Cross-posting · Feature · Presentations · social media · Staff/Program Updates · White House

Network Staff in First Agency-Wide “I AM: Trans People Speak” Video, also Great Public Health Tool

Imageby Emilia Dunham

Guest Blogger / Former Network Staff / The Fenway Institute Study Coordinator

I am very pleased to announce the release of Fenway Health’s contribution to the  “I AM: Trans People Speak” campaign, which I coordinated through my new study for young transgender women, the LifeSkills project of The Fenway Institute.

ImageIf you’re not familiar, the “I AM” project is an amazingly powerful campaign raising awareness about the diversity that exists within transgender communities. It gives a voice to transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends, and allies. In the video’s premier, I hosted at Fenway, LifeSkills Investigator Sari Reisner discusses how it is also a brilliant public health campaign.

Research shows how projects like the “I AM” videos are fantastic examples of how media campaigns are widely recognized as useful public health tools, and that focused, well-executed health media campaigns can change some health knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. (Randolph & Viswanath, 2004) (Noar, 2006) – Sari Reisner, 11/14/2012

Demonstrating the impact of this campaign, our event listing and video were cross-posted in multiple locations including MTPC, GLAADBoston.comThe Rainbow Times and GLAAD! Even more significantly, major news outlets like CBS have picked up the campaign! A few professors and students have mentioned their plans to use in their classrooms as well. Just think about the incredible impact this campaign could have!

Making this fun, moving and theoretically informed video even better, the Network’s own Daniella Matthews-Trigg, Gustavo Torrez and *your’s truly* appear at various points in the video! As you know the Network is all about how the effects of social media can be tools for advocacy in public health, and this is a prime example that’s just in time for Transgender Awareness Week. It’s ok if you watch just to see our lovely faces, but also consider sending around to your friends, family, classmate/students and colleagues for your part in Transgender Awareness Week or make your own video after watching some on the website.

As we see how even the White House is recognizing Transgender Awareness Week, and that folks like Scout have a seat at the White House table for trans policy initiatives, it’s important to have positive public health tools like this campaign to help educate along the way.

Noar SM. (2006). A 10-year retrospective of research in health mass media campaigns: Where do we go from here? Journal of Health Communication, 11, 21-42.

Randolph W, Viswanath K. (2004). Lessons learned from public health mass media campaigns: Marketing health in a crowded media world. Annual Review of Public Health, 25, 419-437.

Creating Change 2011 · social media

Youth Kicks! An LGBTQ Youth Counter Tobacco Project’s Next Steps

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Some of you may remember the LGBTQ youth anti-tobacco campaign, Youth Kicks, I was working on with the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. We started a little less than a year ago with the staff support NYAC, and a few of us met up at Creating Change to discuss strategy and goals. Unfortunately, there were some challenges as NYAC closed its doors back in the Spring. This came as quite a shock to the LGBTQ and youth communities across the country, and the loss of NYAC leaves a big gap to fill in the LGBTQ community.

Shortly after NYAC shut its doors, we at the Network decided to take on the project, and even after the timeframe of the project ended, many of the youth graciously agreed to volunteer even after this time. With conference calls once or twice a month, these youth experts came together to form some what-we-believe-to-be effective strategies to aid in harm reduction of tobacco prevalence in LGBTQ youth communities.

Finally after many conversations of discussing the project, we decided on some messaging and image concepts, which were sent to yet another dedicated volunteer, Jean Calomeni of Project Filter, who is responsible for some stellar ads in response to Camel Snus’ aggressive targeting of LGBT communities.

Although I am afraid this is just a teaser as the final product is not complete, though the drafts are quite stunning, so you’ll have to hang tight but expect some great designs that you’ll be able to share at your agencies and beyond.

However I would like to take a moment to introduce our committee members:

Carla Mena was born in Lima, Peru. She came to the US in the year 2001; she graduated from high school with an honors GPA and became the first National Honors Society Hispanic member at Sanderson High School in Raleigh. During her freshmen year of high school, Carla joined El Pueblo’s youth (No Fumo) program and has been a key volunteer since then; it was through El Pueblo and her own experiences that Carla discovered her passion for social justice. Carla is currently attending Meredith College, majoring in Biology. At Meredith, Carla has organized several programs to make the Meredith community more aware of the issues affecting the Latino community, as well as events to share its cultural richness. Carla is currently serving as the Youth Reproductive Health (Our Rights Have no Borders) Intern at El Pueblo Inc. Carla is passionate about access to higher education, human rights and social justice.

Ariel Cerrud is a graduate of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, majoring in Political Science with a Minor in Communication Studies. As a youth activist, he has advocated on behalf of various governmental, non-governmental, community and advocacy entities. Ariel’s advocacy work has revolved around youth focused areas including youth character and leadership development and health disparities in young people including working towards curving adolescent risky behaviors.  Ariel’s most recent advocacy work has been on behalf of Advocates For Youth, as a Peer Educator for, a website by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth. Ariel also provides content and materials for Amplify Your Voice, Advocates for Youth new interactive website that serve as a vehicle for youth-led, grassroots online activism. In his professional life, Ariel works as a Program Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland. Under his role, he provides guidance to youth ages 6-18 and instills within each of them a sense of belonging, power and influence over their lives. He works to enable all youth to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens and instills these potentials in every program and activity he leads.

Chase Andrews is a 24 year old, Atlanta native and a recent graduate of Georgia State University. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communication with a minor in Psychology. He’s is the former Program Coordinator for the Department of Student Health Promotion at his alma mater. He got his start as a peer health educator in 2005, from there his interest in health education and HIV prevention blossomed. In August of 2010, he joined the AID Atlanta staff as the Recruitment and Retention Specialist for the Evolution Project. When he’s not doing HIV prevention work he’s a filmmaker. In 2009 he started a small production company, Eight Peace Productions, LLC. He’s currently working on short film entitled: Emotionally Safe Sex: Beyond Barrier Methods. Ultimately, Chase aims to combine his passion for LGBT youth, HIV prevention, and film to create provocative media/art.

Lexi Adsit, a familiar face, is a fierce queer transwomyn of color. She blogged for us at the Philly Trans Health Conference. She is studying at San Francisco State University majoring in Raza Studies with a minor in counseling. Her activism led her to many non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area and a larger network of like-minded people whom she has worked with since high school. She is in the middle of various projects, including YouthKicks, ranging from being an online peer educator with Advocates For Youth (AFY) to interning at the ACLU of Northern California in the Friedman Education Youth Program to more recently working as a Coordinator for YouthNoise.  She is also a proud part of the femme shark and INCITE! Movement. She dreams of being a counselor for queer youth and run a homeless shelter for queer and trans youth in the Bay Area.

Ernesto, another familiar face, is a twenty-something aged youth from Portland Oregon. Currently he works for Cascade AIDS Project as youth technology specialist where he engages young people in creating healthy sexuality for themselves and their peers through social media. As an LGBT youth of color Ernesto has worked in various positions in local, state and national organizations to address some of the serious health inequities that exist for young people in America. As a 4th year member of Advocates for Youth initiatives, Ernesto is glad to bring his diverse experiences to the work he does in creating safe and supportive spaces for youth. You may also recall Ernesto served on our Steering Committee and was featured in a recent issue of Sharing Our Lessons: From Queer Youth to Public Health Leader.
Data · Resources

New LGBT People and Tobacco Fact Sheet

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate


We’re excited to share a new Network resource.  Our updated LGBT People and Tobacco Fact Sheet! With the help of Network members, we’re happy to share this new resource with all of you.  As you know research on LGBT tobacco rates is very limited, but what we do know is that prevalence is consistently higher within these communities, and it’s really useful to put out more refined information that becomes available in recent years.

This factsheet was originally prepared by Scout and Donald Hitchcock in 2005, with assistance from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,, the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It was updated in 2008 by Scout for the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network, and updated again in August 2011 by Joseph Lee of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Like previous fact sheets, our 2011 version contains key facts regarding LGBT people and tobacco such as the following:

  • LGBT communities are severely impacted by tobacco use
  • Tobacco companies target LGBT populations, compromising work against a major health threat
  • Negative health impacts of tobacco continue to be under-estimated
  • Reasons for the disparity
  • LGBT people want clean indoor air

Please check out and share our new fact sheet:

Action Alerts · LGBT Policy

National Safe Schools Day for LGBTQ Youth

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Today we’d like to raise awareness for an important campaign by Safe Schools Action Network: National Safe Schools Day. As you likely know there were quite a few highly publicized LGBTQ youth suicides as a result of anti-LGBTQ bullying clustered around this time last year, which makes this day so important. You probably all know the facts about Health Risks of LGBT kids including the obscene statistics about high suicide rates among LGB, and especially T people.

It’s of some relief to know that the government is starting to respond with supportive policies and recommendations. At a Network we do our best to support LGBTQ youth in our policy advocacy, trainings, supporting you in your efforts, hosting LGBTQ youth initiatives, action alerts, and youth focused funding technical assistance calls. However, sometimes it’s useful to provide resources with what people can do directly, which is just what Safe Schools is doing and why we gladly support their efforts.

Take Action

The Safe Schools Action Network website hosts many ways to get involved, provides resources for LGBTQ youth, and lists many ways to take action such as:

  • Send a Letter/Email to a School, Community Leader or Local Newspaper Editor
  • Speak with your representatives in government to support LGBTQ youth
  • Work with your schools to educate and create task forces for LGBTQ youth
  • Talk with neighbors, friends, co-workers and families
  • Be a mentor to an LGBTQ youth

Make it Personal

Some of you already do great work, but we should all push ourselves to do one extra thing this month for the youth. For me, I’ve decided to contact my old school district, asking for them to support LGBTQ youth. Like many LGBTQ people, when I was growing up I was bullied quite a bit. Well before I even came out, peers directed homophobic and transphobic taunts and slurs at me on a regular basis, and I became very depressed and isolated for feeling so different from my straight, gender conforming peers. When I did come out in high school, it felt good to be myself, but bullying got more defined. However, my school’s administration was very supportive of me and were there when I needed them. Looking back, I consider myself lucky to have had such support in a small, conservative town and I’m not sure if I would here today if it wasn’t for that support. Therefore I am resolved to write a letter to my school thanking them for their support and asking them for their continued support of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer and questioning students.

So whatever you do, whether you’re making it personal or taking action because it’s the right thing, please do something for the youth.

Make it a Commitment

All of October is Bullying Prevention Month too, so for the next few weeks, please make a committment to support LGBTQ youth.

Cultural Competency Trainings · webinar

Network to Team in Leading First LGBT Cultural Competency Trainings for Nat’l Health Service Corps

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

A while back the National LGBT Cancer Network and the Network for LGBT Health Equity were asked to do the first LGBT cultural competency webinar for the National Health Service Corps. Likely sparked by their amazing training for the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, this dynamic team returns to lead the first ever LGBT training for this organization.

We’re further excited that it’s happening this week! Thursday, October 6th Scout and Liz Margolies (the Cancer Network) will be doing two 90 minute webinars for them overall, with a training the following Thursday. To indicate the sheer reach of these webinars, the National Health Service Corps has 9,000 member providers (mostly doctors, dentists, & mental health providers), so we’re hoping a big chunk of them will sign up to do the webinars live, but they will also be available on their web for continued access. To further describe how important this training is, most members of NHSC are or were students, so they are early in their careers. Therefore, by educating them early, it make a bigger difference down the line. Also, at least half of NHSC members work in low-income health centers, which LGBT people more often fall into and low-income LGBT people have even more health disparities, so that’s something important about these trainings as well.

Given the size of this membership and the fact this is their first member-wide LGBT training, we’re thrilled to be leading the tremendous advances in LGBT trainings. Once again, we’re so grateful for Scout and Liz for the amazing work and leadership they have in educating providers and other health workers on LGBT knowledge.

Scout and Liz Margolies
LGBT Policy

New Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Just yesterday the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) released it’s 7th Version of Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People (SOC) in Atlanta (where we’re proud to have several members of Fenway Health presenting at and/or in attendance).

This was last updated in 2001, and if you know anything about LGBT health and especially trans health, A LOT has changed in ten years, and this document has demonstrates the evolution in understanding of trans health. This update will make a drastic difference in how trans people are able to access their care. It’s something that will make a huge difference on a global scale for trans health, but will also directly affect individuals which is fantastic and not something we always see in trans advocacy.

If you don’t know WPATH sets the world standards of care for transgender individuals seeking gender transition. Doctor’s use these standards to determine how they will treat trans people who come into their offices, such as in terms of under what conditions they can access hormones, surgeries and other forms of transition-related care (ex. months/years in therapy and in the “real-life experiences” in the desired gender). Many trans advocates and trans individuals themselves see these as harmfully gatekeeping, but there is general understanding there should be some regulation of care for an area of health services needing more research. This document represents that balance.

You can view the document in its entirety here, which has increased significantly:

In the meantime here are some of the highlights:

  • Gender Conversion Psychotherapies are Unethical
  • De-psychopathologisation of Gender Difference (basically meaning that trans people aren’t inherently crazy)
  • More reasonable criteria for accessing hormones and surgeries
  • Call for health providers to be culturally competent and treat clients sensitively
  • More empowerment of trans clients in their own care
  • Removal of the three-month requirement for either “real life experience” (living in a congruent gender role) or psychotherapy before access to hormonal care.
  • Clarification on the role of the SOC as flexible clinical guidelines that may be tailored for individual needs and local cultures.
  • Inclusion of other gender nonconforming folks, minors and other new areas.
Data · LGBT Policy

New Developments from HHS! Visitation Rights & Grant for LGBT Health

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate


Two exciting developments for LGBT health were announced today we’re so happy to report!


The first announcement came from the Department of Health and Human Services’  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issuing new enforcement of hospital visitation rights which explicitly protect same-sex partners. Basically all hospitals and health centers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid (which is like most of them) must grant patients the right to choose their visitors, which includes a same-sex domestic partner.

According to HRC Backstory:

“The guidance issued today is also intended to make it easier for family members, including a same-sex domestic partner, to make informed care decisions for loved ones who have become incapacitated.”

This announcement comes from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with explicit support for same-sex

Today's LGBT hero, HHS Secty K. Sebelius

couples, as she states (quoting from

“Couples take a vow to be with each other in sickness and in health and it is unacceptable that, in the past, some same-sex partners were denied the right to visit their loved ones in times of need. We are releasing guidance for enforcing new rules that give all patients, including those with same-sex partners, the right to choose who can visit them in the hospital as well as enhancing existing guidance regarding the right to choose who will help make medical decisions on their behalf.”


Another fantastic development concerns the parent organization of this Network: Fenway Health.  According to the Advocate:

“A $248,000 grant tothe Fenway Institute, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (a division of HHS), will fund creation of a national training and technical assistance center for LGBT health issues.”

Per the HRSA press release, Fenway will use the grant for the following purposes:

  • Recruit leading experts in LGBT health led seminars and provide consultation to health center staff
  • Develop curricula specifically targeted to LGBT populations
  • Work closely with state primary care associations to maximize the geographic reach of the project
So remember when we told you how the government was committed to LGBT research and data collection and the reasons why it’s important? Here’s part of how that is going to happen!

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to FDA: Remove Menthol!

Our friends at the Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership

 (APPEAL) had another recent great success with organizing a petitioned letter to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) requesting they ask FDA to remove menthol.

With a great number of signatures (including the Network’s), CAPAC did write a letter to FDA not only asking that menthol be removed but providing recommendations on further reducing tobacco use in diverse communities.  You can see the letter here: CAPAC Menthol Letter. Now, we will wait and see if FDA moves on menthol.

This is a great show of collaboration led by APPEAL, and we congratulate their successful efforts!


APPEAL Press release: “No Community Left Behind” California’s Priority Populations Launch a New Tobacco Control Initiative

Please check out this press release by our national network partner: Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL).


Contact: Rod Lew
Executive Director for APPEAL
(510) 318-7814


Carol McGruder
Co-Chair, AATCLC
(510) 508-7264

“No Community Left Behind”
California’s Priority Populations Launch a New Tobacco Control Initiative  

Long Beach, CA –
Tobacco control professionals from across the state will gather for the official launch of the newly formed ADEPT (Advocacy and Data dissemination to achieve Equity for Priority populations on Tobacco) Project on August 3, 2011 in Long Beach, California. California’s recent smoking prevalence data reports that adult smoking rates are at an all time low of 11.9%, second only to Utah. However, with smoking prevalence for African American males at over 18% and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young adults at 43%, there are many other California populations that have not shared in the gains reaped from the passage of Proposition 99. Approved by California voters in 1988, Proposition 99 added a 25-cents tax to every package of cigarettes sold in the state of California of which 5-cents was used to fund California’s comprehensive tobacco control movement.

“It has been over 20 years since Prop 99 passed, and the diminishing reach and power of that 5-cents has meant a drastic reduction in programs and services that benefit our communities,” stated Carol McGruder, Co-Chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.

Initially, California focused on the communities and groups that had the highest smoking prevalence rates. But due to inflation, an ever shrinking funding base and shifting priorities within the California Department of Public Health, over the years that focus has diminished and California’s priority populations continue to suffer disproportionately. With dramatically higher smoking prevalence rates, fewer workplace protections from secondhand smoke and predatory tobacco industry targeting, many of these communities continue to lag far behind the mainstream.

With funding through the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) of California, which administered the California Cancer Research Fund* this year for the University of California, a collaborative is working to help their communities catch up by ensuring that critical tobacco use data on California’s most diverse and vulnerable populations are shared and disseminated within those communities. While these communities face the greatest disparities related to tobacco use and the impact of tobacco, they are also the least educated on these issues and have benefitted the least from California’s historic gains in tobacco control. Helping to increase these communities’ understanding of the impact of tobacco use on vulnerable populations will lead to increased mobilization of tobacco control program and policy initiatives.

The ADEPT Project is comprised of five partners working with six vulnerable populations: Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL); the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC); Coalition of Lavender-Americans on Smoking & Health (CLASH), who work with the LGBT community; Break Free Alliance of the Health Education Council, who work with the low socioeconomic status (SES) community; and the University of Southern California (USC), who work with Hispanic/Latino and American Indian communities.

“We must educate and empower our communities to act,” said Rod Lew, Executive Director of APPEAL, “all Californians should benefit from these historic health gains, with no communities left behind.”

The ADEPT project is funded through the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) of California, which administered the project’s funding from the California Cancer Research Fund*for the University of California. ADEPT operates on the premise that: 1) There is a disproportionate impact of cancer and tobacco-related diseases on vulnerable populations; 2) While some critical data have been collected on various vulnerable populations in California, this data has not been widely disseminated; 3) Wide dissemination of critical tobacco data for vulnerable populations can expand the knowledge base and lead to increased mobilization of communities on tobacco prevention interventions and policy initiatives.

*Contributions to the California Cancer Research Fund are used to conduct research relating to the causes, detection, and prevention of cancer and to expand community-based education on cancer, and to provide prevention and awareness activities for communities that are disproportionately at risk or afflicted by cancer.

Look for the voluntary contribution lines or tell your tax preparer about donating to the California Breast Cancer Research Fund on line 405 and/or the California Cancer Research Fund on line 413 of your state tax Form 540.

To learn more information about California’s Voluntary Contributions, see the Franchise Tax Board’s FAQ page.


Legacy’s Call for Nominations: 2011 Community Activist Award

Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Re-posting Legacy’s call for nominations for the 2011 Community Activist Award


Legacy is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2011 Community Activist Award recognizing an individual’s outstanding contribution to tobacco prevention and cessation at the community level.

Each year, Legacy presents the Community Activist Award to honor an exceptional individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to creating a tobacco-free world in his or her community.  The award is presented to a leader in the community with experience spearheading innovative and influential tobacco control projects, especially those that reflect Legacy’s mission to build a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.

The winner will receive an honorarium of $2,500 and recognition through press releases and Legacy publications.

To submit, visit  Nominations will be accepted through Friday, September 16, 2011.