirates, but has not been able to independently verify these allegations.
“Doctors play a critical role in upholding ethical standards and are often part of the moral compass of society,” Ghoshal said. “In Egypt, in Tanzania, and in all countries in which people are being subjected to forced anal examinations, doctors should take the lead in ending these horrific abuses.”

Human Rights Watch "HRW"         

May 4, 2016

Kenyan Court Will Hear Case to Stop Useless, Demeaning Anal Examination

                                                                          Coast Provincial General Hospital (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Coast Provincial General Hospital (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

A Kenyan court will hear a constitutional petition challenging the use of forced anal examinations of men accused of homosexuality on May 4, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. Under international law, forced anal examinations are a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment that may amount to torture. 

In the case before the Mombasa high court, the two petitioners, both male adults identified in the petition only as C.O.I. and G.M.N., state that doctors at Mombasa’s Coast General Provincial Hospital (also known as Madaraka Hospital), in collaboration with law enforcement officials, violated their rights by subjecting them to forced anal examinations, HIV tests, and other blood tests in February 2015, while they were in police custody on charges related to alleged homosexual conduct. Anal examinations are a discredited, 19th century method used by law enforcement officials to attempt to “prove” homosexuality in several countries around the world, Human Rights Watch said.

“Anal examinations prove nothing, and they accomplish nothing, other than humiliating and demeaning people who are considered moral ‘outcasts,’” said Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights at Human Rights Watch. “It’s frankly shocking to see such archaic methods used in Kenya in the 21st century.”

Human Rights Watch has documented the use of forced anal examinations in eight countries since 2010: Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia. These examinations usually involve doctors or other medical personnel inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into the anus of the accused. In other cases, men are ordered to strip naked and bend over or lie down with their feet in stirrups while doctors “visually” examine their anal regions. Law enforcement officials and some medical personnel claim that by forcibly penetrating or otherwise examining the anuses of men accused of homosexuality, they can determine the tone of the anal sphincter or the shape of the anus and draw conclusions as to whether these men have engaged in homosexual conduct.

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment stated in a January report: “In States where homosexuality is criminalized, men suspected of same-sex conduct are subject to non-consensual anal examinations intended to obtain physical evidence of homosexuality, a practice that is medically worthless and amounts to torture or ill-treatment.”

Forced anal exams violate the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights – all treaties that Kenya has ratified, Human Rights Watch said. Under international law and Kenya’s Sexual Offenses Act, if the exams involve any form of unwanted penetration, they constitute sexual assault and possibly rape.

Human Rights Watch has interviewed forensic medicine specialists around the world who have confirmed that anal examinations are medically worthless. According to one doctor in Uganda who has conducted dozens of anal examinations: “If it is a case involving consenting adults, you can’t tell much from examining them. … The police bring them for exams because the neighbors are complaining that someone is homosexual, and the police become suspicious. They ask me to fill in the form, but it doesn’t serve much purpose. 

The Independent Forensic Experts Group (IFEG) condemned anal examinations in a recent statement. “Anal examinations to ‘detect homosexuality have no scientific value, are unethical, and constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and possibly torture,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, medical director at Physicians for Human Rights and member of IFEG. “Sexual identity and orientation is not a disease or a crime and health professionals have no business diagnosing it or aiding State officials in policing and punishing people on the basis of their sexuality.”

In Lebanon, the Lebanese Order of Physicians issued a circular in 2012 prohibiting medical personnel from conducting anal examinations, which they described as a clear violation of medical ethics. The justice minister followed suit, calling on prosecutors to stop ordering anal exams on men accused of homosexuality. Although Human Rights Watch research has found that forced anal exams do occasionally still occur in Lebanon, the ban appears to have significantly diminished their frequency.

“Governments in Kenya and around the world should take immediate steps to ban forced anal exams,” Ghoshal said. “The men in the Mombasa case, and dozens of others around the world, should never have had to undergo such a humiliating and demeaning procedure, and governments should prevent this from happening to others in the future.”

Human Rights Watch 

May 3, 2016

40 Years ago: “I am a homosexual and a psychiatrist.”

John Fryer
Temple University psychiatry professor John Fryer delivers his speech, in which he admits to being gay, among his peers at an APA conference in 1972. Because he wore a disguise during the speech, he became known in history as 'Dr. Henry Anonymous.'


I am a homosexual, I am a psychiatrist.”

These are the words that would forever cement John Fryer as "Dr. Henry Anonymous," the mysterious masked man who, whether or not he realized it at the time, would create a gay-rights snowball that continues to roll in 2016. 
In May 1972, Fryer, then a medical psychiatry professor at Temple University, was called upon by the openly gay Dr. Frank Karmeny — fired from his job as a government astronomer about a decade prior — and Philadelphia-native activist Barbara Gittings to speak to an audience of his peers at the American Psychiatric Association's convention in Dallas. 

The convention, entitled "Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to the Homosexual," was a response to recent calls to remove homosexuality from the association's DSM, a manual of disorders used by medical professionals across the country. 

When asked by Gittings to deliver a speech to the convention that acknowledged his sexual orientation and his profession as a psychiatrist, Fryer agreed — but with terms. Because he was untenured and risked being fired, he would be open about it but only anonymously, shielded by a rubber mask purchased from a joke shop, a frizzy black wig, a tuxedo and a distorted microphone.

After he delivered a brief speech countering the idea that one "cannot be healthy and homosexual," the room was left quiet and in awe. Following additional protests, the association soon moved toward eliminating homosexuality from the list of disorders. The decision was ratified by April 1974 and, significantly, made it difficult for states to continue to criminalize homosexuality on the basis of deviance. 

Still, it wasn't until nearly 20 years later that Fryer publicly opened up about his identity, at an APA meeting held in Philadelphia. (He did eventually get tenure at Temple.) As a result of that initial anonymity, he's been something of a footnote in history. 

Which is where New York playwright Ain Gordon found his intrigue.

While most history buffs dig into the meat of a textbook, Gordon is the guy whose eyes go right to the margins. Gordon, who has a record of reimagining historical stories, received funding from Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to partner with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for productions that explore "individual liberty versus national acceptance." 

He discovered 217 archived boxes at the historical society that had belonged to Fryer (coincidentally, just as he'd discovered Fryer's story through an article about Gittings). Zealously, Gordon combed through boxes. In some, he found only old utility bills. But in another, he hit paydirt: a manuscript of Fryer's 1972 speech.

Gordon: There was no reason to know he once risked everything to form the life he continued to lead, but he did ... The history of the man behind the mask was more famous than the man in it.
He knew he had a story to tell.

"I began to think about people, groups, communities who need to move under deep cover for a long period of time before they gain the power to step into the light," Gordon told PhillyVoice. "How do we historify a time in which they necessarily left no trace?”

Fryer, he felt, represented that idea — both in what he did and how he continued to live his life. He would go on to have an accomplished career researching addiction and grief, but lived a curiously ordinary and under-the-radar life after his big moment in 1972. He was an organist and choirmaster at a local Episcopalian church, Gordon said, never held a long-term relationship, made little fuss about his 1972 speech and resided in a Germantown house until he died in 2003. Which all, ultimately, led him to this question — and challenge — for Gordon's play: Who was the man behind the mask?

"There was no reason to know he once risked everything to form the life he continued to lead, but he did," Gordon remarked.

"The history of the man behind the mask was more famous than the man in it."

In his play, "217 Boxes," which premieres May 5 at the Painted Bride theater, Gordon focuses on three characters who consistently spring up in the boxes' documents. Together, surrounded by the archival boxes dispersed over the stage, they piece together the puzzle of who Fryer was. The play culminates in a reenactment of his landmark speech. 

“I’m hoping people will come and learn about him and where the LGBT movement was at that point," Gordon said. "Who was doing it, what was it called, what was actually possible and what they were up against.

"And I think [this play] is, in some ways, a tribute to him and his bravery. It’s a theatrical performance — I am having my own theatrical fun. But I hope in the end I am offering a tribute.”

February 21, 2015

Gay Community BemoanTreatment of Doctor to Baby with two mom’s

Original story: doctor-refuses-to-treat-baby-because-it- has- two -moms

Oak Park — Local gay rights activists say it’s all too familiar: A lesbian couple’s pediatrician dumped their child as a patient because of her parents’ sexual orientation.
They say discrimination against members of the LGBT community is a major concern.
While the doctor’s decision to not keep the child of two gay parents as a patient may not be illegal, it does go against the ethics of the nation’s largest organization representing physicians across the country.
A spokesman for the American Medical Association said Thursday “the regulation of medical professionals occurs at the state level and is governed by the directives of the local state Legislature.”
But the association’s “ethical opinions” do discourage physicians from refusing care based on “race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other criteria that would constitute invidious discrimination.”
Krista Contreras and her wife, Jami, told WJBK-TV the pediatrician, who practices in Roseville, stopped seeing their daughter as a patient shortly after the child was born in October 2014.
The couple was wed in Vermont in 2012.
The Contrerases told WJBK they were happy with the doctor when they met her in September, weeks before they were due.
“The kind of care she offered, we liked her personality, she seemed pretty friendly,” Krista Contreras said.
Once Bay was born, they took her to an appointment with the doctor. But instead of seeing the doctor they had initially met they were turned over to another pediatrician.
“The first thing (the new doctor) said was ‘I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because (the doctor) decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,” Jami Contreras said.
Gay rights activists such as Gregory Varnum of Equality Michigan say the Contreras’ case points out why sexual orientation and other gender issues should be included in Michigan’s anti-discrimination Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
“Efforts for a possible ballot initiative are going well, and we are confident that if we do in fact have to take this issue to the ballot that we will win,” Varnum said.
The rejection was hurtful, Jami Contreras said.
“As far as we know Bay doesn’t have a sexual orientation yet so I’m not really sure what that matters,” Jami Contreras said. “We’re not your patient — she’s your patient. And the fact is that your job is to keep babies healthy and you can’t keep a baby healthy that has gay parents?”
University of Detroit Mercy law school professor Lawrence Dubin said the case raises many constitutional questions.

“A refusal to provide medical services to a particular group of people (e.g., same-sex couples or their children) based on religious grounds can raise serious constitutional issues since the doctor in question provides services pursuant to a state license,” Dubin said Wednesday. “What further complicates the legal landscape is that Michigan’s non-discrimination law (Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act) protects most groups of people, but shamefully fails to include sexual orientation.
State Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, said the doctor’s action is “another example of why we need to extend our civil rights laws to cover LGBT Michiganders so that this kind of discrimination stops. Sadly, what this doctor did is legal in Michigan.”
(313) 222-2027

February 20, 2015

Doctor Refuses to Treat baby Because it had two Moms


Sitting in the pediatrician's office with their 6-day-old daughter, the two moms couldn't wait to meet the doctor they had picked out months before.
The Roseville pediatrician — one of many they had interviewed — seemed the perfect fit: She took a holistic approach to treating children. She used natural oils and probiotics. And she knew they were lesbians.
But as Jami and Krista Contreras sat in the exam room, waiting to be seen for their newborn's first checkup, another pediatrician entered the room and delivered a major blow: The doctor they were hoping for had a change of heart. After “much prayer," she decided that she couldn't treat their baby because they are lesbians. 
"I was completely dumbfounded," recalled Krista Contreras, the baby's biological mother. "We just looked at each other and said, 'Did we hear that correctly?' .... When we tell people about it, they don't believe us. They say, '(Doctors) can't do that. That's not legal.' And we say, 'Yes it is.'"
The Contrerases of Oak Park are going public with their story to raise awareness about the discrimination that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continues to face. There is no federal or Michigan law that explicitly prohibits discrimination against LGBT individuals.
For months, the couple kept quiet about what happened to them and their baby — Bay Windsor Contreras — at Eastlake Pediatrics last October.
But the pain and frustration wouldn't go away. So they broke their silence.
"We want people to know that this is happening to families. This is really happening," said Jami Contreras, 30, who was blindsided that fall day in the doctor's office. "It was embarrassing. It was humiliating ... It's just wrong."
Roi said that she could not comment on the case, citing the federal HIPAA law, which requires medical providers to protect the privacy of patients. But she did defend her commitment to pediatric medicine and helping children.
"My life is taking care of the babies," Roi told the Free Press on Tuesday. "I love my families, my patients. I love my kids. And I have become very close with all my patients."
Roi, meanwhile, has apologized to Jami and Krista Contreras in a handwritten letter, which was obtained by the Free Press. It states:
"Dear Jami & Krista, I am writing this letter of apology as I feel that it is important and necessary. I never meant to hurt either of you. After much prayer following your prenatal (visit), I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients."
The letter, dated Feb. 9, did not explain why Roi felt that way, nor did it mention anything about the two women being lesbians. It did, however, state that the Contrerases were “always welcome in our office” and that they could still get care from another pediatrician who was on staff.  
Roi also apologized for not telling the Contrerases about her decision in person.
"I felt that it was an exciting time for the two of you and I felt that if I came in and shared my decision, it would take away much of the excitement. That was my mistake," the letter stated. "I should have spoken with you that day."
The letter concluded:
"Please know that I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice. Again, I am very sorry for the hurt and angry feelings that were created by this. I hope that you can accept my apology."
Decision not illegal
Krista and Jami Contreras are not suing Roi. They concede that Roi did nothing illegal — which is precisely what they have a problem with: There are few laws on the books that protect the LGBT community from discrimination.
"There's no law that prohibits it," Wayne State University Constitutional Law Professor Robert Sedler said of Roi's actions. "It's the same as a florist refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding."
Currently, 22 states have laws that prohibit doctors from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation. Michigan is not one of these states.
Michigan does have its own anti-discrimination law known as the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. But it doesn't cover LGBT individuals. Neither do federal employment laws included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit hiring or employment discrimination on the basis of a person's"race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," not sexual orientation.
Legislative efforts to add LGBT individuals to federal and Michigan anti-discrimination laws have been made over the years, none successfully.
Sedler, who teaches equality issues at Wayne State University, said Roi didn't violate any laws.
"Basically, the pediatrician handled this in an appropriate way," Sedler said. "She turned them over to another doctor."
However, Sedler added, Roi's actions as a licensed doctor raise an ethical issue.
"Here you have a doctor saying I won't treat a baby of a lesbian couple … I think that's very troubling," he said. "It's clearly not illegal, but it certainly raises an ethical question."
Attorney Dana Nessel, who is handling the Michigan same-sex marriage case that's about to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, believes the laws need to change. If not, she said, more families like the Contrerases will be mistreated by the medical profession.
"It's a very scary thing," Nessel said of doctors being allowed to refuse to treat patients. "What kind of a society are we that we would allow this to happen?"
While Michigan doctors can refuse to treat a gay person, or their children, citing religious freedoms, the medical profession strongly opposes it.
The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have taken a strong stance against this practice and have prohibited it in their ethics rules, which are only advisory.
"Respecting the diversity of patients is a fundamental value of the medical profession and reflected in long-standing AMA ethical policy opposing any refusal to care for patients based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other criteria that would constitute invidious discrimination," said a statement from Dr. Gregory Blaschke, chair of the AMA's LGBT Advisory Committee. It added that the AMA encourages "diversity, awareness and cultural sensitivity in the medical profession."
For Jami and Krista Contreras, the medical policies are comforting, but they're not enough. It's time, they said, for the laws to change so that no LGBT person experiences what they did that fall day in the pediatrician's office. Roi, they said, gave no signs that she was opposed to their lifestyle when they met her. She told them to schedule an appointment when the baby was born, they said. And they did just that.
Then came the blow.
"You're discriminating against a baby?" Jami Contreras said. "It's just wrong."

August 12, 2014

Man sues Doctor and Insurance for describing his being gay as a “Chronic problem”


Matthew Moore says a doctor listed "Homosexual behavior" as a diagnosis on his patient report.
                                                               A Los Angeles man is suing his doctor and a Southern California healthcare network, alleging that they ignored his request to remove a notation describing "homosexual behavior" as a "chronic problem" on his medical records.
Mathew Moore, 46, who is openly gay, said he was shocked to see his sexual orientation still described as a chronic condition more than a year after he complained about the use of the archaic medical classification..
 "It was another attempt by this doctor and this medical group to impose their agenda of discrimination and hate onto a gay patient."
As reported in September by NBC4, Moore discovered the description in his medical records after undergoing a routine physical in April 2013 by Dr. Elaine Jones of the Torrance Health Association. 
The diagnosis was coded as 302.0, an archaic classification from The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (commonly known as the ICD). Code 302.0 "homosexual behavior" was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.
Moore said when he confronted Jones in May 2013, she defended the description by saying that the medical community goes “back and forth” on whether or not homosexuality is considered a chronic condition. 
Moore wrote a letter complaining about the designation to the Torrance Memorial Health Association and received a prompt apology:
"We would like to unequivocally state that the Torrance Memorial Physician Network does not view homosexuality as a disease or a chronic condition and we do not endorse or approve of the use of Code 302.0 as a diagnosis for homosexuality," Torrance Health Association Senior Director Heidi Assigal wrote to Moore.
The association also issued a media statement saying the designation had been used as a result of "human error" and claiming that "upon notification by the patient the record was corrected."
Moore said he let the issue go, thinking the problem had been solved. But when he obtained a copy of his medical records in May, he said he was stunned to see that while the 302.0 code had been removed, "homosexual behavior" was still listed under "chronic problems."
He said he later was given a second copy of his records on a CD, which did not contain the entry.
That prompted him to file suit in July against Dr. Jones, the Torrance Health Association Inc. and the related Torrance Memorial Physician Network, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel.
That suit also alleges that the defendants "engaged in a pattern of deceit and medical record doctoring in an attempt to establish that they had earlier removed and retracted the defamatory content, when in fact they had not removed and retracted the defamatory content until the latter part of May 2014."
It seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.
In a "motion to strike" filed Aug. 6, attorneys for the defendants argued that Moore’s complaint was both "vague and ambiguous" and urged the court to dismiss parts of the lawsuit.
In a statement provided to NBC News on Monday, the Torrance Memorial Physicians Network said that employees unsuccessfully made "every effort" to remove the information from Moore’s records.
"Due to the highly complex software used in creating an electronic medical record, the incorrect code continued to exist in an electronic table only," it said. "As a result, this incorrect diagnosis code was included on a paper copy of the record, which was provided only to the patient."
Moore said he felt he had to sue after finding the entry a second time.
"I gave them chance after chance and this time I’m not going to be silent. My silence would condone this activity," he said.
Jones declined to comment through a spokeswoman for the Torrance Memorial Health Association.
Shane Snowdon, who heads the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's health and aging program, said that Moore’s case is not an aberration.
"Unfortunately, this kind of ignorance and bias is still all too common among health professionals," she said. "This incident underlines the importance of our ongoing efforts to educate healthcare providers about knowledgeable, respectful treatment of LGBT Americans. When we consult a physician, we have a right to expect care uncontaminated by personal prejudice."
But Moore said he hopes it can be a teaching moment.
"I don’t want any gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual ever to hear from a doctor that their normal and healthy sexuality is anything other than that," said Moore, noting that suicides among LGBT youth is higher than other groups.  aybe we all just saved a life today."

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