Useful web links:
Illawarra Women's Health Centre A feminist centre, committed to excellence, a vision of health, nurturing, self-acceptance, empowerment, dignity and respect for women of all cultures at Warilla
Lesbian.com Links to Lesbian Health, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Menstruation, Other Health Sites, Associations
Dykes On Bikes Social Lesbian group that first rode in the 1988 Mardi Gras and now has over 250 riders in the parade. Currently they go on monthly day rides to different and interesting places led by our great Ride Leaders who ensure we get to our destination safely & have a fun ride at the same time, as we enjoy the long winding roads, fresh country air & the most scenic routes.
About.com: Lesbian Life An e-mag on lesbian lifestyle
Citylickers A Queensland website for all Lesbians, of all ages and of all styles. Their goal is to have a unified Lesbian Community that embraces Lesbian diversity
LesbianSTD.com USA site whose goal is to provide information and resources regarding sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases in women who have sex with women.
REAL - Illawarra
Lesbian Social support group in the Illawarra with lots of different social events and activities - this site has not been updated for a significant time do you know any details about this group, please contact us?
LOVEGIRLS A London based website for girls who love girls with news, forums, and entertainment information.
Pink Sofa is different from your run of the mill, meat market, soulless dating site that tries to get you to sign up whatever you do. You can also look for friends and just hang out and be a part of the community here. And there's some features like chitchat and forums where you can actively discuss all kinds of topics or nothing at all. It has an atmosphere like no other site out there.
LOTL Lesbians On The Loose (LOTL) is an Australian lesbian magazine with news from Australia and beyond. Features astrology, dream interpretation, chat room, advice and a lesbian site review.
The Flying Bats Lesbian Football Club Sydney's best known lesbian football (aka soccer) club run by women for women. Their ethos is to have fun playing football and enjoy themselves down the pub after!
A common misconception by some lesbians and health professionals is that lesbians don't need Pap tests. A recent study showed that 22% of lesbians surveyed had received an abnormal Pap test result. Over time an abnormality can lead to cervical cancer if left untreated. It can be assumed that lesbians have the same risk of cervical cancer as heterosexual women.
You should start having Pap tests about a year after your first sexual contact or at the age of 18, whichever comes later. This applies to women who have sex with women.
Genital HPV is spread through genital skin contact during sexual activity. So, even if you have never had sex with a man, you are still at risk of cervical cancer.
Having a Pap test is not always easy for lesbians, as community acceptance and recognition of lesbians and lesbian relationships is not always apparent. In relation to health needs, there are a number of issues that lesbians may face.
[Source PapScreen Victoria]
Below is a link to advice on PAP tests - this is a Victorian resource
Check the Social Groups/events page of this website for full details of social group meeting dates & special events
10 Words That Complete Our Lesbian Dictionary
September 28, 2008
Some of the words commonly heard in lesbian culture are widely known and easily understood. Others are less common and met by many with confusion and oftentimes-feigned comprehension for fear of embarrassment. To help clear things up, we have defined 10 words that we feel every lesbian should know how to use. We aren't in favor of labels, or all encompassing describers for any one individual, but in a community that is far more than just "gay" and "lesbian," familiarity with these words is key.
1. Grrl - If you are an out and proud lesbian woman who believes in gender equality, gay rights, and embraces the lively arts and entertainment culture within our community - You go (cherry)Grrl!
2. Lesbian - We know, you wouldn't be on cherrygrrl.com if you didn't know what a lesbian was. Well, you probably wouldn't even be on the internet at all if you didn't know what a lesbian was. OK, everyone knows what a lesbian is. But - just in case - a lesbian is a woman who is romantically or sexually attracted only to other women. The word "only" is used here because the word "bisexual" exists for those of you who also like men.
3. Butch - Because we don't believe in labels - and do believe that a lesbian can be extremely masculine and not butch and paint her nails and be butch - we will define this word only as it pertains to the butch-femme relationship whereby, typically, the butch is the more masculine and dominant of the two women in the lesbian couple.
4. Femme - As discussed above, the femme is the yang to the butch ying.
5. Stud - A common discussion among the LGBT community has been the disassociation of gay African Americans from words often used in queer culture. "Stud" is one of the alternative words used, and has been defined as a dominant lesbian who is usually butch and often African American.
6. Gold-star - Many men don't believe in her existence, but the gold-star lesbian is one who has never slept with a man and who has no intention of ever doing so. And she is most definitely real.
7. Boi - A cute word for a cute kind of girl, a boi is biologically female but has a boyish appearance or presentation.
8. Celesbian - A celebrity who is also a lesbian. Also, a lesbian who is also a celebrity. For example: Ellen DeGeneres is a celebrity who is also a lesbian. Dani Campbell is a lesbian who is also a celebrity. One is a celebrity who happens to be a lesbian and the other's celebrity came about because she is a lesbian - but both make it on our list of celesbians.
9. Baby-dyke - Used pretty much exclusively among lesbians, this one is somewhat self-explanatory. If you are young and new to the scene…you might get called a baby-dyke. Embrace it, time flies.
10. Queer - Although this word has taken on many negative connotations in mainstream society, and is often used in derogatory attacks against LGBT individuals, it is becoming more and more commonly used as an accurate adjective to describe those who may or may not identify as homosexual, but consider themselves members of the LGBT community regardless of their particular orientation. For instance, you could be a hardcore lesbian, bisexual man, transsexual, or straight woman who relates best with homosexual friends and consider yourself queer - and proud of it.
Source: Cherry Girl
HOW TO USE A DENTAL DAM
CHECK THE SUB-MENUE TO THE RIGHT OF THIS PAGE
RESPECTING EQUALITY AMONGST LESBIANS
SOCIAL SUPPORT GROUP FOR LESBIANS
TEN THINGS LESBIANS SHOULD DISCUSS WITH THEIR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Following are the health issues GLMA's healthcare providers have identified as most commonly of concern for lesbians. While not all of these items apply to everyone, it's wise to be aware of these issues.
1. Breast Cancer
Lesbians have the richest concentration of risk factors for breast cancer than any subset of women in the world. Combine this with the fact that many lesbians over 40 do not get routine mammograms, do breast self-exams, or have a clinical breast exam, and this cancer may elude early diagnosis, when it is most curable.
Lesbians have been shown to experience chronic stress from homophobic discrimination. This stress is compounded by the need that some still have to hide their orientation from family and colleagues at work, and by the fact that many lesbians have lost the important emotional support most others get from their families due to alienation stemming from their sexual orientation.
3. Heart Health
Smoking and obesity are the most prevalent risk factors for heart disease among lesbians; but all lesbians need to also get an annual clinical exam because this is when blood pressure is checked, cholesterol is measured, diabetes is diagnosed, and exercise is discussed. Preventing heart disease, which kills 45 percent of women, should be paramount to every clinical visit.
4. Gynecological Cancer
Lesbians have higher risks for many of the gynecologic cancers. What they may not know is that having a yearly exam by a gynecologist can significantly facilitate early diagnosis and a better chance of cure
Research confirms that lesbians have higher body mass than heterosexual women. Obesity is associated with higher rates of heart disease, cancers, and premature death. What lesbians need is competent and supportive advice about healthy living and healthy eating, as well as healthy exercise.
Research also indicates that lesbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them. Whether smoking is used as a tension reducer or for social interactions, addiction frequently follows and is associated with higher rates of cancers, heart disease, and emphysema - the three major causes of death among all women.
Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians. While one drink daily may be good for the heart, more than that can be a risk factor for cancer or osteoporosis.
8. Substance Use
Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques.
9. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is reported to occur in about 11 percent of lesbian homes, about half the rate of 20 percent reported by heterosexual women. But the question is where do lesbians go when they are battered? Shelters need to welcome and include battered lesbians, and offer counseling to the offending partners.
The rates and risks of osteoporosis among lesbians have not been well characterized yet. Calcium and weight-bearing exercise as well as the avoidance of tobacco and alcohol are the mainstays of prevention. It is also important to get bone density tests every few years to see if medication is needed to prevent fracture.
Author: Katherine A. O'Hanlan, MD, Former President, GLMA, Co-Founder, Lesbian Health Fund, Gynecologist, Portola Valley, CA
Lesbian health inequalities: a cultural minority issue for health professionals
Health inequalities exist for lesbian and bisexual women, largely related to experiences of discrimination, homophobia and heterosexism. These issues can lead to avoidance of routine healthcare and screening and reduced disclosure of sexual orientation within consultations.
Lesbian and bisexual women have specific healthcare needs in areas of sexual and cervical health, reproductive health and parenting, mental health, substance use, and ageing.
Facilitation of disclosure of sexual orientation, identity and behaviour within the consultation is desired by most lesbians and important for addressing specific health needs.
Healthcare providers should develop "cultural competence" in lesbian issues to enhance their care of lesbian and bisexual women.
Healthcare providers have a role in promoting awareness of lesbian health issues and inequalities in the arenas of healthcare provider education, research and health policy.
How (and why) to be out to your Doctor
(this is an American based article with useful tips)
If you live in a large, gay-friendly city like San Francisco or New York, you're likely to run into -- and be out to -- "family" wherever you go, including doctors, dentists and health care providers.
But in the rest of the world -- from suburbs to small towns, from people working in unfriendly jobs to people living in oppressive countries -- gay men and women around the world don't reveal their sexual orientation to their doctors. A 2006 AOL poll puts the number at a whopping 47 percent.
Many gay people, especially those in smaller, less accepting cities, worry that coming out will subject them to discrimination or inadequate care by doctors who are either homophobic or inexperienced in treating the unique health concerns of the gay community.
Other reasons gay men and women avoid doctors like the plague are:
- The fear of talking about sex prevents many from being candid.
- Lack of health insurance -- many gay people are self-employed and can't find affordable health care.
- Real or perceived homophobia among doctors.
- Worry that doctor-patient confidentiality will be breached.
- Fear of hearing the truth about their medical conditions.
Past negative medical experiences keep many LGBT people from seeing a doctor until something is obviously wrong. By then, cancer or other illnesses that could have been detected and treated earlier instead get diagnosed in their later stages, greatly reducing the chances of survival.
So by staying in the medical closet, many gay men and women put themselves at even greater health risk -- including missed opportunities for early disease detection or misdiagnosis by doctors who don't have the lowdown on a patient's orientation. If doctors are to fully treat your health needs, they'll need to know your lifestyle, warts and all.
Being gay can open doors to a host of health concerns beyond AIDS, HIV, STDs and the depression and suicide that often go along with those conditions. According to the American Cancer Society, gay men are at higher risk of contracting prostate, skin and colon cancer.
A chief killer in the LGBT community is lung cancer. A recent study shows that 36 percent of gay men and women smoke, as opposed to 25 percent of all adults. 30,000 gay men and women die from lung cancer each year, according to the ACS.
With the landscape littered with all of these potential health landmines, it's easy to see the importance of getting yourself to the doctor's office regularly, and of full disclosure once you're there. But there are ways to keep the doctor experience from being so fearful.
The easiest solution is to find a gay or gay-friendly doctor. This is easier in bigger cities, where the majority of doctors practicing in or near large gay neighborhoods (such as West Hollywood or the Castro in
In smaller, more rural settings, gay medical practitioners are often harder to find. Your best resource here will be a referral -- from friends, your local LBGT center or local gay publications. You can also turn to a number of online databases as well, notably the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Web site (www.glma.org).
There may still be times where you have to fly blind without knowing a doctor's take on gay patients. Your first step is to call a doctor's office and simply ask if the practice has any LGBT patients. Since you don't have to give your name, there's little risk involved.
Upon visiting a practice for the first time, look for visual clues that may reveal where a doctor stands on LGBT patients. Do the magazines skew in a more heterosexual direction? Are there any other gay men or women in the waiting room?
The new-patient form you fill out can also offer clues. Many forms assume that a new patient is heterosexual, and often exclude any gay-related information -- questions about birth control can be offensive to lesbians, for example. A positive sign will be questions asking specifically about domestic partnership information or gay health matters. Avoid writing in your orientation on the form, as that information is best disclosed in a one-on-one interview with the physician.
The new doctor/patient relationship can be uncomfortable to begin with, particularly when the subject turns to sex talk. Again, you may have to rely on clues from the physician before deciding if you feel comfortable coming out. Bring it up when you are still fully clothed, thereby avoiding the subtle "you're naked and I'm not" power imbalance that can happen between doctor and patient. If a doctor seems uncomfortable after you disclose your orientation, find another doctor.
The goal is to find a health care provider who you can communicate with and feel comfortable around. Gay men and lesbians who can talk openly about their sexuality are more likely to receive accurate and timely diagnosis. Fortunately, increased sensitivity training in medical schools and the public's changing attitudes are making it easier for gay people to slowly step out of the health care closet.