Minding Your Health - Does Marriage Make Us Healthier?

As prejudicial laws such as DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act – the 1996 federal law mandating that a marriage must be between one man and one woman) and Prop 8 (California’s ban on gay marriages, approved by voters in 2008) are now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, let’s look at what we know about marriage and health. Over the last several years, the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, and a number of other groups have presented a considerable amount of research demonstrating the health benefits – both psychological and social — of marriage.   

On a social level, marriage gives couples a sense of safety and security. Research has shown that marriage provides significant psychological and physical health benefits, often due to basic moral, economic, and social support that is extended to married couples in modern society. Research has also found that experiencing positive emotions (often associated with a stable life partner) can have a positive effect on our health by reducing harmful stress-related hormones and helping the body produce more positive ones. Check out this research brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence, at aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/marriageonhealth/rb.htm

But same-sex couples seeking that kind of security face significant barriers. The Healthcare Equality Index developed by the Human Rights Campaign still demonstrates that the number of U.S. hospitals that do not recognize same-sex couples is higher than the number of those that do. This means that same-sex spouses could have no say in a spouse’s medical care, would not be given information about the medical condition of the patient, and may not even be allowed to visit him or her in the hospital. 

Heterosexism, like many social prejudices in the United States, really hits sexual and gender minorities in the pocketbook.  Right now, those who are in same-sex relationships carry a larger tax burden than those in heterosexual relationships. This is because federal benefits are not recognized for same-sex married couples. In essence, this results in a tax on those who are gay and married. If a family brings a child into their life, heterosexual couples automatically have full rights as legal parents. Same-sex couples, however, are forced to go through an expensive legal process, which again can be equated to a tax on those who are gay and married. 

The same applies to burying our dead. Without the dignity of marriage, gay couples cannot have a say in how their partner is buried. Financially, same-sex couples are denied across the board, from veterans’ benefits to Social Security. They can lose housing, immigration capability, inheritances, insurance, legal privileges in court cases, property rights, retirement benefits, and the list goes on. Let’s face it: Same-sex couples are second-class couples in America.

On a psychological level, recent empirical evidence has illustrated how prejudice and social stigma toward same-sex couples, including legislation like DOMA and Prop 8, can have a harmful impact on the mental health of both the couple and their family. Not only that, but social rejection and a loss of legal protection have been associated with an increase in stress, anxiety, and shame. Shame has the same oppressive effect as racial prejudice, with an even deeper psychological sense of disenfranchisement. 

Historically, a great number of U.S. Christian churches have contributed to this stress by rejecting sexual and gender minorities and then excluding them from participating in some of humanity’s most sacred human experiences.  (If you have been rejected by your church, then perhaps a new social support group focused on religious wounds could help. Check out the group at lgbtguild.com/groups.html.) This stress and oppression can result in increased rates of depression, anxiety, and globalized shame. As individuals struggle with the stress from society’s prejudice, they may turn to maladaptive coping skills such as drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Coping with shame can also result in higher rates of attempted suicide, increased risk-taking, decreased safer-sex practices, and a slew of other psychological challenges.

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision, you can learn more about DOMA at www.freedomtomarry.org/states/entry/c/doma.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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