“Rainbow Blue” is a new initiative to establish a prostate cancer support/awareness group network for Gay and Bisexual men and their partners in New Zealand.The network operates as part of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
So why have a support group for gay men?
Firstly, the nature of relationships and support mechanisms in the gay community is often very different to that in the heterosexual community. The vast majority of gay men are single and have transient and many casual relationships.
Because of this style of relationship, gay men are more often faced with extreme emotional and stressful difficulties. They face fresh challenges each time they begin a new sexual relationship. Gay men are challenged with the additional emotion and stress of disclosing their continence, potency and erectile issues to multiple partners. Emotional support structures are therefore different and often more complex and involved for those in the gay community.
It is important that gay men who are diagnosed with and/or are coping with prostate cancer have the opportunity to meet together in their own gay-safe and caring environment where they are able to feel both comfortable and secure in sharing their concerns and worries about this particular cancer. They need to have the right information in order to understand how prostate cancer affects men in a gay relationship. It is also important for gay and bisexual men to receive the correct and relevant information that is appropriate to male same sex relationships, in order for them to understand how prostate cancer affects men in a gay relationship.
A sense of isolation…
Gay men talk about feeling a greater sense of isolation when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer and may feel some discrimination in the health system. And some of course are not comfortable disclosing they are gay. Then there is the added disclosure of the cancer and its effects.
Gay men who do not disclose…
Consequently they often don’t go on to address their struggles with potency, continence and erectile dysfunction with their doctor or in mixed support groups. This often results in them having a poorer quality of life after treatment.
Rainbow Blue’s focus is to peer support each other and to bring in gay-needs aware guest speakers to present information on various aspects on men’s health and prostate cancer.
David Hartnell has agreed to become an ambassador for Rainbow Blue and we also have the support of other gay men and organisations, such as GABA, willing to assist.
Useful link from the Prostate Cancer UK website:
If you want support then please email Keith Townshend or call 09 634 2636 or mobile: 027 261 6672