Is being gay bad for your health and wellbeing? Cultural issues affecting gay men accessing and using health services in the Republic of Ireland

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Abstract

This paper examines how the experience of cultural inequalities affects the health and wellbeing of gay men in the Republic of Ireland. Gay men experience discrimination in the cultural domain when accessing and using the health services in Ireland that reinforce heteronormative values and preferences. Health inequalities experienced by gay men in the Republic of Ireland are strongly influenced by cultural factors: the Catholic Church, institutional heterosexism, heteronormativity and homophobia, which create a stigmatised identity among gay men and have an adverse effect on health and wellbeing. Counteracting cultural inequalities for gay men accessing and using health care services in Ireland requires a commitment to better education, continued funding for dedicated health services for gay men and the creation of an environment of acceptance where health services are provided.

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