Finding Reliable Trans Health Information Online


by Emilia Dunham

Reporting on the Philly Trans-Health Conference from workshop Finding Reliable Health Information Online  by the AIDS Project/Philadelphia Fight

Philadelphia Fight, the parent organization of the AIDS Library, was helping people get access to HIV meds since 1990. They have been using technology to make LGBT and AIDS information accessible, specifically empowering individuals to find reliable information on their own. Also funded by Freedom Rights the Critical Path Project is providing public computers across the city of Philadelphia and offering access to computer classes.

 This training went over how to decide whether a website offers valid advice on transgender health, which is an extremely skill! There is so little information on trans health. Even in the ’90s when I was first researching this stuff, there was little information and it was mostly entirely unreliable. Without much research, data, healthcare inclusion, etc there are still issues even now, but there are SOME good resources and ways to ID those.

The workshop challenges us to think very critically about online information: who it comes, why it was published, when was it posted, how clear is the information, what is the format, what is the purpose (to provide information or sell products? Some ways to critically examine these sources are to check sources and find if it is a recognized organization with legitimate links.

 Examples of Good Contact Information

  • The Center for Excellent on Transgender Health in the University of San Francisco in California – it’s recognized organization with valid contact information.
  •  transhealth.vch.ca/resources/library/
  • transequality.org
  • thetaskforce.org

More resources to come!

What to be mindful of

  • Websites not updated recently and/or no reliable contact information.
  • Online forums are not necessarily reliable or objective, and often health providers are not commenting on these. However if you look at the experiences on their own, that may be helpful, but just not for objective advice. These may be great for support and offer information not offered elsewhere (Ex. Experience Project, FTM surgery info).
  • Dead links
  • Some health information may not be fully and objectively presented

Again, specific factsheets will be shared later on! In the meantime information can be found here: http://aidslibrary.org/

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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