LGBT Communities KICKED It in Atlanta

JuanCarlosProfBy Juan Carlos Vega, Policy Manager, LGBT HealthLink

We just spent a splendid week in Atlanta looking to reduce tobacco-related disease and death with other CDC grantees, including representatives from states, Pacific Island Jurisdictions, territories, tribes, and other National Disparity Networks.  Monday and Tuesday, I participated on the 2015 Leadership & Sustainability School: Cultivating a New Generation of Tobacco Control Leaders.  Then, Wednesday thru Friday, along with Nicole and Scout, we actively networked, distributed LGBT-specific cancer and tobacco print materials, provided in-person technical assistance, and guided discussions during the CDC’s 2015 Kick-Off Meeting Retooling and Recommitting: Policy, Systems, and Environmental Approaches in Tobacco Control.  The Meeting provided the most up to date information to translate evidence and practice and achieve the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health National Tobacco Control Program goals.

Two highlights for me were the direct technical assistance provided to states like Arizona, Kentucky, and Oregon, as well as the co-facilitation with Rhonda Williams from the Vermont Department of Health of two Conversations that Matter sessions. We had the opportunity to answer all questions from tobacco control program staff regarding how to identify, effectively engage, and include LGBT communities on their local tobacco control and prevention efforts.  It is important to note the high number of questions regarding strategies to engage LGBT individuals in rural communities from all across the country.  It was noted that local LGBT communities in rural areas are either completely hidden, do not have places where they gather, or travel to other nearby states or cities to interact with other LGBT individuals.

I can’t close this blog without saying thanks to Atlanta. The hot weather, the southern hospitality, the amazing food, smoke-free parks, and more. As always, I had the opportunity to checkout some of the local bars and my eyes, always checking… on health messaging TheSceneand the tobacco environment in the bar. For sure smoking was happening inside the bars I visited,
especially e-cigarettes, and like in every other gay bar I visit, the smoking section continues to be the patio bar exposing the cute bartenders and other workers who spend hours every night exposed to secondhand smoke.

The images on this post are from a local LGBT magazine which pKeyublishes The Scene: David Atlanta’s Map to the Hottest Bars, Clubs and LGBT Businesses highlighting the Non-Smoking Areas available in the different establishments.  We congratulate David Atlanta Magazine for promoting healthy places for LGBT communities.

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