Opinion

LGBTQ+ And Its Impact on Health and Wealth

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There is one aspect of LGBTQ+ which canhave great impact on the health and wealth of this nation and in my opinion, we need to carefully examine this.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community have unique and complex health needs that heterosexuals do not face.

In addition to risks that affect all men and women regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, such as heart disease and cancer, the LGBTQ+ community may face certain higher physical and mental health risks. Health risks that are unique for LGBTQ+ people include greater risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; higher rates of substance abuse and smoking; higher risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety; greater risk of suicide attempts and higher risk of certain cancers.

Lesbians are at higher risk of depression and anxiety. Certain sexually transmitted infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis can spread easily between lesbians. Oral sex and sexual behaviour involving digital-vaginal or digital-anal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections as well. Female sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Lesbians report higher rates of tobacco use, alcohol and drug dependence. The most prevalent problems lesbian women encountered include menstrual, sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive, bladder or kidney, and breast problems.

Stress and discrimination make gay and bisexual men more likely to abuse tobacco and alcohol than the general population. Among other dangerous health effects, tobacco use puts men at much higher risk for several cancers, and excessive alcohol use contributes to permanent liver damage and risky sexual behaviours.

Among gay men, certain drugs, especially crystal meth, also known as “Tina” — have become widely used. In addition to being highly addictive, crystal meth greatly increases the risk of unsafe sex and HIV transmission.

Gay and bisexual men have higher rates of eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. 

Men who have sex with men are at greater risk for certain sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis A & B, meningitis and HPV which is a group of viruses that can cause genital warts and certain cancers.

In addition to the above, transgenders are more likely than the general population to drink alcohol and smoke. The use of unmonitored silicone injections is also a health concern for trans people who may be unable to access professional cosmetic surgery. These illegal injections often contain toxic ingredients and can lead to severe disfigurement and even death.

The health bill on treating or managing these diseases and conditions can be very high and a developing nation like Ghana cannot afford adding this expenditure to the costs of running the economy. We can free ourselves of very heavy cost and unnecessary health care, if we do away with LGBTQ+ in the country and in Africa.

Transgender is one area of grave consent. Being transgender comes at a great cost, emotional and financial. A form of emotional distress called gender dysphoria which results in struggling to identify as a different gender than the one designated at birth. Suicide attempt rate ranks 40% in transgenders and some of the transgenders come back for the process to be reversed.

For many transgender people, the costs aren’t just emotional,mostly they are financial. The cost of medical treatments can add up to more than $100,000 to as high as $250,000 for the changing of the body through hormones and surgeries. Surgeons construct a penis (phalloplasty) or vagina (vaginoplasty), augment or remove the breasts, and feminize or masculinize the face with plastic surgery.

The procedures are long, complicated, and often painful. Vaginoplasty, for example, is a six-hour surgery with a recovery time of up to a year and a half, while phalloplasty has a similar recovery time and can take as long as 12 hours in the operating room.

The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery estimates that  some of the cost of surgery which include “bottom surgery” will cost about $25,600 for male-to-female patients and about $24,900 for female-to-male. The Center provides estimates for other common trans-related surgeries, such as breast augmentation ($9,000), bilateral mastectomy (up to $10,900), facial feminization (up to $70,100), and facial masculinization (up to $53,700). This is about one of the centers that charge the least for transgenders surgeries. And this does not include post-surgery therapies like hormone therapy at $200.00 a month and psychotherapy at $200.00 a section.

In the USA, 1.4 million or 0.43% of the population identify as transgender. Assuming just 0.4% of Ghanaians become transgenders, that will work out to be at least 124,000 persons and assuming cost of transgender surgeries here is a mere $100,000 per person, then the total cost of all the transgender surgeries will be $12.4 billion. Yes, $12.4 billion flush down the drain. Let the nations which have so much wealth that they can afford to throw some away, go ahead and defy God. However, Ghana and Africa cannot accept this on religious, spiritual, social, moral, health and financial grounds. There are so many things we can do with that amount to turn our country around.

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