by Scout Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA Reporting from Netroots National LGBT Pre-Conf, Minneapolis MN
First, thanks hugely to Mike Rodgers for creating this LGBT pre-conference where the bloggers and some LGBT groups are tossed in a room together to really try to hone our strategies to create social change (or health change for us) via all these new online tools. The first session was a rapid fire speakout session about what topics were missing from our LGBT media blogosphere. Needless to say, I was up like a jackrabbit to say fast that HEALTH was missing! We’re tired of begging LGBT folk to care about issues like tobacco use, informing folk that tobacco is actually the number one health issue that takes years off of our lives. There are so many opportunities to really change health at the national and local level right now, help make all these big new prevention initiatives really include our communities. I know the steps to take to help make LGBT health inclusive can be pretty complicated sometimes (like, if you know what the big ACASI debate is about NHIS right now, you may be a very tiny club)… but we can really break these issues down into bite-sized pieces. The room was pretty receptive and a few bloggers already want to interview us about this issue. So, here’s crossing our fingers and hoping this could be an interesting step in getting more health topics covered in the LGBT media.
As I listen in to the blogger-driven side of the conversation, it becomes clear that many of these blogs that so many of us use for our LGBT information, are completely volunteer driven. Gotta say kudos to the many people who literally have taken on 2nd jobs on top of their regular ones to build these huge online media efforts. It’s an underrecognized group of heros who really deserve our support. So, start building those relationships with media folk, media is certainly a proven component of norm change. And when you build those relationships, remember these folks who can really help us blow up our messages and create health changes… are often struggling to keep afloat. Don’t just think of what you want, think of what you can offer as well.