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Durham e-Theses
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“Normalized Absence, Pathologised Presence”
Understanding the Health Inequalities of LGBT People in Greece

GIANNOU, DIMITRA (2017) “Normalized Absence, Pathologised Presence”
Understanding the Health Inequalities of LGBT People in Greece.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Homophobia and transphobia are two main modes of oppression affecting LGBT people. These interlinked forms of oppression make LGBT people feel disempowered, discriminated, and marginalized. Although there is a comprehensive body of literature exploring the impact of oppression on this part of the population, sexual orientation and gender identity are not yet highly recognised as factors of health inequalities. Respectively, health care services have been structured within a homophobic and transphobic society resulting unavoidably in important barriers and poor quality of health care for LGBT people. Internationally, there is a growing number of health studies that outline the ways homophobia and transphobia construct health inequalities for LGBT people. Being the first of its kind in Greece, this study aims at contributing to this body of knowledge by providing an opportunity to LGBT people in Greece to describe for themselves their realities in the public domain. To this end, an ethnographic approach was employed in drawing upon observations and interviews with LGBT groups and LGBT individuals, as well as with doctors, which facilitated a rich understanding of the ways that homophobia and transphobia violate LGBT health rights.

The findings of this study revealed that the health inequalities of LGBT people in Greece can be founded upon Phoenix’s couplet “normalized absence, pathologised presence” (Phoenix, 1987). Invisibility in its many dimensions is undeniably interrelated with LGBT participants’ experience of (low quality) health care (services) and is a recurring issue noted in every pattern of homophobia and transphobia I discuss throughout this thesis. Within a culture of silence and invisibility, the very system of ideas that historically pathologise LGBT people, is after all fostered. These findings are of value to those who want to promote the accessibility and the quality of health care services that LGBT people deserve. My suggestion is that in order to achieve these two goals, we should on the one hand overcome the invisibility of LGBT people, and comprehend the real notion of being discriminated, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity on the other. Unless we efficiently address such critical goals, ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as bases of discrimination will remain abstract terms in official documents regarding health rights.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:LGBT, health inequalities, homophobia, transphobia, health care, invisibility, pathologisation, ethnography, qualitative research
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Feb 2017 10:36

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