‘Bare it All,’ New LGBTQ Health Campaign

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, bills himself a “queer health warrior and undetectables wisdom spreader” on his Twitter account. In keeping with that role, Daskalakis is featured, along with other individuals, in a new city campaign urging LGBTQ New Yorkers to get the health care they deserve.

“Bare it all” or “muéstrate al desnudo” states the new bilingual ad campaign, introduced during Pride month to raise awareness about health issues. The campaign also offers an LGBTQ Health Care Bill of Rights that states that medical providers and their support staff are legally required to offer all patients quality care regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and to treat patients respectfully. The campaign also reminds people, as Daskalakis does in the ad in which he appears, that staying healthy means telling your doctor everything about your health, including information about sex and drug use.

“Equitable, judgment-free, comprehensive health care is a right that every New Yorker deserves, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “As a physician, I know firsthand that having respectful, open conversations is essential to developing trust with patients and ensuring the best possible outcomes for their health.”

If your doctor doesn’t treat you respectfully, said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, “find a new doctor.”

Daskalakis said that was what he once had to do. “As an openly gay man and a leader in health in New York City, you would expect that my physician would have made me feel comfortable about discussing my life. When that didn’t happen, I had to find a physician that made me feel confident in sharing my personal details. Since then, my care has become better and more complete now that I have a doctor with an awareness of who I am and how I can achieve my best possible health. Silence and fear should not be the reason that people get sick.”

The campaign will run on the subway, at MTA bus stands and online in both English and Spanish.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights urges any New Yorker who believes they have been mistreated or denied care or services because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or who has witnessed health care discrimination, to contact the commission at 718-722-3131 or 311 to file a complaint.

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