Courtney Sarkin Rose Hills
Breast Cancer, Bodies, and Boundaries: Queering Solutions for Equitable Healthcare
My mother once told me: I tell doctors that my partner is my sister so she can be present during my appointments and hospitalization without prejudice. My mom, who identifies as an LGBT individual, was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a first year at UC Berkeley. Although the LGBTIQA communities are diverse and represent a wide range of identities, the discrimination and stigma surrounding these social and gendered minorities is common, including in healthcare. In the US context, discrimination and ignorance by health professionals create disparities in LGBTIQA health where health care, access, and needs are denied. Breast cancer is prevalent among the LGBTIQA communities, and there are many factors that have influence on why this community is often left untreated or receives poor health care. Little data is available on breast cancer in the LGBTIQA communities: my research seeks to develop solutions for better healthcare by exploring biomedical innovations that influence medicinal practices, law, and society. These methods, while meaningful, are limited and may produce interactions that may threaten the health and well-being of individuals. Through reflection on medico-legal structures, including the Affordable Care Act, and LGBTIQA breast cancer patients experiences, I will examine the ways in which current developments in healthcare continue to perpetuate systems of inequality that greatly disadvantage LGBTIQA breast cancer patients. Using feminist intersectional methodology, a holistic, collaborative approach, I hope to expand understandings of the human experience of breast cancer and bridge these health disparities.