by Scout, Ph.D. Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity At The Fenway Institute
I’ll admit, what I know about anti-violence work would could fit in a thimble. But nothing exists in a silo and after hearing that there had been 6 murders of trans women in Puerto Rico last year alone, and some of our most active tobacco and wellness organizers in the country were also doing amazing anti-violence work in this terribly hostile environment — we could not help but be moved.
We’ve developed a truly close relationship with some impressive organizers in Puerto Rico, Juan Carlos Vega and Sophia Isabel Marrero Cruz have been active bloggers on this site, Juan Carlos and Elba Diaz Toro reached out to convert our cultural competency training into Spanish, and you probably heard about the LGBTT* needs assessment and amazing LGBTT health conference they threw there last year. Just search Puerto Rico on this blog and you’ll get an eyeful.
So, it is with great pleasure that we report a distinct win on the antiviolence front there. As a result of our flying Sophia in for a series of government meetings last month and her top notch advocacy, the FBI has deployed to train their local staff on how to handle LGBTT hate crimes on the island. As I write this, they are gathering on the island to listen to community representatives concerns.
See more information in the story by Michael Lavers here: Federal Officials to Conduct Hate Crime Trainings in Puerto Rico
And stay tuned, because after our HRSA meeting we hear they might also have some plans in the works so trans people from Puerto Rico don’t have to fly to NYC to get health care. Talk about access to care barriers!
Also remember, as a result of their local advocacy, the state tobacco control program (which BTW could teach us all a lesson on how to drive down prevalence) agreed to include LGBTT data collection on their surveys and routinely asks for the Alliance LGBTT Salud to help cosponsor their annual conference.
Way to go Puerto Rico!
*Two Ts are used in Puerto Rico for transgender and transexual