Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized

Will tax increase on tobacco deter smokers?

 
By Hector Martinez
Network Blogger
Cigarette Tax Increase 

I attended a meeting where proponents of a tax increase on tobacco showcased the importance of tobacco control. If  California Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act is approved by voter, it will increase the tobacco tax by a $1.00 here in CA. The tax is meant to save lives and prevent teen smoking. In general, I would say that a tax increase would deter smokers and research supports that. Some proven tobacco control efforts have been in the area of prevention, cessation and enforcement. A friend of mine mentioned that he successfully used hypnosis to quit smoking. Another great idea might be breaking down the social view of smoking. When I talk to my friends about smoking, there is a perception that lighting a cigarette is cool. Changing our societal perception of smoking might take some time and effort but it is certainly possible.

Millions of dollars are spent on the consequences of smoking such as cancer research, hospitalizations, needless premature deaths, etc. If we were to spend more money on prevention, imagine what the world would look like. It seems to me that a combination of prevention, cessation and public perception efforts are the least expensive and most effective use of our money.

I would love to hear your opinion!

Creating Change · Creating Change 2011 · Feature

Thoughts on Creating Change Conference

Hector Martinez

Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012 Baltimore, MD
 
 
 
 

It has been a privilege to attend The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference. I want to especially thank the beautiful people at The Network, Dr. Scout, Gustavo and Daniella for their support. These last few days have been inspiring and magical. I met some bold leaders in the LGBT movement, had some big discussions and got a picture with the fabulous Kate Clinton. I met people from all over the US passionately dedicated to the LGBT movement, learned valuable people skills at the workshops and best of all I made some awesome friends. I will be able to go back to San Diego lit up by the power of our movement. I am sure that my new friend Sivagami Subbaraman’s vision of evolving from a place of woundedness to a place of wholeness will happen in our community. Thank you to all the people who made this conference a huge success!

Conferences · Creating Change · Creating Change 2011 · LGBT Policy

Housing and Urban Development Sec. Shaun Donovan announces LGBT housing discrimination protections at Creating Change

Hector Martinez

Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012 Baltimore, MD 
 
 
 
 

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: Creating Change Conference in Baltimore has attracted 3,000 LGBT rights advocates from all over the US. Housing and Urban Development Sec. Shaun Donovan announces new policies to protect LGBT people.

“I’m here this afternoon because our President and his administration believe the LGBT community deserve a place at the table and a place to call home. Each of us here knows that rights that most folks take for granted are routinely violated against LGBT people. That’s why I am proud to stand before you this afternoon and say HUD has been a leader in the fight – your fight and my fight – for equality.  Over the last three years we have worked to ensure that our housing programs are open. Not to some. Not to most. But open to all.”

These policies include protecting LGBT people from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and same-sex data collection.

“Today I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose. This is an idea whose time has come.”

It’s an exciting time for LGBT people in the US. Creating Change is working for LGBT people!

Uncategorized

Engaging Intergenerational dialogue.

Hector Martinez

Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012
Baltimore, MD
 
 
 

The Creating Change Conference is jam packed with passionate young people. As I was walking around watching lively discussions in the lobby of the Baltimore Hilton, I wondered how many of us actually make an attempt to engage in conversation with someone younger or older than ourselves. Since I was 18 years of age, I have surrounded myself with people of all ages. Older people teach me what I have to look forward to and young people bring energy and enthusiasm.

Funny story, as I was thinking this in the lobby, an older woman randomly approached me and shared her story with me. It turns out she is a volunteer with the conference. She attended a workshop and had a discussion with a young lesbian who complained that older people don’t listen to young people. She went on to say that young lesbians owe respect to the older generation. If it weren’t for Dykes on Bikes back in the day, where would young gay woman be today?

So my question is, how do you engage conversations intergenerationally? Do you find any value in it? Do you generally hang out with people your own age? I would love to hear your feedback.

Creating Change · Creating Change 2011

Diversity of stories at Creating Change.

Hector Martinez

Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012
Baltimore, MD
 
 
 

The Creating Change Conference has a vibrant and high energy feel to it. There have been countless opportunities to meet and speak to a diversity of people. Last night, I unexpectedly had dinner with Janice, a phycist from Washington DC. We ended up having dinner together and so I asked her story. She is a scientist and will be speaking at an upcoming conference for the American Physical Association, a conference for scietitsts. I asked her what she was doing at Creating Change and what she sees for 2012. She is here to learn about homophobia, it turns out that homophobia is pervasive in the scientific community. Many gay and lesbian scientists are afraid to come out of the closet for fear of loosing their funding or risking their tenure. Janice wants to educate herself on LGBT inclusive language so she can better speak to other scientists about homophobia at her upcoming presentation.

I also got to meet a young man from New York City who is celebrating his 21st birthday at Creating Change Conference. He studies music and theater, sings in 2 bands and aspires to be a rock star, his name is Justice so watch out for him. He and his friends drove to the conference to engage in the conversation of LGBT activism.

I am so inspired and in awe over the many stories I have heard. Hope for a bright future for LGBT people is alive at Creating Change and beyond.

Creating Change · Creating Change 2011 · National Coalition for LGBT Health · Uncategorized

Conversations with Exhibitors.

Hector Martinez
Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012
Baltimore, MD

 

 

The exhibition booths at the Creating Change Conference look great. I stopped by a couple of them to ask some questions. I asked Dave Reynolds,  Project Director from the Safe & Healthy LGBT Youth Project, what his plans are for creating change in 2012.  He would like to see the LGBT movement grow to rural areas of the US in the Midwest and the South. He travels to places like Alabama and Oklahoma. The LGBT movement is dramatically distinct from California and the East Coast. Our LGBT brothers and sisters from these rural areas are dealing with barriers such as empoyment discrimination and even face threats from the community. He went on to say that he would love to see the LGBT movement expand and grow in every state.

I also spoke to Tres Watson, Executive Director with Canvass for a Cause and he had two plans for 2012. The first is to double their efforts in California. Canvass for a Cause is dedicated to Queer politics sucha as marraige equality and voter engagement. His second plan is to see the scope of his work expand to rural areas and politically conservative that traditionally exclude Queer issues.

Uncategorized

Creating Change Report: How Will You Create Change in 2012?

Hector Martinez
Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January, 2012
Baltimore, MD

Do You Have a Plan for 2012?

My first time at the National Conference on LGBT Equality and the theme is Change in 2012. This leads me to wonder, how will change happen in 2012? One speaker had volunteers stand up and simulate a conversation with their boss with the intention of creating change in thinking about the LGBT movement and racial justice. One young woman stood up and said we need to implement HR policies that are LGBT inclusive. Another woman was more aggresive and said, we need to stop funding programs that are not LGBT inclusive.

It was exciting to see the passion and interchange of ideas. This morning I randomly asked people that I did not know the same question. One young man who I spoke to, a lobbyist at a grassroots non-profit in Washington DC, was energetic and passionate in his response. His primary role is to lobby Congress to make sure that the Fair Housing Act is LGBT inclusive. He went on to say that currently in politics there is not a lot of space for LGBT or racial justice conversations. His biggest challenge is to engage LGBT people of color into this conversation. However, listening in at the “Quieting Internalized Oppressions and self care as People of Color” workshop led him to think about how he will approach these topics to a Congressial Aid.

There is an atmosphere of hope for the future at this conference. Everyone is eager to see the system change for the better. It seems to me that change happens one conversation at a time. Hope and courage can be as simple as engaging conversations. I can almost see the day when being LGBT is non-consequential.

Hector Martinez
Uncategorized

Creating Change Report: Building an Anti-Racist LGBT Movement

Hector Martinez
Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January, 2012
Baltimore, MD

Daylong Institute: Building an Anti-Racist LGBT Movement

I wanted to share my thoughts on a couple of issues I discovered at the end of first Day-Long Institute at the Creating Change National Conference on LGBT Equality. The first is health inequality and the LGBT movement. I heard several stories from people about health disparities among LGBT people and especially LGBT people of color. One story was about from an African-American gay man who has struggled to get proper healthcare. He went on to say that how is he ecpected to recieve the same healthcare benefits as others? His story made me ask myself some questions. Why do LGBT people and people of color receive inadequate healthcare? How can we expect to have lower rates of alcohol and tobacco use in our communities with so many barriers? The end of the session was hopeful. The speaker reminded us: Individuals and communities do grow and change. There is HOPE! He gave us an exercise to recreate a conversation to upper management at our agencies demanding change. It was a powerful exercise and I learned much from those that shared. For my second thought, I would like to share my evaluation form comment to the organizers. The name of this institute is Building an Anti-Racist LGBT Movement! My idea is to change it to Building Racial Justice. I feel that the word anti-racist attracts and is focused on racism. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Hector Martinez
Uncategorized

Introduction from Creating Change Scholarship Blogger Hector Martinez

Hector Martinez
Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January, 2012
Baltimore, MD

 

Hello friends

I am writing to you from the floor of the first day of the National Conference on LGBT Equality Creating Change in Baltimore! My name is Hector Martinez and I am from San Diego. I am very excited to be blogging for you on behalf of The Network for LGBT Health Equity. My passion is mental and physical health and LGBT equality, so to be a participant in this conference is a real privilege.

It’s funny because as I was sitting on the airplane on the way to Baltimore, I found an article written by Dr. Andrew Weil on the subject of tobacco use. It’s based on his book “Spontaneous Healing” which is about behavioral modifications that allow our bodies to spontaneous heal. In the article he described the effects of tobacco on our breathing. Breathing properly is crucial for allowing our bodies to spontaneously heal. The amazing part is that our bodies want to heal and so no matter how long you have been smoking, if you quit your body will heal itself relatively quickly. I find this to be really good news.

So it’s almost time for lunch. I wanted to quickly introduce myself and say hi. I look forward to posting more about the conference as the days go on. Thank you.

Hector Martinez