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Sia Inspires Me to Be a Healthier Trans Person

An Evening With Women Benefiting The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center - Red Carpet

There’s something oddly intimate about a person’s exercise playlist. If you’re like me and hear the same songs every day for 30 minutes to an hour of sweating, the playlist takes on its own life. Memories of pushing, sweating, and endorphins get laid on top of each track like delicious frosting. But these are popular singers, so you may like the music, but you rarely have a personal connection to the performers.

So imagine my surprise when I realized that several of my treasured workout songs are sung by a woman I first met at a meeting to plan a trans visibility action. At first I was disbelieving. I knew that their names are the same, but I told myself that the Sia who sings “Titanium” and the Sia I first met on that grassy hillside must be different people. My daughter finally convinced me that they are one and the same.

My most pronounced reaction was incredulity: She supports us! I already respected her for taking a leadership role in such a beautiful and strong visibility action, but now, knowing the pressures of the heady professional world she travels in only increased my respect tenfold.

Every day, as I ran, swam, or cycled further, it was like I had a friend encouraging me every time a song of hers came on. But when I thought further about the situation, I realized that the other side of the story was the really sad part: My incredulity at Sia being willing to stand up and support trans people showed how much I had internalized the norm that most celebrities would not stand up for my rights. They would not be moved nearly to tears thinking about the daily threats of violence that some trans people endure, or the staggering lack of safety that so many trans youth face as they try to survive. For every Lady Gaga, for every Sia, there are hundreds of celebrities who could use their potential to influence public opinion in our favor, yet they stay quiet. As we always teach in our cultural competency trainings, considering our history of discrimination, until you prove you’re a friend, we have no way of knowing you’re not an enemy.

Sia’s far from an enemy. She’s unabashedly one of us, publicly proclaiming her bisexuality. “I’ve always dated boys and girls and anything in between,” she’s said. “I don’t care what gender you are, it’s about people.” I know that a few other singers have said similar things, but I also know of many, many more who have worked very hard to hide any LGBT tendencies. Actions send messages, and the negative ones are still much more frequent than the positive ones.

Now I follow Sia stories with particular interest. I was fascinated to read of her effortsto keep her pictures out of the media, in what was a cogent analysis of the false promise of widespread fame. I also heard with concern how her own health issues led her to consider retiring from singing forever.

Every day, as I push myself to become stronger, as I chase the wonderful endorphins that help calm and center me for a world whose winds too often blow cold for trans people, I have a visit from a friend as Sia’s songs come on. Sia has inspired me to become a healthier trans person. I’d love to be able to return the favor in person, but until then I can only hope that Sia is taking good care of herself too.

Follow Scout, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/scoutout

LGBT Policy · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy

Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities: A journey through this valuable report

As I am sure you are aware on Tuesday Legacy released a new report: Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities. This report is another to hit the national stage to address the growing concern of tobacco use and the affect it has on LGBT people. The layout of this report is quite nice, first addressing Legacy’s role in the movement, but more importantly highlighting the prevalence rates, and the fact data collection efforts needs to continue so we can monitor tobacco use in our communities.fthfthutyu

While there are a lot of numbers folks who appreciate the data, sometimes the data does not truly share the full story. The report has a great section, Behind the Numbers: Tobacco and LGBT Communities. Which paints the story of why tobacco use is and continues to be an issues among our communities. It looks at Social Stigma and Smoking, the Bar and Club Culture, addressing health care disparities and the lack of access to health care our communities face. In addition they showcase tobacco industry targeting, and how smoking is normalized in our community in such a way that it has truly infiltrated our lives and LGBT culture overall. Additionally it goes in to the efforts the tobacco industry took in co-opting our community, and how tobacco companies were characterized as pioneers who stood in solidarity with our communities which is such a fascinating read.

We all know that there is a long standing history of LGBT people and tobacco. The report addresses some key points on what needs to be done moving forward with a set of actions public health and tobacco control organizations can take to counter tobacco in our communities:

  • Engage directly with the LGBT community to offer cessation and prevention services that are culturally competent.
  • Include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in population-based studies and surveys of health status.
  • Develop better and more standardized questions about sexual orientation and gender identity so a better picture of LGBT populations can be drawn.
  • Conduct longitudinal cohort studies, which follow participants over long periods of time.
  • Include, at all levels, LGBT people in mainstream tobacco control efforts.
  • Develop tobacco control media campaigns targeting LGBT communities.
  • Help LGBT communities and organizations find alternatives to tobacco industry funding.
  • Include LGBT youth in all levels of tobacco control efforts.
  • Ensure that the leadership of LGBT tobacco control efforts represents all LGBT communities, including traditionally disenfranchised segments such as transgender people, lesbian and bisexual women, people of color, LGBT youth, and LGBT people of lower socioeconomic status.

In the second part of this report it showcases four case studies of past legacy grantees. Leave no Funds Behind, which was a project the Network created working on Bridging the Gap Between LGBT Organizations and Tobacco Control Funding. As well as, Delicious Lesbian Kisses: A Social Marketing Campaign with Staying Power, Crush: The LGBT Lifestyle Project, and 30 Seconds: Helping Health Care Providers Reach LGBT Tobacco Users were all highlighted.

I highly recommend you take a look at this report, and share both the report and the factsheet created by legacy:

Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities Report

Tobacco Fact Sheet: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (Lgbt) communities and smoking

Feature · LGBT Policy · Resources · social media · Technical Assistance

LGBT Tobacco Control Efforts Taking The Spotlight

 
 
Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
MPOWERED: Taking on CDC 

LGBT Communities smoke at rates 68% higher than the general population there is much work to be done to protect, and preserve our community, and many reasons that this disparity exists. Yesterday, Legacy released a report titled Tobacco Control in LGBT Communities.

To mark the release, Legacy hosted a panel discussion as part of their Warner lecture Series Tobacco Use in the LGBT Communities: Why LGBT People Smoke So Much & What Can Be Done About It . The panel took place at the Human Rights Campaign Headquarters in DC.photo copy

For those of you who watched the live webcast, I am sure you can agree that this was a hugely dynamic group of folks, speaking with both passion and commitment about working to reduce the health disparities affecting our communities. While the focus was LGBT Tobacco Control, there was a lot of discussion about the intersectionality of tobacco and other health disparities that affect disparity communities. Next week, the webcast will be available on the Legacy archive, and we highly recommend you check it out if you missed the webinar yesterday!

Also, if you’re on twitter, you can search #warnerseries to see the blow-by-low live tweeting from the event!

Last year the American Lung Association released their report: Smoking Out The Deadly Threat, and the panel yesterday was yet another exciting moment when a national organization released a report addressing the issues and challenges around tobacco use in the LGBT community.

As the tides shift both on a national and local level, we are so excited to see the growing support for comprehensive inclusion of LGBT communities in Tobacco Prevention and Control!

Check out this amazing video shown at the event

More to come about this exciting event…