Gender, Sexuality, & Health

In the first part of this session, we will consider how the relationship between gender, sexual orientation and health by examining the historical and present-day influences of sexism, cissexism and heterosexism on disparities in health status and care. Gender, like race, is considered a “master status” in US society: one of the first things we notice about someone is their gender and gender is central to our perceptions of self and our attribution of characteristics and qualities to others. Medicine is not immune to these social influences and in many ways, has perpetuated inequities based on gender.

In the second part of this session, we will explore the effects of gender-based violence as an example of how social determinants of health interact with gender and other social determinants of equity.

To gain an understanding of the relationship between gender and health, please complete the following before class.

(1) Read: Review Slide Deck – Gender and Sexual Orientation Definitions

Goal: Establish baseline definitions of gender, sex, and sexual orientation in preparation for in-class speaker.

(2) READ: Maze of Injustice Chapters 1, 2, and 4

NOTE: there are graphic descriptors of sexual and physical violence in this reading.

Goal: Describe how historical and cultural factors contribute to disproportionate impact of violence on indigenous women.  Describe health impacts of gender based violence.

(3) Optional: Patient Identifier Guidelines presented in Week 1

(4) Optional: For further exploration of how these ideas intersect with concepts in medicine, explore:

(5) Optional: READ: The XX and XY Lie: Our Social Construction of a Sex and Gender Binary

As you read the article, CONSIDER…

  1. What is your gender identity? How do you know this about yourself? What does this identity mean to you?
    1. Imagine not being able to see your anatomy or chromosomal makeup. Pause and reflect on how this does and/or does not impact your identity?
    2. How has your gender identity affected your experiences as a patient and as a care provider?