Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://ow.ly/DhVNO

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Conferences

BLACK HEALTH: FINAL THOUGHTS ON CONFERENCE ON LGBTI HEALTH RESEARCH

Dr Herukhuti-Lambda 2014

Herukhuti, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Professor, Goddard College

Founder and CEO, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality

“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? I like to caution folks, that’s all. No sense us wasting each other’s time, sweetheart. A lot of weight when you’re well. Now, you just hold that thought…. Just so’s you’re sure. sweetheart, and ready to be healed cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.” – Minnie Ransom in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters

The health and wellbeing of Black people. Who will take the weight of the wholeness and wellness of people who Europeans brought to the Western hemisphere as chattel slaves, marked as sub-human in scientific journals, made to live in dehumanizing conditions up to and including the present moment? In 1977, the members of the Combahee River Collective, stated, “We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community which allows us to continue our struggle and work.”

The articulation of self-determination in Black communities has not been unique to Black women. Essex Hemphill, in his poem For My Own Protection, answered the question thusly, “I want to start an organization to save my life…. the lives of Black men are priceless and can be saved. We should be able to save each other. I don’t want to wait for the Heritage Foundation to release a study saying Black people are almost extinct…. I don’t want to be the living dead pacified with drugs, sex and rock-n-roll…. If we have to take tomorrow with blood are we ready?… All I want to know for my own protection is are we capable of whatever whenever.”

As we discussed the IOM report recommendations for research training, it became obvious that there is currently no research training center dedicated to LGBT health research run by Black people or even with Black people in significant positions of power and authority in the United States. Zero. The Conference on Current Issues in LGBTI Health Research, which the organizers characterized as an international conference and had presenters and attendees from Asia, Latin America and the United States, had one Black presenter.

Recommendation Six of the IOM Report made the following assertions:

“To create a more robust cadre of researchers in LGBT health, NIH should expand its existing research training framework for both intramural and extramural training. Three audiences should be targeted: researchers who are working with or considering working with LGBT populations, other researchers who may not be aware of LGBT health issues, and NIH staff.” p.304

“In its intramural training program, NIH should develop postdoctoral training opportunities in the area of LGBT research (for example, research on youth and families). Similarly, NIH should expand the curriculum of its postbaccalaureate NIH Academy to include LGBT-specific issues in addition to the racial and ethnic disparities that are currently studied within the program. To implement these research training activities, NIH should increase its capacity to provide on-site experts as mentors for researchers examining LGBT health issues.” p.304

“Within its existing extramural program, NIH should increase the number of individual awards offered to researchers studying LGBT health issues, including postdoctoral, graduate student, and career awards. In addition, the current loan repayment program should be expanded to assist students who choose to study LGBT health issues. In particular, the development of researchers of color who will study LGBT health should be encouraged.“ p.305

If these recommendations are to be implemented in ways that lead to tangible, material improvements in the health, wholeness and wellbeing of Black people, they have to be implemented in a different context than has been attempted previously. The Eurocentric and white-dominated systems, structures and mechanisms can not be the vehicles for implementation because they have proven to be ineffective in addressing the tangible, material conditions of Black people–despite the good intentions of well-meaning white allies.

It is time (as it has always been the time) for us to liberate and save ourselves. We need a national convening of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, same-gender loving, and queer organizations, leadership and researchers to generate a health agenda that addresses our needs, realities, and aspirations. It will mean recognizing the areas of common experience as well as the uniquenesses that exists across Black folks who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, same-gender loving, and queer. It will entail our embrace of our indigenous knowledge of our communities (both grassroots knowledge and scientific knowledge) as well as considering the value of the work that has been conducted outside of our communities such as the IOM report. It will require the cultural confidence evidenced in the Combahee River Collective Statement and Essex Hemphill’s poem to believe that we can take the weight and the cultural sophistication to realize that we are the only ones who ever could.

Dr. Herukhuti is founder and Chief Erotics Officer (CEO) of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of sacredsexualities.org. He is also a member of the faculty at Goddard College. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr and like his Facebook Fan page.

 

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · IOM · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship · Updates

#BWLGBTI Day 3 Part 2: Community-based research is still important

dwayne

 

 

Dwayne Steward

LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

 

 

We’ve come to the end of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University. This has been a very life-changing experience, for which I am truly grateful. Being in the room with so many experts that have and are currently making groundbreaking changes in the country, and around the world, regarding the inclusion of LGBTI communities in health research has been phenomenal. I can’t thank the Network for LGBT Health Equity enough for this amazing opportunity.

Jacob Nash
Jacob Nash

The conference began it’s last half with two lively panel discussions. The first was “Community Perspectives Regarding LGBTI Health” featuring Jacob Nash (transgender activist and director of Margie’s Hope), Alana Jochum (Equality Ohio’s Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinator) and Maya Simek (program director for The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland). Jochum made some very interesting points regarding how LGBTI health research has made historic advances in LGBTI rights possible. She referenced several court cases that have used the statistics compiled by researchers, several in the room, in major courtroom arguments for marriage equality. Her examples helped further illustrate the need for the work of those attending the conference. Nash and Simek put out calls to researchers for more specified research studies on marginalized populations and offered insights on the health issues they’re seeing among marginalized populations. They both reiterated the need for more collaboration between activists and health researchers.

The conference officially ended with “LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” with a very dynamic panel of LGBTI health community organizers from Latin America and India.

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“LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” Panel

Wendy Castillo, a community organizer from El Salvador who has done work providing safe spaces for lesbian and transgender women, spoke at length about the tragic murders that continue take the lives of transgender women regularly in El Salvodor and the struggles organizations there face with trying to keep transgender women safe. Daniel Armando Calderon and Alejandro Rodriguez, both community organizers around issues facing the MSM community in Columbia, discussed how they try to decrease barriers for “heterosexual MSM’ and other special populations needing HIV care and other health services.

Vivek Anand, of Humsafar Trust, closed out the conference with more detail regarding his efforts regarding the recent re-criminalization of homosexuality in India. His organization has courageously come to the forefront of attacking this law that was passed by the country’s Supreme Court after massive efforts from religious leaders. I thinks it quite admirable that the work he’s doing is heralding and sometimes dangerous, but he faces it head on with an upbeat attitude. He ended his presentation with a video of Gaysi‘s (an LGBT advocacy organization in Mumbai) #notgoingback campaign, one of the efforts to build awareness and garner support for repealing the law. The upbeat video, featuring Pharrell Williams’ massive hit song “Happy,” is a perfect representation of Anand’s bubbly activist spirit.

And thus we end our time together my friends. Please always remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that I used to start this blog series, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let’s never end this very important conversation!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · LGBT Policy · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship

#BWLBGTI Day 2 Post-Lunch: Revisiting sexual health

dwayne

Dwayne Steward 
LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

After lunch at day 2 of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace is all about sexual health. Historically this would have been the bulk of such a conference as this. As most of us know, pathology-focused research on homosexuality and gender diversity, along with the stigma associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic forced LGBTI healthcare into a sexual health box for many years. It’s interesting to see that the pendulum is swinging back the other way in some ways as we as LGBTI healthcare workers/researchers are now having to convince certain communities that sexual health is still an important factor of the LGBTI health experience.

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Dr. Anthony Silvestre, professor of Infectious Disease and Microbiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, opened with a lunch-time keynote on the history of sexual health research, reminding us how far we’ve come regarding the study of sex and sexuality in this country. He than joined Dr. Brian Dodge, Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health, for the “LGBTI Health Training” seminar track, which included a lively discussion on the changing landscape of HIV and intersectionality in public health research.

There was definitely a lot of talk about training program models in Indiana and Pennsylvania, but through the lens of sexual health research. Dr. Silvestre spoke on University of Pittsburgh’s LGBT health certificate program along with several other LGBT-focused specialized programs the university offers, including a post-doctorate program that specialized in MSM (men who have sex with men) healthcare.

Dr. Dodge made several interesting conjectures about the study of sexual health saying, much of the conversation regarding sexual health has been risk based. “We need to be including more about the actual pleasure of sex and begin taking a more sex-positive approach. It is okay for gay sex to be enjoyable,” he said. He went on to say that programs should take a more competency-based approach to better prepare students for their post-college endeavors.

My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).
My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).

Dr. Francisco Sy, director of the Office of Community-Based Participatory Research and Collaboration at the NIH/National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), took a moment to educate the audience on the NIH grant process and how to best navigate their grant application process. But the day’s real winner was Dr. Erin Wilson’s presentation, “HIV Among Trans-Female Youth: What We Now Know and Directions for Research and Prevention.” Dr. Wilson, who is a former NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipient and research scientist currently with the AIDS Office at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, quickly (due to time constraints) spoke on her ground-breaking NIH-funded research on the social determinants of health that led to high HIV-infection rates for transgender female youth in Los Angeles.

The statistics Dr. Wilson reported were pretty staggering. She prefaced much of her presentation by saying her studies were very specific to L.A. and she had no research to show that this was reflective of the national transgender female population. She reported finding that transgender females in L.A. were 34 times more likely to contact HIV than the general population and at the time of her study nearly 70 percent of transgender female youth in L.A. participated in sex work. As a result of her work The SHINE Study was created, the first longitudinal study of trans*female youth that still continues today. Though nearly 40 percent of transgender females in L.A. are living with HIV only 5 percent are youth. “We have a great opportunity to get ahead of this disparity and create some real change,” she said.

That’s all for today my friends. Check back tomorrow for a full report on Day 3 of the Baldwin Wallace University LGBTI Health Research Conference (#BWLGBTI)!

Conferences

INTERSECTIONALITY REDUX AND REVISED: DAY 3 AT THE CONFERENCE ON LGBTI HEALTH RESEARCH

Dr Herukhuti-Lambda 2014

Herukhuti, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Professor, Goddard College

Founder and CEO, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality

“Race and ethnicity—Concepts of community, traditional roles, religiosity, and cultural influences associated with race and ethnicity shape an LGBT individual’s experiences. The racial and ethnic communities to which one belongs affect self-identification, the process of coming out, available support, the extent to which one identifies with the LGBT community, affirmation of gender-variant expression, and other factors that ultimately influence health outcomes. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups may have profoundly different experiences than non-Hispanic white LGBT individuals.” – The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences 2011

Saturday morning, we had  a very lively discussion of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on LGBT health. Drs, Walter Bockting, PhD, co-director, LGBTI Health Initiative, Division of Gender, Sexuality, & Health, NYS Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University,  Judith Bradford, director, Center for Population Research in LGBTI Health, Fenway Institute, and Rashada C. Alexander, special assistant to the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) led the discussion with presentations on their work. Judith and Walter were members of the committee that crafted the report. Rashada, the only presenter of African descent during the conference, provided an important perspective on the way forward for people interested in using the IOM report to engage the NIH.

The committee recommended four conceptual frameworks “be applied to priority areas of research in order to further the evidence base for LGBT health issues:” minority stress model, life course approach, intersectionality and social ecology. Intersectionality is quite unique among the four in that its roots are in the radical activist traditions of Black feminist community organizers. The committee chose of the work Bonnie Thorton Dill and Ruth Zambrana, Emerging Intersections: Race, Class and Gender in Theory, Policy and Practice, as the basis for their understanding and articulation of intersectionality. But its history can be found as early as 1977 Combahee River Collective Statement, in which the women articulated,

“We are a collective of Black feminists who have been meeting together since 1974. During that time we have been involved in the process of defining and clarifying our politics, while at the same time doing political work within our own group and in coalition with other progressive organizations and movements. The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives. As Black women we see Black feminism as the logical political movement to combat the manifold and simultaneous oppressions that all women of color face.”

While the attention to an integrated analysis of the role of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class in social life are the same, the tone, energy and politics of that statement are different than how the committee framed intersectionality in the IOM report,

“Intersectionality encompasses a set of foundational claims and organizing principles for understanding social inequality and its relationship to individuals’ marginalized status based on such dimensions as race, ethnicity, and social class (Dill and Zambrana, 2009; Weber, 2010). These include the following:

  • Race is a social construct. The lived experiences of racial/ethnic groups can be understood only in the context of institutionalized patterns of unequal control over the distribution of a society’s valued goods and resources.
  • Understanding the racial and ethnic experiences of sexual- and gender-minority individuals requires taking into account the full range of historical and social experiences both within and between sexual- and gender-minority groups with respect to class, gender, race, ethnicity, and geographical location.
  • The economic and social positioning of groups within society is associated with institutional practices and policies that contribute to unequal treatment.
  • The importance of representation—the ways social groups and individuals are viewed and depicted in the society at large and the expectations associated with these depictions—must be acknowledged. These representations are integrally linked to social, structural, political, historical, and geographic factors.

Intersectional approaches are based on the premise that individual and group identities are complex—influenced and shaped not just by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality/sexual orientation, gender, physical disabilities, and national origin but also by the confluence of all of those characteristics. Nevertheless, in a hierarchically organized society, some statuses become more important than others at any given historical moment and in specific geographic locations. Race, ethnicity, class, and community context matter; they are all powerful determinants of access to social capital—the resources that improve educational, economic, and social position in society.” p. 21

Dr. Herukhuti is founder and Chief Erotics Officer (CEO) of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of sacredsexualities.org. He is also a member of the faculty at Goddard College. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr and like his Facebook Fan page.

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The Master’s House: Day 3 AT THE CONFERENCE ON LGBTI HEALTH RESEARCH

Dr Herukhuti-Lambda 2014

Herukhuti, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Professor, Goddard College

Founder and CEO, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s the house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never allow us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” – Audre Lorde, comments at “The Personal and Political” Panel of the Second Sex Conference, New York City, September 29, 1979

What is the goal of sexual justice?

Of LGBTI health equity?

Are we seeking access to the privileges and status system that oppresses us and those we love? Or are we seeking to dismantle that system–to give birth to a new world?

Over and over again yesterday these questions emerged for me in the presentations and discussions that took place at the Conference on Current Issues in LGBTI Health Research. In a society of white supremacist, capitalist heteropatriarchy has been radical to study things related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex people. People have struggled to overcome professional obstacles and challenges to do that work. Many of them (some of whom were in the room) have sacrificed much.

But that work is not in and of itself the foundation for dismantling the system of oppression and the revolutionary transformation of the world. Studying the impact of our oppression (i.e., health disparities) without a direct link to the means to end that oppression (i.e., community mobilization and organizing, policy advocacy and social change) is useful for individual, personal professional mobility and advancement. It does not do the necessary work of dismantling the master’s house. Conducting and publishing research, leaving the anti-oppression work to “the community,” “activists,” or “advocates” is a convenient way to cultivate a sense of security and comfort.

For those of us who committed to dismantling the master’s house, it is a struggle to obtain resources for that work. Not only will the master’s tools not dismantle the master’s house, but also the master will not fund the dismantling of the master’s house. How do you fit revolutionary change in a grant proposal? What’s the research question for revolutionary change? If, as Gil Scott Heron declared, the revolution will not be televised, can we expect that it will at least be conducted on a grant?

Several conference attendees discussed the idea of working within the system as a subversive act. I am often curious as to how that works practically. My only reference for it in literature is Sam Greenlee’s novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door. In the novel, the protagonist used the knowledge obtained working with a government agency to teach, train, organize and mobilize members of the community in which he grew up with the same knowledge that used to oppress them. But that’s the only example of subversion that I have seen in detail. I’d love to have some of real-life subversives provide the details of their practice and how it has led to tangible, material advancement of the dismantling of the master’s house.

Dr. Herukhuti is founder and Chief Erotics Officer (CEO) of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of sacredsexualities.org. He is also a member of the faculty at Goddard College. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr and like his Facebook Fan page.

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NAMING AND CLAIMING LEGACY: DAY 2 AT THE CONFERENCE ON LGBTI HEALTH RESEARCH

Dr Herukhuti-Lambda 2014

Herukhuti, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Professor, Goddard College

Founder and CEO, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality

(His)stories like our first lovers can be very seductive when we engage them from the place of nostalgia and memory. What we remember or don’t, the highlights and the gaps in memory tell us so much about the person(s) engaged in the telling of the history/story. The Conference on Current Issues in LGBTI Health Research started today with a keynote address by Dr. Eli Coleman, director of the program in human sexuality in the department of family medicine at the School of Medicine of the University of Minnesota.

He dedicated much of the time of his powerpoint presentation to sharing with us his story of LGBT movement history, health policy, and culture in the United States. The story was, he admitted, primarily Eurocentric and middle class. With a few keystrokes in Google Search, one can engage and consider the stories of the role of African-Americans in the Stonewall Riots and the response to HIV/AIDS. Dr. Anthony Silvestre, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the Graduate School of Public Health of University of Pittsburgh, in the afternoon keynote address provided a surprisingly similar understanding of the history of LGBTI health research.

Nestled between these talks was a presentation by Vivek Anand, executive director of Humsafar Trust (Mumbai, India). Based upon his presentation, Humsafar Trust appeared to be a study (as in exemplar) in indigenous mobilization and community-based participatory action-research. Drawing upon ideas from the West but honoring their knowledge of their own local context and retaining their commitment to indigenous control, Humsafar Trust has been working to address the opportunities and challenges they face.

Inspired by the stories of the presenters and having the value of knowing my history, ancestors, and genealogies reaffirmed for me in the absences present in several of the presentations, I want to create space in this article to name those people of African descent who have contributed to my understanding of sexual health and justice:

Who are the ancestors, elders and role models that contribute to your genealogy of understanding sexual health and justice?

Dr. Herukhuti is founder and Chief Erotics Officer (CEO) of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of sacredsexualities.org. He is also a member of the faculty at Goddard College. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr and like his Facebook Fan page.

Arkansas LGBT Health Initiative · Conferences · scholarship

Putting the I in LGBTQI

 

e.shor

 

E. Shor, MPH

Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellow through UW-Madison

 

Blogging Live from: the LGBTI Health Research Conference

 

This has been a jam-packed day so far and it is only half over at the LGBTI Health Research Conference. There have been speakers addressing data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, addressing the necessity of doing more research around intersex identities, policy changes and implications of those changes, transgender health, history of research in LGBTQI communities, and so much more.  My brain feels full of things to think about.

 

Here a few things I thought were interesting:

 

  • From a historical perspective, Kellan Baker of the Center for American Progress, described a historical paradigm shift that has been happening in the lat 15 years. He mentioned that in the 2000s public health work highlighted health disparities, and in the 2010s the lens has shifted to health equity and health in all policies. This paradigm shift has really emphasized that equity is justice in the form of public policy and changing systems.

 

  • Thus far there have been a number of speakers highlighting experiences of groups who often face high levels of invisibility, including people who are intersex, and who are transgender. There have been great strides in methodology around collecting data in transgender and gender non-conforming communities. The two-step question method outlines questions to ascertain “sex at birth” and “current gender identity” to affirm a participants gender identity and create understanding about potential clinical needs and biological implications. However, it was very interesting to engage in dialogue about the fact that this two-step method may not be effective for people who are intersex, and that there is great need to build and test questions that capture intersex experiences and conditions.

 

  • Here are some thoughts on where to go and what we need to do to continue doing good work around LGBTQ health and research…

 

  • e.shor lgbt health con
Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Resources · scholarship

#BWLGBTI Day 2: Perfect time, perfect place

dwayne

Dwayne Steward
LGBTQ Health Advocate 
Columbus Public Health

As I continue into the second day of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University, it struck me as pretty powerful that the BW’s president Robert Helmer opened the first day of seminars with the words “this is the perfect time and the perfect place for this [conference].” (BW Provost, Dr. Stephen Stahl also reiterated this sentiment just after lunch with saying, “this conference is at the core of founding values.”) This stayed with me throughout the morning as we heard from such innovative speakers such as Dr. Eli Coleman who, just through all of the heralding stories he shared, showed his longstanding impact on changing the American perspective on LGBTI health research. Dr. Coleman, who is currently the director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, also left me with a new mantra: “Without rights we will not have [good] health.”

Dr. Eli Coleman
Dr. Eli Coleman

After Dr. Coleman’s keynote address, the morning continued at a rapid-fire pace, with a revolving door of one prestigious presenter after another. Here are a few brief notes on the presentations I thought most intriguing.

  • During the “Translating Research into Policy and Heath Interventions” seminar track Kellan Baker, associate director of the LGBTI Research and Communications Project at Center for American Progress, gave a very interesting look at how political advocacy has led to inclusive research, highlighting the work of HIV/AIDS advocates during the 1980s. Baker went on to show that though there have been strides made concerning LGBTI political inclusion, there’s still so much more to be done. I found it interesting that between 2002 and 2010 there was absolutely no inclusion of LGBTI communities in any federal health research because of the change in presidential administration. This silence prompted the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association to create a sexual identity and gender identity specific companion report to the National Institutes of Health 2010 Healthy People report. Now in their 2020 Health People edition we see two LGBTI-focused reports because of such advocacy efforts.
  • Vivek Anand, Executive Director of Humsafar Trust in Mumbai, India, also took the stage during the “policy and health interventions” track and wowed myself an the audience with the grassroots, community-based research he’s been conducting in India, despite the country still criminalizing homosexuality. “On-the-ground work and community-based research is still crucial…if we are not out in the community and visible we will not be counted,” he said. Humsafar has fund-raised thousands of dollars and build several LGBT organizations in India, providing countless services and research for a nearly invisible community.
Vivek Anand
Vivek Anand

A brief break led right into a seminar track on “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Intersex Data at Population and Clinical Levels,” which I personally found rather enthralling. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of evidence-based research that exists regarding adding sexual orientation and gender identity to medical forms and records.

  • Joanne Keatley, briefly detailed research from the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at University of California-San Francisco that highlighted the groundbreaking work she was involved with to make the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention start collecting transgender data in 2011. She also stressed the importance of including transgender female-to-males in HIV research, as much of their studies showed that this is an affected demographic, despite current perceptions.
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The many words for “transgender”
  • Karen Walsh, an intersex activist, detailed the importance of intersex research and how to include intersex information collection in an accurate and affirming fashion. I learned so much on the intersex community that I was not aware of, including most who are intersex receive some sort of surgical interventions as children but surgery is often medically unnecessary.
  • Dr. Jody Herman, of the Williams Institute at University of California-Los Angeles, and Harvey Makadon of Fenway Health’s National LGBT Health Education Center, also provided invaluable examples of specific language and formats that can be used on forms to capture sexual health and gender identity. If you are a healthcare provider that values inclusion I highly recommend visiting their organizations’ websites.

Stay tuned for more post-lunch recaps!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources

Baldwin Wallace presenting first LGBTI health conference with class

dwayne

Dwayne Steward
LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” It’s become a mantra I’ve come to live by. It is the starting of and building upon conversations that matter that truly leads to change. This mantra is even more present as I head into the LGBTI Health Research Conference today though Saturday at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

BWU-newSign

As the LGBTQ Health Advocate for the City of Columbus in Ohio, a seasoned journalist and full-time activist, I often find myself in the midst of important conversations. Conversations about improving the health of gender and sexually diverse communities, and how we can increase access to care for deeply marginalized populations. I was hired by the city just over a year ago to create the Columbus Public Health LGBTQ Health Initiative and in our first year we’ve already made massive impact with the development of our Ohio LGBTQ Youth Safety Summit, implementation of citywide healthcare provider-focused LGBTQ cultural competency training and the creation of a robust community engagement platform, just to name a few. To say LGBTQI healthcare is a passion of mine would be a gross understatement.

The LGBTI Health Research Conference will be an excellent opportunity to bring the best minds in the field together around the healthcare issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex populations, which I hope will lead to helping decrease health disparities of LGBTI individuals in places like my Midwestern hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

“It is hard to download all that is known about LGBT health in a day and a half, but we are really interested in getting people together to build connections that will hopefully lead to building more work towards LGBT healthcare,” said Dr. Emilia Lombardi during a phone interview leading up to the conference. Dr. Lombardi is an Assistant Professor within Baldwin Wallace University’s Department of Public Health and one of the conference’s lead organizers.

Dr. Lombardi went on to tell me she’s been working with supporters such as Cleveland State University and MetroHealth Medical Center for more than a year to bring the university’s first conference focused on LGBTI health to fruition. Prestigious presenters from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, The National LGBT Health Education Center and Fenway Health are just a few of the organizations presented on the schedule.

hc_metrohealth01-full

Dr. Lombardi said the Institute of Medicine’s groundbreaking 2011 report, “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding,” (commissioned by the National Institutes of Health) was a major step by the federal government that led to the creation of the conference.

“NIH asked the Institute of Medicine to bring together experts in LGBT health to discuss the need,” she said. “The NIH has even put forth a new effort to support more LGBT-related health research. It’s very encouraging to know that our federal government supports us.”

I arrived in Cleveland to a beautiful reception at MetroHealth with a keynote by the health institution’s CEO,  Dr. Akram Boutros, which is no surprise as MetroHealth has housed one of the nation’s leading LGBT health clinics for nearly a decade. Though I’m definitely impressed by the high-caliber of speakers BW was able to procure for their first LGBT health conference. I’m looking forward to an unprecedented weekend of immersion into the health research of LGBTI communities. (With maybe a little Gay Games fun as a side bonus.) Continue to check this blog for more coverage of the conference from me and a few colleagues as this amazing weekend continues!