Conferences · Uncategorized

“It’s Your Time To Shine!” 2014 LGBTQ Youth Regional Retreats Recap

Motivational-Inspirational-Life-Quotes-2243National Youth Pride Services recently hosted it’s 2014 “It’s Your Time To Shine” Regional Retreat series in Detroit, Michigan (Midwest), Columbia, South Carolina (South) and Washington D.C. (East) thanks to sponsors CenterLink, Lambda Legal, 3LW TV, South Carolina Black Pride, Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services and Al Sura. The retreat was designed to uplift, inspire and motivate the black LGBTQ youth communities in a way that had never been done before. Below, the retreat facilitator and participants recap the events of the three retreats.

In 2014 NYPS changed it mission and vision to be MORE uplifting, positive and empowering; to focus on the positive and less of the negative. We believe that people who are self-confident are more willing to help lift others. After All, winners help others win. Many people are looking for hope, and may just not know where to find it or how to get there. “One Shinning Moment” is our nationwide effort to uplift and inspire our target population. There is much to be said about all the negativity in our communities. This video, shown to all attendees, highlights some of the negative opinions about our community, but we feel this is our #OneShinningMoment to come up with solutions and move to the next level.

The goals of the retreats were to make sure each participant would leave the weekend knowing how to:

Live your life on purpose.

Not on “default.” Be Proactive. Make conscious and deliberate choices. When you don’t choose, circumstances choose for you and you are never leading: you are following or catching up—or worse, living in “default” mode.

Utilize your full potential.

Give what you’re doing your best and fullest attention. Be here now. Even if you’re not where you want to be, giving it half of your effort doesn’t move you forward. Master what you have at hand, for the sake of mastering it, and something will shift.

Live in the question.

There is nothing you cannot be, do, or have, so do not impose limitations on yourself. Instead of saying you can’t get there, ask “How can I get there?” Live in the affirmation of possibility rather than the declaration of negativity.

There is always a way, and it is being presented consistently, but you have to live in the question to be on the lookout for the answer.

Learn to say “No.”

To live your best possible life, you need to learn how to say no to the things that aren’t serving you. The best barometer to measure this by is: if it isn’t a “hell yeah” (Yippee, so fun, can’t wait!), then it is most probably a no. If you have to talk yourself into it, it’s a no.

Once you get comfortable saying no, everything becomes a matter of choice. Living a life of choice is a living a life of freedom.

Know your own value.

Others may be more educated, skilled, or talented in one or another area, but there is something magnificent and valuable about what you have to offer this world that, in comparison, is equal.

Do not allow yourself or anyone else to diminish it. You have a learning disability? So did Dr.King, and that’s what makes him the most powerful speakers. Joe Vitale came from homelessness. Look at him now. Stop idolizing anyone else’s gifts and dismissing your own.

The Midwest version (June), the largest of the three, was held in conjunction with FIERCE, a national program working towards LGBTQ youth of color liberation and located at the Allied Media Conference at Wayne State University. Andrew Rahme, attended the Midwest Regional and based on his experiences and interactions during the weekend, actually became a member of NYPS. Here are some of his thoughts on the Detroit even which had a greater focus on community building and activism:

10383485_10203476696491931_6806017940715506034_nCreation, connection, and transformation are the words that come to mind when thinking about the Midwest Regional at the Allied Media Conference (AMC). Being a queer or trans person of color, it is reality that you have to constantly create solutions for yourself in order to live happily, and successfully. We create walls, stories, identities, spaces, and sometimes we even create realities different from the ones that we are confined to. At the AMC networking gathering, we had a chance to come together as QTPOC and identify the current issues to implement change in our community. Through games, laughter, relationship building, and amazing food, we discovered things about ourselves and about each other that allowed us to grow in ways we didn’t expect.

A very large focus of the network gathering at AMC was surrounded around connection. Connection to each other, to the world around us, and to our personal selves. We mapped out where our interests of change are and brainstormed what steps we can take to implement that change. We connected in ways we didn’t expect through common interests, experiences and the sharing of our wants, needs, hopes, and realities. Many of us began combining different realities and solutions in order to produce ideas for the most effective change.

The end result was inspiring and truly transforming. We got to be first hand witnesses of the beauty that comes out of organizing with QTPOC youth. Ideas as well as lasting relationships were created and strengthened, and to see what change these new alliances will create is exciting to watch for.

The South version (August) was held in Loft’s at The Claussen’s Inn. On Friday night all participants watched the video on the State of The Black LGBTQ Community. Some in the room agreed with some of the statements made, but the majority felt that there were some things that could be done to change the perception of what it is like to be black and LGBTQ.

On Saturday, the first session focused on a common theme in the video: “Status Anxiety”. This is the constant comparing of yourself to others. We looked at how the people you surround yourself with can be stressful and a few ways to get rid of status anxiety. Other issues touched on were: “Later Never Comes” (procrastination), Self Respect, Self Esteem, How Not To Care What Others Think About You as well as our other Life Development Series for Black LGBTQ young adults: “Dollars and Good Sense” and “Born To Win”.

Brandon Berry, of Orlando, FL gives his thoughts on the south retreat:

Brandon Dykes served as a facilitator for the South Region Retreat, as did Brandon Berry.
Brandon Dykes served as a facilitator for the South Region Retreat, as did Brandon Berry.

It was the epitome of comfort, which was a pleasant surprise to me. Imagine walking into a beautiful inn, rich with its area’s history and augmented tall ceiling including a large glass window clearly displaying the beautiful sky. Imagine a two-story loft for a room with all of the space necessary for yourself as well as any of your guests and fellow attendees. One would think no real productive work would be done. Contrary to that thought, we spent a majority of our days with each other having deep, lengthy and intelligent conversations. One of the highlights of this weekend is that great work took place in the comfort of our own rooms. It was a great experience.

I not only met strong and intelligent Black men of distinction, but I got to get personal with them and discuss life and goals and our journeys to our respective unfolding greatness. We held discussions on how to be an effective leader, things to remember when inheriting a leadership position from someone else, and other miscellaneous subjects like the Quality of Education from HBCUs vs PWIs.

Overall the conference was great, and the experience was even greater.

The East version (September) was held at the Akwaaba, a luxury, African inspired house in LGBTQ friendly DuPont Circle. Like the south version, on Friday night, participant’s gathered to watch the video and discuss it. They were more aggressive in their defense of the black LGBTQ community and pointed out how no one in the video took any personal responsibility.

The East Region participants, not only went over all of the same Life Development series topics covered in the South Region, they were able to

Jabbar Lewis facilitated the "Selfies" series in DC.
Jabbar Lewis facilitated the “Selfies” series in DC.

preview parts of our new series: “Choices”: Whether you believe it or not, everything up to this point in your life that has or has not happened to you is because of the choices you have made. Every aspect or our life when examined a little closer can be traced back to a series of choices we have made.

In addition, each participant was given a section of each series to study and then present to the group.

The East Region allowed participants to live together for 3 full days in a fully furnished house, similar to a reality show. This dynamic might have made the East Region one of the best experiences out of the three, so much so, we are looking to hosts future retreats in a luxury house setting. The South and East Regions are also where we tested out having each participant follow each presentation on their tablet/laptop or mobile devices instead of the traditional power points and projectors. They now will be able to relive each session on their mobile device at any time.

Here is a  complete list of all Life Development topics, related videos and handouts from the retreats.

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 · 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.

 

 

Conferences · social media · Summit · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized · White House

We’re working toward a tobacco-free future for LGBT communities!

Here at the National LGBT Cancer Network Summit in NYC, we wanted to get in on the Surgeon General Report excitement! #SGR50photo

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Summit · Uncategorized

One Data Set Does Not Fit All

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health

This morning, I had the privilege of attending Reaching Priority Communities and Supporting Policies, a panel consisting of the six sister networks of CDC disparity populations – Break Free Alliance, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network,  Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership, National Native Network, National Latino Tobacco Control Network, and our very own Network for LGBT Health Equity. It was so great to see so many connections being made throughout these organizations, but at the same time it was so overwhelming! So many amazing points were made that there is absolutely no way I would be able to summarize all of it without writing a megillah.

That being said, I think it’s important to give you all some takeaways shared by each of the organizations.

Break Free Alliance – It’s about leveling the playing field. We don’t want exemptions in any policy.

National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network – One data set does not fit all.

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership— Leadership is not just the 3 D’s: Doctors, Deans, and Directors.

National Native Network— The burden of commercial tobacco is incredibly relevant to our communities, and needs to be discussed from this commercialized position.

National Latino Tobacco Control Network— Speak, speak, and loudly!

Network for LGBT Health Equity— Every segment of our community is different and changing, so we have to constantly be having these conversations.

Again, I think that a lot of this is information that those of us in the trenches already know. As one member of the audience put it, “We’re not just preaching to the choir; we’re preaching to the preachers.” But, it’s still nice to be in rooms where these conversations are still relevant, still immediate. I think that our next challenge is to really stay energized and excited about the work that we do, all while working together and continuing our coalition building.

Summit · Uncategorized

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health.

Greetings from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Kansas City! It’s Ricky again! You may remember me from my previous post here on the Network’s blog, The Shame of Pride.

Yes? No? REGARDLESS.

I’m here in the Show-Me-State on a blogging scholarship to tell you all about the Network’s Summit and National Conference on Tobacco or Health. After a brief battle with what I am referring to as the twenty-four hour virus of death, I am back in the swing of things and attending sessions like whoa. The highlight of my day (besides a great run-in with some AWESOME youth from Say What! Texas) was a session titled One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Tailoring Mass Media Campaigns, featuring a talk by the ever-charming Jeffrey Jordan, head of Rescue Social Change Group.

Basically, this was a rundown of what works and what doesn’t with regard to targeted youth anti-tobacco campaigns. Seeing as how the HHS is calling for youth-focused and youth-driven initiatives, this seemed like a perfect presentation to attend. Here’s the quick and dirty of what Rescue Social Change Group have found to be effective, as well as what is not so effective:

What Works

Cultural authenticity – Do these people look like youth? Are they people that youth believe to be actual non-smokers?

Source credibility – Who is giving the information? Are these just some advertisers trying to get money in some other way?

Fact relevance – Is this true for youth? Does it even matter in their lives?

Immediate consequences – Bad breath keeping youth from getting kisses is waaaaaaay more relatable than lung cancer.

Social justice appeals – Information related to animal cruelty and deforestation trigger critical thinking and connections that may not otherwise by made.

What Doesn’t Work

Over the top creativity – More money doesn’t actually mean more impact—good news for those of us on a public health budget!

Entertaining gimmicks – Flashy dance scenes may be fun, but that doesn’t mean youth know what you’re selling.

Long-term consequences – We’re talking about a generation of immediacy. Let’s talk in their terms!

Fear – I think we can all agree that scaring people doesn’t always work.

Appeals lacking culture – We all want to see ourselves. Right? Right.

I really appreciated this talk because even though it gave lots of examples of what NOT to do, it also gave as many ideas about what we CAN do. And, it was really inspiring to hear that lots of money is not the best answer. We’re all working under tight budgets, so it’s reassuring to know that effective outreach can happen as long as it’s authentic, relevant, immediate, and can be tied back to social justice.

All of those sound like things us queers can get behind, so I can’t wait to see what the Network comes up with to brag on as successes at the next NCTOH!

Cross-posting · Netroots Nation · Resources · social media · Staff/Program Updates

Taking your internet-know-how to the NEXT LEVEL

Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
Reporting from Netroots Nation 2012
 
 
 
 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of cool blogs out there that you want to read? I have often wished to myself, “If only there was some way to combine the updated posts of all of the blogs I want to read…” WELL. Guess what? THERE IS. And I only found out about them yesterday (probably a million years after most people), at the Netroots Nation LGBT Pre-Con, thanks to the friendly and “plugged-in” people I was sitting next to.

One thing I have already learned at Netroots Nation? The people here know their stuff. And by “stuff”, I mean “techie things I have not even thought of”. SCORE.

Programs that allow you to aggregate all of the blogs out there that you want to follow: (Each are a bit different, so you can find the one that is the best for you!)

instapaper

Zite

Flipboard

And, in terms of learning new things… a bit of blogging advice from the LGBT blogosphere:

From Pam Spaulding, of Pam’s House Blend

–       Use “Witty, pithy and short statements”

–       Don’t be afraid to cross post!

–       Make note of the audience that you are intending to write for. Tailor your post to the style of the blog that you are writing for and do not assume that people know anything about your issues (spell out acronyms!)

On How to Create a Dedicated Following, by Joe.My.God

–       Don’t be allowed to welcome feedback and content from readership (such as links, photos, etc.)

–       Try to make the blog as collaborative as possible

–       Create open threads, it creates ownership and investment in the site for readers

–       Be very generous with link sources (“Spread the link love”)

Creating Change · Creating Change 2011 · Feature

Thoughts on Creating Change Conference

Hector Martinez

Blogging Scholarship Winner
Reporting from Creating Change
January 2012 Baltimore, MD
 
 
 
 

It has been a privilege to attend The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference. I want to especially thank the beautiful people at The Network, Dr. Scout, Gustavo and Daniella for their support. These last few days have been inspiring and magical. I met some bold leaders in the LGBT movement, had some big discussions and got a picture with the fabulous Kate Clinton. I met people from all over the US passionately dedicated to the LGBT movement, learned valuable people skills at the workshops and best of all I made some awesome friends. I will be able to go back to San Diego lit up by the power of our movement. I am sure that my new friend Sivagami Subbaraman’s vision of evolving from a place of woundedness to a place of wholeness will happen in our community. Thank you to all the people who made this conference a huge success!

Netroots Nation

BUILDING NETWORKS, ‘REBUILDING THE DREAM’

by Hale Thompson, Guest Blogger for the Network for LGBT Health Equity at Netroots Nation 2011

Blogging for the Network at Netroots has renewed my enthusiasm for social media, transgender health promotion, and community building. Grateful for the opportunity, I learned on so many different levels– from ways to write a more effective tweet, to methods of quantitative analysis of social media data. I was able to renew old friendships, establish new ones, and identify numerous organizations, including and beyond the familiar LGBT ones, that are working toward common goals and have numerous resources that our communities can use and contribute to (see earlier posts, for example, Sean’s Social Media for the Social Good).

Van Jones’ speech on Saturday (also, take a look at this quick shoutout he did on the fly for COLAGE on Friday) really brought it all home for me; he inspires passion, movement building, acting collectively and working across all our very different issues. His main example, ‘Hope and Change,’ were words from Obama that galvanized an American movement leading up to the 2008 election. By 2009, though, hope and change had turned to heartbreak for many.

But Jones reminded us that all humans are fallible. No social movement–or organization–can simply rely on charismatic leaders to achieve its goals or solve its numerous problems. We all–including our greatest leaders–make many mistakes on our paths toward achievement; some “sell out”; others grow tired and burned out; while others may make very different decisions than we might expect or want. The key is to build a movement, made up of networks and an infrastructure, that is resilient enough to endure our individual flaws. The other key is to love; not just those on “our side” or fighting for “our issue” but those we disagree with and may not understand at all. These are the keys to movement building that will allow us to walk under a common banner without having to give up our own struggles and identities.

Thank you, Van Jones, Netroots, the Network for LGBT Health Equity, and thank you all for sustaining this space for guest bloggers. We’re building networks and maybe even a movement!

Netroots Nation

Branding and Design in Advocacy

By Hale Thompson, Guest Blogger for the Network for LGBT Health Equity at Netroots Nation 2011

Logos and tag lines–branding–are really important, underutilized communication tools in the advocacy world. Designers from the Obama 2008 campaign and the Democratic National Committee presented some key tips for creating a brand that will help move you or your organization’s advocacy work forward. Here are 5 branding guidelines from Jessica Teal who did branding for Obama’s 2008 campaign:

  1. Be serious; make branding a priority.
  2. Be authentic; find the essence of your work to craft your brand, rather than trying to please your audience.
  3. Put your brand out EVERYWHERE in all different forms and mediums and make the art work downloadable.
  4. Be consistent, coordinated and aligned (i.e. in the field vs. in the media vs. on your web site).
  5. Be nimble; branding is not a solution–it’s an evolving process.

It’s important to remember that people learn through REPETITION, which has been a recurring, ahem repetitive, theme in several workshops. Repetition and familiarity breed TRUST. Trust in turn evolves into LOYALTY.