Conferences · Feature · Philly Trans health conference

Revolutionary: Asking the Hard Questions

Pride Center Staff Photo



Bishop S.F. Makalani-Mahee

Minister. Performing Artist. Community Organizer




One of the blessings I receive from attending conferences such as Philly Trans Health is the intentional creation of space for dialogue, dialogue  that not shares experience, strength, and hope; but dialogue that challenges our thoughts, assumptions, and bias.  Here the keynotes addresses serve as family gathering/meeting where we affirm one another and remind each other we are not alone; discuss how to function more healthily as a family, and we can hold  each other accountable in love.

I was sitting in a workshop where a trans woman of color was cautioning us to have the conversations that shines a light on our shame so that our youth know we haven’t always been who we are today, and there were times when we made choices (for whatever the reason maybe) that we were not always proud of.  However, we realize that we don’t have to carry the shame of those choices with us for the rest of our lives.   When we engage each other in conversations, and ask each other the hard questions we create a space of truth, trust, respect, and non-judgment.

I left that session asking myself  “Where am I not being honest, about owning my own shame based experiences?” This was a hard question that I would not have been able to ask myself had there not been the intentional creation of the space to have conversations that ask the hard questions, and the strength, boldness, and courage of people to show up and share their shame  spoken in truth that becomes warrior marks and the bridges to our destiny.

I also feel that these conversations and asking the hard questions provide a lifeline for those of us who live in places where there is not large trans communities, or visible people of color communities, or resources for them; and as such there is not an ongoing dialogue that addresses living in a world impacted by micro-aggression, and confronting an oppressive white supremacist –capitalist-patriarchy that doesn’t want us to engage with or empower each other; which really makes me think that having conversation and asking the hard questions may be one of the most revolutionary things we can do.


Continue To Walk In The Light, Redefine Your Faith, and Remember It’s All The Rhythm.



Funding · LGBT Policy · Uncategorized

LGBT Health Awareness Week call with HRSA and SAMHSA

Daniella Matthews-Triggg
Program Associate
 Update on LGBT Health Awareness Week call

Today, the Coalition for LGBT Health, along with CenterLink and GLMA, hosted a conference call with HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakerfield and Dr. Alex Camacho, a social science analyst at SAMHSA.

Both spoke about the work that their organizations are doing around LGBT health.

Dr. Wakefield

Dr. Wakefield spoke about the breadth and scope of HRSA 100’s of programs and the amassment of an agenda that is supportive of LGBT health. She mentioned a few of HRSA’s programs and initiatives including:

  • HRSA’s support of community health centers (which provide much primary and preventative care)
  • Work with National Health Service Corp (Half of whom work in community health centers)
  • The improved ability to focus on preventative and management care because of the Affordable Care Act
  • Strengthening the national health workforce by funding schools and training programs
  • HRSA houses the department of rural health policy
  • Department motto of ” improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs.” (we love this!)
  • The updated information on HRSA website including archived webinars and grant and funding opportunities
  •  HRSA’s “community characteristic form” now includes an LGBT indicator
  • HRSA and SAMSHA are leading the way in inclusive grant language
  • Negotiated rule making- committee created for affordable care act, included reps from LGBT population (medically underserved populations)
  • HIV/AIDS bureau (another part of HRSA)- offering new grants, including for work with trans women of color with HIV and LGBT people at risk for HIV
  • Held Listening Sessions on LGBT cultural competency
  • Gave a shout out to Fenway!!!
  • Cultural competency plenary session (far reaching, over 900 clinicians trained! And because of affordable care act, 1000’s more will be trained!)
  • Looking for grant reviewers– Not based on experience. Important to have variety of reviewers.

Dr. Camacho spoke about the newly released publication, Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations: Information & Resource Kit and other LGBT specific resources on the SAMHSA website including A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals. 

After both Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Camaro spoke, there was a brief question session in which Fenway’s very own director of Government Affairs, Henia Handler, asked an excellent question regarding the testing of questions about sexual orientation for the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Dr. Camaro responded by explaining that they are currently  in the second and third phase of field testing a  question (in both Spanish and English) on sexual identity, which was determined through cognitive interviews. The question should be on the NHIS in 2015 and will help to address data gaps in terms of gender identity. (This is a HUGE step in direction of reducing invisibility of LGBT populations!)

Cultural Competency Trainings · Presentations · Resources · Technical Assistance · Uncategorized

Utilizing Partnerships to Build and Sustain the Movement – Reporting From Arkansas

By Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
Little Rock, Arkansas 

Greetings from Little Rock Arkansas, where we are conducting another Cultural Competency training focused on assisting programs in developing effective strategies to reach and serve LGBT communities.

As many of you know, one of the Network’s most requested trainings is our Cultural Competency training, “Skills Building to Reach and Serve LGBT Disparity Populations”. Whenever we give a training, we try to identify local LGBT individuals, programs and services to assist us and provide both a local perspective on the LGBT Climate in that state or region, but also a local community link for participants to reach out to. This got us thinking about ways that we could continue to utilize our national partnerships to build and sustain the movements established when we travel, as well as conduct trainings and technical assistance. So, we are pleased to announce our formalized policy around trainings and technical assistance which utilizes our national partners and establishes solid community access points when we conduct trainings. So now, anytime we are requested to do trainings we will reach out directly to our partners at both CenterLink and Equality Federation to establish local community access points to integrate into the training. Although we have been doing this to some extent independently, actually formalizing the process of working with our partners will ensure that we are providing trusted LGBT based resources and information to participants. Each groups membership base provides unique perspective in working with the community and will strengthen our partnerships and ensure more local LGBT resources are shared during the presentation. Here in Arkansas we put our new policy to work with Kat Krisp, of  the Center for Artistic Revolution, which is a member of Equality Federation. I met with Kat and toured their facility to gain a better understanding of the resources they provided locally and we together we finalized our game plan for the training. Kat joined us all day yesterday for the training, and was an amazing resource on Arkansas LGBT issues and perspective.

I could not have asked for a better training yesterday and was so pleased to have been invited to Arkansas. There is a lot of support for LGBT inclusion in Arkansas, and I am proud of the movement starting there. As a state in the Bible belt, they expressed some unique challenges, but the individuals in the room want to make a difference for their community as a whole and the sense of enthusiasm for LGBT inclusion into all of their work was magical. I want to thank The Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which is MSA established agency to provide administrative oversight and program direction for the portion of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services Tobacco Prevention and Cessation fund designed to target Arkansas’ minority population, for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing movement in Arkansas. Their leadership is is outstanding, and I feel there will be some more great changes for inclusion of LGBT communities in the future.