Warning, this post is a day or too late. Oops
Last week was National Coming Out Day (11 October) here in the states. I think it was the 20th anniversary of the day, when people are encouraged to talk about LGBT issues and visibility. It’s a good thing, and I firmly believe that increased visibility of these issues is the key to acceptance in this country.
Wait, isn’t this a diabetes blog? Why, yes. It is. What on earth does coming out day have to do with diabetes? I’ll tell ya.
Healthcare accessibility and rights.
Yup, even gay, lesbian and bisexual people are affected by diabetes, trust me. But, in this country, it can be very difficult to be covered under a partner’s insurance unless the two of you are legally married. Which isn’t exactly easy to do for same sex couples in the states (unless you’re in Massachusetts. I hear it’s nice there).
The lack of domestic partner health benefits in most employer-determined health care insurance plans has an obvious negative effect on same-sex partners and their families. Diabetes is the most expensive disease in this country, and LGBT people with diabetes are often caught between a rock and a hard place. Stay-at-home moms and wives regularly receive health benefits from their husband’s job – but often cannot receive the same treatment from their wife’s job.
In Alaska last year, this very issue came up in state politics, as certain lawmakers felt it necessary to legally discriminate against LGBT people by restricting health care benefits to straight married couples only. Regardless of personal morals and beliefs, and beyond the fact that this is a clear case of personal religious ideas playing far too strong a role in politics, this is an issue of equal work/equal pay.
People with diabetes and other health issues who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, deserve the same access to health care as their straight counterparts. The diabetic child of a same sex marriage has an equal right to treatment, regardless of which parent holds the job with health insurance. It is incredibly sad to me to see this obvious inequity in the supposed land of the free. Until we treat all families with the dignity and equality they deserve, we will only be serving to hurt our fellow Americans.
Diabetes care is a basic human right, for all people.