Are you one of the many MSers living with sexual dysfunction? You are not alone. Living Like You blogger Willeke provides some tips.read more
Homo-MS, is it the same thing?
As a member of the LGBTQ community living with multiple sclerosis, I have always been interested in exploring if people like me experience unique issues.
Personally, I am comfortable with my sexuality, but many aren’t. I am also lucky to live in an accepting and open-minded society, but can’t help but wonder about those who don’t have this luxury. How might these factors affect their MS? I decided to investigate this question, not to be controversial, but to delve deeper into a niche topic within the MS conversation.
On a scientific level, we are aware that multiple sclerosis is not interested in your sexuality, and has an unpredictable strike pattern. Furthermore, the disease affects everyone differently, making a cure more elusive.
As I embarked on my quest to understand MS and homosexuality, and if there was a relationship between the two, I asked other members of the LGBTQ MS community to share their thoughts on the subject. Although I only received a couple of contributions, they brought up some interesting topics.
Already, people living with multiple sclerosis may experience different forms of discrimination , such as impatience and a lack of understanding from others. As members of the LGBTQ community, additional discrimination based on sexuality makes our struggles even harder.
I recently heard a story about an LGBTQ person with multiple sclerosis going through a relapse who experienced homophobia while flying to and from a major destination. Having multiple sclerosis can be tough enough on the best of days. Having to endure additional discrimination only adds insult to injury, especially when all you really need is kindness and understanding.
Someone brought to my attention that most of the information about multiple sclerosis online assumes you are a woman who loves men or vice versa. Obviously, not everyone living with MS is heterosexual and this type of bias may have far-reaching effects on both patients and healthcare providers.
If we can make literature more relatable for everyone, we will remove unnecessary barriers to MS diagnoses and probably treatment as well. As is, we generally have to correct or disclose to doctors and therapists that we are gay to remove the elephant in the room and assist in an accurate treatment. Finding a doctor you are comfortable with can make all the difference.
On a more positive note, planning a pregnancy as a lesbian couple may have one unique advantage when it comes to MS. In a lesbian relationship where one of the partners does not have MS, there is the option of the woman without MS to carry the child. Since many women with MS experience a relapse after giving birth, this option may be worth considering. Again, this comes back to having a good relationship with your doctor and being able to speak open and honestly about issues in your life.
This is just the beginning of my investigation, and I hope more LGBTQ people with multiple sclerosis will come forward and share their stories. I also hope this is a sign that we are moving toward a world where being gay, straight or otherwise will not impact the outcome of your MS.