LGBT Policy · MPOWERED · Resources · Uncategorized

LGBT Health Equity Campaign Materials to share!

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Are you interested in being a champion for LGBT Health Equity in YOUR state?! Are you already a champion, and looking for some new campaign ideas?!

The Network has created a template postcard for state governors that can be easily co-branded and printed by your organization! The goal of the postcard campaign is to engage governors in ensuring that states are implementing LGBT health best practices guidelines to eliminate health disparities. By having community members sign a postcard for their governor, you will also be educating the community about health disparity issues, while also engaging local support!

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If you are interested in, or would like further information on this postcard campaign, please contact us at:!

postcard flyer CC

Click here to download a PDF of the above flyer to share: Postcard flyer CC

Action Alerts · Data · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED

Action Alert ***Support Data Collection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Clinical Settings***

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity


Hello Everyone,

Long story short we are all pushing for and/or understand the importance of comprehensive inclusion of LGBT communities in all surveillance instruments through sexual orientation and gender identity measures. Currently the Health Information Technology Policy Committee is seeking comments on supporting the sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in Stage 3 Meaningful Use Guidelines.

By the Close of Business day we are hoping to get as many CEO’s and Directors of Organizations, Foundations etc. to sign on to a letter developed by the Fenway Institute and the Center for American Progress.

Can we count on your support….?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Plese Support Today

Click Here To Directly Sign Onto The Letter

Click Here To View The Full Blog & Letter

Monthly Updates · MPOWERED

September Updates From The Network

Since the release of the MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control document last month, the Network has disseminated over 500 hard copies to folks from across the country. As mentioned before MPOWERED is a unique document that adds scientific rigor to a year plus long compilation of community practices to create a broad base of LGBT best practices in tobacco control. We are so pleased with the reception it has received thus far and continue to promote it widely. If you would like to automatically download a copy click here. In addition to the report, the Network released a new document this month titled Sexual/Gender Minorities and Tobacco Use Disorder: Implications for Medical Homes. This was a collaborative project with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, written by Joseph Lee MPH, CPH with the Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Click here to download a copy.

Keeping up with some of the great media that took place last month, Scout was interviewed for an article that was placed in Desert Outlook this month. Click here to read the full article, Smoke and Mirrors: A look at smoking and its impact shows highest rate among LGBT people. Additionally, Gustavo was featured in Bay Windows after receiving the Trailblazers Award given by LEGACY which was also featured in Legacy’s e-NEWS. In addition, Nicole Sutton, a member of the Network Steering Committee was also featured in Legacy’s e-NEWS as the recipient of their Champion Award.

As part of our ongoing effort to get HHS to include LGBT in the official legal expansion of the definition of disparity populations, we worked with Center for American Progress and others to help coordinate a long-awaited meeting with the HHS decisionmaker on this subject, Dr. John Ruffin. The meeting occurred in late August. Dr. Lisa Bowleg attended on behalf of the Network. There was no clear commitment from the meeting but we carried the message strongly that inclusion in this expanded definition is one of the single highest impact decisions HHS can do to level the playing field for LGBT health disparities.

Scout was invited to present at the National Center for Health Statistics conference this month. He presented on the leading prospects for gender identity data measures. Currently HHS is still formulating their plan for how gender identity data collection will be accomplished.

Scout also attended the last convening of the TAPP-INTO project in Minnesota. This is the end of a five year supplemental technical assistance contract the Network has had with a team of state-level disparity networks in Minnesota. We are working on releasing more products summarizing the lessons learned from that effort.

In closing, although the Summit is behind us we are still reaping the benefits of some of our blogging scholars who continue to post about things they learned at the Summit. Click here to view the past and present blogs posts from this year’s Summit.

Data · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED


Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Are You MPOWERED?!?!

Hello Everyone,

As many of you know last month we released our much anticipated MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control Document. The document, which we are extremely proud to have developed is just one piece in a larger missions outlined by our current administration.

President Obama has demonstrated a vision for greater equality for LGBT communities across the country. In doing so, HHS continues to engage in a concerted effort to improve the health and well-being of all Americans, including LGBT people. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had led these efforts to promote equal treatment of LGBT communities, provide enhanced resources for LGBT health issues, and develop better information regarding LGBT health needs. Over the past couple years we have seen some major advances, and as we move forward we take much pride in our current administration’s commitment to addressing LGBT health equity globally. This document is one part of this larger picture, looking at best and promising practices in order to better address tobacco prevention and control within LGBT communities. Our Network is committed to advocating for, and working alongside, Secretary Sebelius, Dr. Howard Koh, as well as many others, in the advancement of LGBT health equity at HHS.

As noted in my previous blog this is the first document of this kind to culminate the work around disparities in LGBT tobacco prevention and control. The creation of MPOWERED was a rigorous process and our goals were two-fold; to create a valuable document for the tobacco control community, and to develop a process with scientific backing for the development of future documents of this kind.

To date we have disseminated over 500 hard copies to folks across the country and we pleased to hear all of the great feedback that has come from the field. We would not have been able to have such an amazing resource if it was not for all of the folks who provided feedback, and resources to assist in the development of this document. In addition, I want to take a moment to thank once again our dedicated committee of eight (Network staff and Steering Committee members) who worked many hours to ensure the document came to life. We would not have been able to do this with out them.

Francisco O. Buchting, PhD | ETR Associates | San Francisco, CA

William L. Furmanski | Legacy | Washington, DC

Joseph G. L. Lee, MPH, CPH | University of North Carolina | Chapel Hill, NC

Phoenix A. K. Matthews, PhD | University of Illinois | Chicago, IL

Daniella Matthews-Trigg | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Scout, PhD | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Jamie Tam, MPH | University of Michigan | Ann Arbor, MI

Gustavo Torrez | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Want a Copy, Fill out the form below and we will mail you a hard copy of the MPOWERED document:

Monthly Updates · MPOWERED · Summit

July & August Monthly Updates From The Network

Our last fiscal year with our current 5 year cooperative agreement started July 1st and rest assured, the coming year will be full of new products, learning opportunities, and expanded focuses that will continue to transform the LGBT health and tobacco control movement.

With that being said, On August 14 the Network released MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control at our Summit in Kansas City. MPOWERED is a community-driven document unlike anything else in our community; one that we hope will raise the bar for the development of future best practice documents. Created by a committee of eight Network staff and Steering Committee members who worked to solicit best and promising practices, suggested additions, and revisions from the Networks constituent base for about a year we are please to say this is a community document through and through. Click here and a copy will automatically be downloaded into your download folder.

The 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit, which was a resounding success, was held on August 14th in Kansas City and had 120 leaders from across the country in attendance. With generous support from our sponsors; American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, Legacy, and many more, we were able to support travel for over 20 youth/young adult, and community leaders from across the country who otherwise would not have been able to attend, including six blogging scholarships. To see all of the amazing blogs from the summit, click here, and be sure to comment, and share as appropriate. Click here to see photos from the Summit and the Evening Event: Beyond Fabulous planned and sponsored by Rescue Social Change Group.

A highlight of the summit was the Youth Track, which was designed by the Youth Planning Committee, and provided a space for the nearly thirty youth present to come together and create a sustainable and inspiring new direction for youth and young adults in the Network and the health equity movement. Click here to see their closing remarks at the summit which gained a standing ovation from the crowd.

The night before the summit the Network convened its Steering Committee to have a meeting as we plan for the future at this pivotal time. All Steering Committee members but one were able to be in attendance, as we discussed the strategic plan. Majority of the discussion was  centered around the MPOWERED document and the future dissemination plan, which was enthusiastically received.

Immediately following the summit the Network staff (along with two blogging scholars) attended the National Conference on Tobacco or Health. Staff and Steering Committee members had a hand in planning and presenting at three sessions, as well as one conference plenary focused on disparity populations. Additionally, the theme of disparities in tobacco control at the conference created a lot of interest in the Network and the new MPOWERED document.

Earlier in July, Dr. Scout attended a meeting at NIH about being out in the workplace. During this meeting, the Deputy Director of NIH, Dr. Tabak, expressed upcoming opportunities at NIH for advancing LGBT health Research. To view the full video and blog click here.

The Network had two very visible op-eds over the past month and a half written by Dr. Scout. The first Op-ed: The Real Verdict? We Want to Be Healthier, about the Affordable Care Act, was written up in the Advocate. The second, Want to Supercharge Our LGBT Inclusion? Call the NAACP, in the Huffington Post, was the result of a fortuitous conference connect we had with the head of NAACP at Netroots Nation earlier this year. With the help of the Center for American Progress, as well as the NAACP, a letter was delivered in late June across HHS with thirty-three signors, including some of the biggest civil rights groups of our era, supporting not only the formal expansion of the definition of health disparities to include LGBT People, but also a range of other related requests that come from the Institute of Medicine LGBT report, and resulting in a milestone for LGBT Health. Both op-eds are exceptional reads and showcase not only the true nature of collaboration, but the successes that come from these partnerships. Please take a moment and click the titles above to read each article.


MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control Released

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Are You MPOWERED?!?!

Hello Everyone,

It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control. This new document, which we are so proud to introduce, was officially released last week at the 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit in Kansas City, MO.  We have printed a limited run of copies, some of which were distributed at our exhibit booth at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health last week as well. If you would like a copy of the document,  please  fill out the form below and we will be sure to get one in the mail to you! You can also download your own official copy by clicking here

As many of you know, this has been a labor of love, and we have been soliciting input from you all for months. We have reviewed the science, and culminated a document unlike anything before for our community; one that will truly raise the bar for the development of future best practice documents. It is so exciting to see all of the hard work that has been done not only by the Best Practices Committee, but by all of our partners who submitted thoughtful responses, suggestions, and supporting materials to ensure that this document is the best it can be. The Network is community driven, and this is  another product created by and for our community.

As Dr. Scout states in the document, “Every disparity population struggles with the lack of precedent for their work, the lack of scientific testing of tailored strategies, and the lack of acknowledgement for the undeniable wisdom built by years of work in the field.” One thing that we all know is if you don’t speak up and share your work, than a huge opportunity to potentially help your community is missed. This document is an effort to ensure that all of the work being done across the country is preserved, and that we can continue to learn from each other as we fight to reduce LGBT health disparities.

 Thanks again to our Best Practices Committee for the many hours, days, and months spent developing this valuable document:

Francisco O. Buchting, PhD | ETR Associates | San Francisco, CA

William L. Furmanski | Legacy | Washington, DC

Joseph G. L. Lee, MPH, CPH | University of North Carolina | Chapel Hill, NC

Phoenix A. K. Matthews, PhD | University of Illinois | Chicago, IL

Daniella Matthews-Trigg | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Scout, PhD | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Jamie Tam, MPH | University of Michigan | Ann Arbor, MI

Gustavo Torrez | The Network for LGBT Health Equity | Boston, MA

Fill out the form below to receive a hard copy of the MPOWERED document:

Conferences · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED · social media · Summit

Summit Youth Track SUCCESS!!!

The Youth Track at this year’s Summit blew us away. Sure, we had high hopes for the almost thirty folks under the age of 25 who attended the Summit, but we were FLOORED by their dedication, passion, and innovation in creating a sustainable and inspiring direction for youth and young adult involvement in the Network, and in the health equity and tobacco control movements. This clip is the presentation by the youth track participants at the Summit closing (notice the standing ovation at the end!).

Blogs en español · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED · Publica En Espanol - Posts in Spanish · Puerto Rico

LEY vs POLITICA Ponencia preparada para una de las reuniones del Comité Anti Discrimen, Departamento de Justicia, PR.

Sophia  Isabel Marrero Cruz

Community Advocacy & Empowerment Advisor


“Las agresiones en contra de personas Trans van desde las sicológicas: desprecio, rechazo, bromas, hasta las violentas: agresiones verbales/físicas, golpes, heridas y en los casos más violentos la muerte. Pero lo mas sorprendente son las “no agresiones” que reciben de las estructuras sociales y gubernamentales”.

En un intento fútil y apresurado. Luego de haber realizado una rápida lectura sobre Crímenes de Odio. Me detuve a organizar mis pensamientos y comencé a  meditar sobre los argumentos del Estado para no aplicar el agravante de Crímenes de Odio. En el caso de Alejandro Torres Torres, hombre homosexual de 30 años apuñalado en Ponce. El Capitán Pérez descarta el ángulo de Crimen de Odio, por entender que el simple hecho de que este individuo dormía ocasionalmente en la residencia de la víctima, es indicio suficiente para determinar que entre ellos existía una amistad, obviando el hecho de que una relación ocasional y casual entre dos personas no necesariamente implica una amistad. Más preocupante son las implicaciones de que este tipo de relaciones no contengan ningún tipo de prejuicio en contra de la víctima. Esas expresiones podrían considerarse una motivación de prejuicio en contra de la víctima por parte de este funcionario público. En este caso, el hecho de que el agresor se hubiese marchado con varias pertenecías de la victima fue la posible motivación de este horrendo crimen. Algo similar sucedió en el caso de la mujer trans Ashley Ocasio Santiago, sin tomar en consideración que aparentemente Ashley estuvo de rodillas en el momento en que recibe el único impacto de bala que la causo la muerte instantánea. La intensidad de la agresión, la forma en que se infligen las heridas y/o los lugares particulares donde impactan las balas, penetran las armas blancas y/o se dan los golpes con objetos contundentes, tales como bates, palos de Golf, entre otros, tampoco son suficientes para que estos incidentes violentes, agresiones o  asesinatos, puedan ser considerados como incidentes motivados por el prejuicio en contra de las víctimas.

En el caso del último asesinato reportado en la pda. 18 de una mujer trans, los impactos de bala fueron dos, uno en el pecho y a quema ropa prácticamente. La razón para descartar el ángulo de  un posible incidente motivado por el prejuicio en este caso, es que la víctima se estaba prostituyendo, como si la orientación sexual, identidad de género o la actividad “Inmoral” fuesen suficientes para matar a cualquiera. Eso fue lo que no le permitió a la fiscal Carrasquillo, someter el agravante de Crimen de Odio en el caso de la muerte de Jorge Steven López Mercado. Para esta fiscal no fue suficiente la forma en infligieron las heridas de Arma Blanca. No fue suficiente la forma en que intentaron quemar su cuerpo. No fue suficiente la forma en que descuartizaron su cuerpo. Ni muchos menos la forma en que distribuyeron perfectamente sus pedazos al momento de dejarlos abandonados en el paraje solitario de Guavate. La precisión con que se descuartizo su cuerpo, según la fiscal, se debió a la destreza de carnicero del asesino, ya que este en algún momento de su vida trabajo en una carnicería, como si fuese similar, el descuartizar un ser humano que un animal. Claro en este caso ese Ser humano era una joven Trans que fue recogido en un área de trabajo sexual en Caguas. La forma en que fue distribuido el cuerpo descuartizado de este joven Trans, parecían más una Oda al cuerpo descuartizado, que un abandono apresurado de aquel que comete un crimen en defensa propia y trata de huir del acto atroz motivado por la respuesta al instinto básico de la supervivencia. La quema del cuerpo fue una reacción desmedida del victimario motivado por la desesperación, provocada por la necesidad de desaparecer el cuerpo. Jamás se tomo el tiempo de analizar concienzudamente ninguna de estos elementos, que a la luz de la consciencia social eran más que suficiente para considerar este y todos los casos anteriormente expuestos, como incidentes motivados por el prejuicio.

La forma en que estos agresores logran acceso a la vida intima de sus víctimas, es el primer indicador de un posible incidente motivado por el prejuicio. La intensidad de la agresión, es el segundo indicador de este tipo de crímenes. La forma en que se infligen las heridas, y lo meticuloso de la agresión, es el tercer indicador en estos casos. Estos individuos entienden que para sus víctimas fue un honor el haber compartido sexualmente con ellos y ese honor tiene que ser pagado. En ocasiones, el pago es demasiado alto para la víctima y es en ese momento, en el que la víctima no puede o no quiere cumplir con los pagos exigidos por su agresor, que se dan este tipo de incidentes. Claro es un perfil que no responde a los perfiles incluidos en las Guías Federales, pues estas no tienen pertinencia cultural con Puerto Rico. Las motivaciones en Estados Unidos de este tipo de incidentes son totalmente diferentes a las motivaciones que se dan en Puerto Rico.

Si, reconocemos la labor de la policía que en ocasiones se ve empañada por expresiones similares a la del Capitán Pérez, en el caso del asesinato de Ponce. La continuidad con que escuchamos este tipo de expresiones por parte de miembros de la policía, en diferentes instancias, es lo que nos preocupas, pues refleja no tan solo la falta de guías y, en caso de que existan guías, refleja  la falta de continuidad en los procesos de educación y sensibilización, vitales en este tipo de intervención, pues minimizan el impacto del proceso de re-victimización, lo que  a su vez se convierte en un obstáculo, no tan solo de la investigación, sino de la radicación y a su vez del proceso judicial. Es una reacción en cadena que perjudica el caso que pudiese estarse llevando a cabo y los futuros casos. Es más que evidente la cooperación que las autoridades pertinentes han recibido en un sin número de ocasiones por parte de la comunidad. Pero también es evidente que cada vez es más difícil acudir a la comunidad para obtener algún tipo de información que conduzca al arresto y convicción de este tipo de agresores. Esta es la forma  en que funcionarios públicos se expresan ante la prensa y muchas ocasiones antes l@s posibles testigos y/o familiares. Estas expresiones tienen un efecto dual. El primero es en las comunidades afectadas por este tipo de incidentes motivados por el prejuicio. Es con este tipo de expresiones que se desata la reacción en cadena del proceso de re-victimización y a su vez incapacita l@s posibles testigos de acercarse a las autoridades pertinentes. Estas expresiones, muy sutilmente, justifican este tipo de agresión. Claro es mucho más fácil llevar una investigación a la luz de una relación que ni la sociedad ni el Gobierno reconocen como correctas. La sociedad prejuicia, al no reconocer ninguna aportación social positiva a este tipo de relaciones y el Gobierno la invalida despojándola y/o privándola de cualquier tipo de protección legal. El efecto es aún mayor cuando el Gobierno, que posee dos herramientas jurídicas para trabajar este tipo de incidentes, no ha creado la infraestructura necesaria para implementar eficientemente ambas herramientas. El asunto es aun más grave para el Departamento de Justicia, pues no ha tenido la capacidad de utilizar estas herramientas eficientemente y no ha tenido la capacidad de proteger los derechos de sus víctimas. Las victimas tienes derechos protegidos, no tan solo por ley en Puerto Rico, sino también por la ley Federal. De hecho existe una Oficina de Asistencia a Víctimas. Claro el fraccionamiento burocrático ha provocado que esta oficina carezca de recursos para poder cumplir con su función. Entendemos los efectos de la Ley 7, entendemos la crisis fiscal que vive el país y reconocemos el trabajo que se ha hecho. Lo que no entendemos es como este tipo de actitudes y/o expresiones continúan siendo la normativa en este tipo de casos. Estas expresiones intensifican el impacto de este tipo de incidentes y al mismo tiempo ínsita al resto de la sociedad a continuar con este patrón de conducta considerándolo como correcto por el simple hecho de quien hace la expresión.

Los Crímenes de Odio deben ser considerados como la expresión criminal más compleja que hayamos enfrentado. El hecho de que son motivados por un prejuicio, no es la única característica en la que debería estar basado su procesamiento legal y es más un concepto que una definición legal. Este tipo de crímenes comprenden dos elementos. Una ofensa criminal cometida por prejuicio y este representa el primer elemento. El acto criminal de por sí; acecho físico y/o sicológico, acoso físico y/o sicológico, maltrato físico y/o sicológico, agresión verbal, física y/o sicológica, alteración a la paz, daño y/o invasión a la propiedad, amenazas y muerte, es considerado como la base del delito. No existe Crimen de Odio sin una base del delito. El segundo elemento es el prejuicio en contra de su víctima. Su único objetivo es dejar claro que la víctima, quien es elegida por lo que representa y no por quien es, no es bien vista. La opresión social, causada por la inequidad legal, es lo que propicia la exclusión, que le brinda a este tipo de agresores los elementos necesarios para identificar a sus víctimas. El grado de vulnerabilidad en el que se ven inmersas sus víctimas, determina la intensidad con que se llevan a cabo sus acciones. Es un tipo de influencia que tiene como objetivo cambiar la percepción o el comportamiento de otros a través de tácticas abusivas que pudiesen ser solapadas y engañosas, cuyo único propósito es  promover los intereses del agresor a costa de su víctima. Esos métodos podrían ser considerados explotadores, abusivos, tortuosos, y/o engañoso. Es generalmente percibida como inofensiva, cuando pretende respetar el derecho de sus víctimas a través de la aceptación o el rechazo, y no es excesivamente coercitiva. Según el contexto y las motivaciones, las expresiones pueden constituir una motivación, pero no deberían determinar el crimen por si solas. El resentimiento, los celos o la simple necesidad de ser aceptados por sus pares, la repulsión u hostilidad en contra de un grupo en particular, la repulsión que le provoca la atracción hacia una persona que pertenece a un grupo excluido socialmente o simple y llanamente lo que representa socialmente su víctima son suficiente motivación para clasificar dichas acciones como Crímenes de Odio, en tanto, ambos elementos estén presentes. El Odio no es una motivación de por sí. La percepción del agresor de que su víctima no es parte de su composición social es un elemento presente no solo en sus acciones, sino también en sus expresiones. El agresor justifica sus actos basado en el patrón social de exclusión determinado por las acciones del Estado al no poseer la capacidad de demostrar lo que sustenta en la redacción e implementación de sus leyes. Esto puede verse claramente manifestado, cuando el Estado no le da validez a las declaraciones de las victimas y/o testigos y el no investigar adecuadamente la motivación por prejuicio. En casos donde la investigación es evidentemente inapropiada, los fiscales minimizan el delito a la hora de elegir los cargos y los tribunales fallan al no aplicar sentencias cónsonas con el delito y paralelamente, son síntomas de un sistema incapaz de manejar este tipo de crímenes.

“Los Crímenes de Odio son el efecto de una sociedad intolerante. Cuando el crimen es contra una víctima que pertenece a un grupo    estigmatizado, la investigación se considera viciada en el momento en un representante del estado le considera culpable de la agresión. Por tanto, el Estado tiene la responsabilidad de entender la complejidad que representa este tipo de crímenes y procurar que dichas herramientas no afectan la identidad e independencia de los sectores social afectados” (Burstein, 1991).

 “Evidentemente la discriminación es el problema y la misma vez la motivación. Esta dicotomía es vista como la causa, y los episodios ocasionales de violencia como un síntoma” (West, 1993).

La mera legislación no puede ser considerada como la solución, ante la complejidad que comprenden los Crímenes de Odio. Su implementación debe estar acompañada de adiestramientos dirigidos a desarrollar habilidades y aumentar el conocimiento de policías, fiscales y jueces. La recopilación de datos específicos es necesaria para poder asignar correctamente los recursos e identificar las aéreas que deberán ser reforzadas. Por lo tanto, la legislación provee una mayor conciencia y permite un mejor control, y a su vez conduce a una implementación más eficaz y mejores relaciones entre la  policía y la comunidad. Esto lleva a que las comunidades participen brindando mayor información y de paso obtienen, una mejor investigación, una radicación de cargos más efectiva y un procesamiento adecuado de este tipo de crímenes. Las penas deberán ser más severas por que el impacto de este crimen afecta a toda una comunidad y no debería implicar un beneficio en particular sino más bien un rechazo total por parte de toda la sociedad. Por tanto, es el Estado quien, con sus acciones, reivindicara aquellos sectores excluidos socialmente. Los Crímenes de Odio son un asunto de Ley y no de Política.


R is for Raise Taxes

Tobacco taxes are one of the best ways to prevent youth initiation. Yet, we know little about how LGBT communities engage on this key public health policy. Check out our draft best practices, and let us know your thoughts and any work you know of in this area.

PS: Don’t forget that there are prizes on the line.

MPOWERED: Raise taxes on tobacco products

Rationale: Increasing the price of tobacco products reduces consumption, and this effect is more dramatic for low-income populations. LGBT people also experience the impact of tobacco taxation and reduce their usage in response.

1. Engage LGBT communities in mainstream policy change campaigns

Rationale: LGBT people are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and thus stand to greatly benefit from tobacco control policies directed toward the general population. LGBT people may be more responsive to tax increases than the general population. LGBT organizations are well-equipped with advocacy skills and experience to mobilize the community in favor of tobacco tax increases.

  • Engage local LGBT organizations and communities in tobacco control to increase awareness of and support for tobacco tax campaigns
  • Include LGBT organizations and leadership in tobacco control coalitions
  • Fund community-based organizations to engage and activate LGBT communities on tobacco tax and media counter-advertising campaigns

○   San Francisco Campaign “When did smoking become a part of us?”

  • Leverage existing relationships with LGBT-friendly policy makers to promote tobacco control aims
  • Avoid inclusion of anti-LGBT organizations in coalitions
  • Provide resources that will sustain the capacity of LGBT groups involved in tobacco control efforts

2. Use Tobacco taxes to fund local health programs and initiatives

Rationale: Community tobacco control efforts, including initiatives that target disproportionately affected populations, require funding and resources that can come from tobacco tax revenue.

  • Engage community leadership for increased funding for tobacco control efforts
  • Include community-based funding for priority populations to build support for taxing tobacco products
  • Allocate tobacco tax revenue towards community-based tobacco control programs and initiatives among priority populations

3. Counter potential tobacco industry manipulation of the LGBT community in tobacco tax campaigns.

Rationale: The tobacco industry has a long history of influencing the LGBT community through targeted campaigns and funding opportunities and has previously manipulated the community in specific tobacco tax campaigns. Countering the tobacco industry’s influence around tax increases presents an opportunity to expose the industry’s exploitation of the LGBT community while working towards reduced smoking within the population.

FDA · LGBT Policy · Minnesota · MPOWERED · Netroots Nation · Presentations · Puerto Rico · Resources · social media · Steering Committee · Summit · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy · White House

March Updates from the Network

March has been yet another busy month for the Network. We are pleased to announce the launch of two major projects from the Network. First, Joseph Lee of our Steering Committee is helping us launch MPOWERED best and promising 

practices review, an effort to collect lessons learned in the field of LGBT Tobacco Control. The final document will be launched at our Summit, the 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit, in Kansas City this August. Second, at long last the Network is pleased to announce the launch of our new website Although we are still working on the last small details, we are very pleased to have this new resource up and running for the field.

Our staff was active this month in a few different events. First, Scout attended the FDA Research Summit. At it we got one win from a prior action alert – FDA agreed to collect at least LGB (not yet T) data on their new historic NIH tobacco research project. He recaps the important aspects of the summit here: FDA Tobacco Research Meeting – Upshot & Action Needed Now!

Pakou, Sarah, and Ditra giving us the inside line

He also attended the TAPP-INTO convening of state disparity networks in Minnesota (we have a long term contract to provide tech assist to these networks). See one of the key lessons from their sustainability training here: What do funders want? Gustavo was also out training, he presented on making practices welcoming to LGBT patients at the first ever Sharing Best Practices in GLBT Health training sponsored by the Sylvie Ratelle Prevention and Training Center of Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Most recently, staff attended the FDA Tobacco Policy Center disparities listening session hosted by our friends at Legacy, with the sister tobacco control networks and partners across the country. The next day, Legacy convened the disparity groups to strategize together. Watch to see us roll out more coordinated menthol advocacy in the near future, and read about the other policy priorities here: Disparity Networks Plus.

There have been some major events this month that the Network has been promoting. First, partnering with our friends at Shift MN, we celebrated Kick Butts Day. We had two great posts from MN Youth from Shift MN showcased posts on our blog; Dangerous Swagger and Breathe… Standing Up Against Corporate Tobacco. The Network has also helped promote the Coalition’s Health Awareness Week. Most notably, we have helped spread the news on two major tobacco events: the rollout of the first national tobacco education campaign and the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on youth smoking. Also this month, the Network campaigned to help one of our bloggers, e.shor, run for and ultimately win a scholarship to Netroots Nation. The network also highlighted some world tobacco news, as Brazil announced the ban of flavored cigarettes including menthol. According to a report from the National LGBTQ Youth Adult Tobacco Project, 71%33.9% of current smokers smoke menthols and an astonishing 82.6% of African American smokers smoke menthols. In addition, a disproportionate number of Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and multiracial smokers smoke menthols compared to white smokers.
of LGBT youth who smoke cigarettes smoke mentholated cigarettes. If FDA stepped up and also banned menthol in the U.S. it is likely the single most important action that could be taken to deter youth smoking. Also, we continue to highlight local projects, like this one on David Mariner’s tobacco and HIV project, and provide policy insight on our blog, like with our post on LGBT funding announcements and our heads up on things we expect to see soon from HHS.

We are very pleased to report that one of the requests we made with our Puerto Rico allies in January’s Department of Justice meetings has already come about, FBI and DOJ officials have been deployed to Puerto Rico to conduct additional listening sessions with community members with a promise of official trainings to follow. Read more about it here.

In other notes, we also got the news our PCORI application submitted a few months ago did not get funded and we are currently seeking nominations for two new Steering Committee members. Also catch our nice rundown of last year’s accomplishments here: Highlights of Network Accomplishments Over Past Year.

Finally, you know we blog a lot, and perhaps you’ve noticed we’re also trying to get more media attention to LGBT tobacco and wellness issues. We’re happy to announce a great outgrowth of both of those efforts; Scout has become an official Huffington Post blogger! Read his first two pieces New ‘Additional Feature’ for Health Insurance Finder: Same-Sex Coverage & White House Creates a Watershed Moment for LGBT Health and be sure to watch for more.