The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

1era Cumbre Puertorriqueña Pro Salud Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual, Transgénero y Transexual (LGBTT) / 1st LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico

Advertisements

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Blogs en español, Puerto Rico | 3 Comments

Comprehensive Health for the LGBTT Community in Puerto Rico – Panel and Discussion

 4th Educational Poster

by guest blogger, Juan Carlos Vega

THIS IS A BILINGUAL MESSAGE

ESTE ES UN MENSAJE BILINGUE 

 ————————————————————————————-

Panel y Discusión: Salud Integral para la Comunidad LGBTT en Puerto Rico

4to Congreso Educativo: Apoderando Nuestra Comunidad LGBTT

Sábado, 20 de noviembre del 2010 (9:30am – 11:00am)

Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, P.R.

Invita: Saliendo del Clóset, Inc.

Resumen del Tema: Escucha los resultados de la Encuesta sobre la Salud en la Comunidad LGBTT realizada por un año en Puerto Rico con el propósito de ayudar a identificar las realidades, necesidades y el desarrollo de servicios y eventos que promueven la salud y el bienestar de nuestra comunidad.  Participa en una discusión sobre este tema y aprende de medicina holística para matener una vida saludable en el Puerto Rico de hoy.

 Panelistas:

 Elba C. Díaz-Toro*, DMD, MSD, MPHc, Escuela Medicina Dental, Centro de Cáncer de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad de Puerto Rico

 Dra. Selene Portillo, Médica Holistica con Especialidad en Medicina Quántica

 Juan Carlos Vega*, MLS, Bibliotecario Activista & Consultor en Informática

 

 Moderadora: 

Lissette Rodríguez*, MA, BSED, Educadora en Salud

*Representantes en Puerto Rico de las Redes Nacionales Latinos y LGBT para el Control del Tabaco y de la Coalición para un Puerto Rico Libre de Tabaco.

 Auspiciado por las Redes Nacionales Latinos y LGBT para el Control del Tabaco y por el Centro Comprensivo de Cancer de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 

——————————————————————————————————————————

Panel and Discussion: Comprehensive Health for the LGBTT Community in Puerto Rico

4th Educational Summit: Empowering Our LGBTT Community 2010

November 20, 2010

 Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico

This Summit is sponsored by local LGBTT group, Saliendo del Clóset, Inc.

Abstract: Listen to the results of the Health-Tobacco Survey in the LGBTT Community of Puerto Rico collated the last twelve months in order to identify the realities, needs, and the development of services and events that promote a healthy local LGBTT community.  Participate in group discussions and learn how to integrate holistic approaches to stay healthy in today’s society.

Panelists:

Elba C. Díaz-Toro*, DMD, MSD, MPHc, School of Dental Health, Comprehensive Cancer Center of Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico

Dr. Selene Portillo, Holistic Medicine with a Specialty in Quantic Medicine

Juan Carlos Vega*, MLS, Activist Librarian & Information Consultant

Moderator:

Lissette Rodríguez*, MA, BSED, Health Educator

*Representatives and members of the CDC-sponsored National Latino & LGBT Tobacco Control Networks and the Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition.

 

Panel and Discussion are sponsored by the National Latino & LGBT Tobacco Control Networks and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of at the University of Puerto Rico.

 

University of Puerto Rico/M. D. Anderson Cancer Center: Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research (Outreach Program) 

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Blogs en español, Presentations, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

The Train is in Motion!

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from Washington, DC

Choo Choo!!!  For the last year, the CDC funded National LGBT and Latino Tobacco Control Networks have been engaging the LGBT community in Puerto Rico.  However, much more is needed to move LGBT health to the forefront.  That is one of the reasons why I am in Washington, D.C. for several weeks.  I came to learn from others on the ground on how to engage folks so I can return to the island with an overload of information, resources, and opportunities to share with my community back home.

My two young guiding lights: Ana Graciela Najera Mendoza (InnerCity Struggle, Los Angeles, CA) and Rodrigo Rodriguez (SouthWest Organizing Project-SWOP, Albuquerque, NM)

From October 22-24, I participated in the 3-day training Community Organizing: Building Base, Building Power, part of the Praxis Project Learning Circle Series that have engaged hundreds of groups and individuals doing grassroots advocacy and organizing.  During the many group exercises, I chose to be part of the health justice subgroup.  Based on a Planning Template, the subgroups developed an issue by setting goals, identifying resources and research needed, strategies to approach the work, and concrete action planning steps to develop the work  in the next 90 days, 6 months, and a year.  With the guiding light from a pair of young Latina/o organizers from New Mexico and California, I was able to organize concrete ideas to move forward.

From the community level, I jumped to the national arena by attending the National Coalition for LGBT Health Annual Meeting.  While there I shared the work that we are doing back home and the struggles we face.  I was able to identify possible funding sources and technical assistance providers to help us develop health issues among the LGBT community of Puerto Rico.

Planning chart for community engagement and action developed during the Learning Circle.

The icing on the cake was the Training of Trainers that Dr. Elba C. Díaz-Toro, Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and this blogger received by the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network.  The training was provided to ensure the inclusion of LGBT sensibilities and perspectives in the upcoming healthcare provider trainings to take place next year all across the Island.  We had an open conversation with the Network’s Scout and Gustavo Torrez on clinical and community approaches to engage healthcare professionals in Puerto Rico regarding LGBT health.  Just as exciting is the possibility of having a summit on LGBT wellness in Puerto Rico next year.  This will bring together U.S. and Island healthcare professionals to discuss and explore issues on LGBT health.

The train has been set in motion to bring an LGBT perspective to the pubic health agenda in Puerto Rico.  Everything that we are learning … and translating into Spanish …  can be used, adapted, and implemented not only in other LGBT Latino/a communities in the U.S. but in other Latin American countries.

DC is getting cold by the minute and I need my 80-degree weather back home.  Are we there yet?  Choo Choo!!!

October 29, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

Community Health Centers are recognized

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from the 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

I can’t blog anything else until I post the photograph of all the Community Health Centers that were recognized during the 10th Anniversary Reception for their exceptional services to the LGBT communities in their region.  I can’t wait for Puerto Rico to be represented one day.

Thanks for all the work you do to keep LGBT communities healthy!

October 29, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

Uniting Communities to Advance LGBT Health

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from the 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

Cool– I didn’t have to makeup a title for this blog!  The title of my first breakout session on the second day of conferences had the heading ready for me.  Ms. Veronica Bayetti Flores from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health began moderating the session by stating that many working in public health sometimes forget that there are intersections among the populations we tend to engage separately.  The reality that a Latina immigrant lesbian belongs to more than one community seems invisible to many.

As Mr. Ben De Guzman from the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) spoke of LGBT Asian American & Pacific Islander realities and collaboration, I allowed my mind to visualize a similar group in Puerto Rico focused on health.  Similarly, Mr. Jasper Hendricks from the National Black Justice Coalition shared his concerns regarding the LGBT Black community.  According to Mr. Hendricks, LGBT youth roughly made 8% of the U.S. population; of which it is estimated that 40% are homeless; and of which 60% are African American.

Panelists from the Uniting Communities to Advance LGBT Health

AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Why aren’t we talking about these populations at the national level and exploring culturally competent approaches to serve these communities?  The inter-sectionalities between class and racial privilege demand deeper conversations within the queer movement.

There were only 11 people present at this session, of which (based on my first humble impression), most of them were queer of color.  This session should be a PLENARY so that all that need to hear this information are present, and so that everyone that needs to be engaged is brought into the conversation.  The commonalities regarding the intersections and connections that Mr. Guzman spoke of are similar in Latino/a communities regarding immigration issues, desegregation of data by ethnicity, and the difficulty to reach populations that are not always visible (i.e. Latina immigrant lesbian).  Two of the Coalition’s Board members were present at the session.  I don’t doubt their commitment to this issue for the Coalition’s meeting next year.

I do not expect mainstream groups to work within communities of color.  Our communities have to push through to be heard and obtain equal participation during the decision-making process.  The tobacco control movement has done a pretty good job at engaging and uniting all groups of color, even got government and foundation funding to work on commonalities, targeting specific ethnic groups, and exploring those inter-sectionalities successfully.  The LGBT movement needs to learn some of these lessons and be more inclusive.  We need to explore concepts of race and ethnicity, the history of colonialism and civil rights, aspects of culture, geography, language, and different ways people relate to one another or build relationships that are key to live healthy lives.

October 28, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | 1 Comment

Data Collection & More Data Collection

On left, Amy Shipley, Legislative Aide for LGBT Issues and Health from the Office of Hon. Baldwin.

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

On September 15, 2010, the H.R. 6109-Health Data Collection Improvement Act was introduced to mandate gender identity and sexual orientation data collection.  Champed by U.S. House of Representative, Honorable Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, the legislation passed the subcommittee, but its chances on the legislative floor may not be as successful.  How does this reflect on Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress?  Federal law mandates over local Puerto Rican law but there is a deep gap when it comes to implementation.  This is now the case of the recently passed legislation (Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act) that mandates the investigation of hate crimes.  The reality in Puerto Rico is that neither the Puerto Rico Police Department nor the Department of Justice is enforcing the hate crime law locally.  Only a few local advocates and lawyers are pushing for investigation on over twelve murders and acts of violence against LGBT individuals in Puerto Rico in the last year.  Will the Puerto Rican Department of Health follow the same lines of other government agencies?

Mr. David Hansell, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children & Families, USHHS and most importantly, CHAMPION for LGBT rights at the federal level!!!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

A Librarian learning about base and coalition building to advance LGBT health in Puerto Rico

Mr. Baker on the left and a happy Librarian 🙂

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

From the beginning of the keynote address by Mr. Cornelius Baker of the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, I realized that the Annual Meeting & 10th Anniversary Celebration of the National Coalition for LGBT Health is providing me with valuable knowledge that will benefit the advancement of LGBT health work in Puerto Rico.   Learning the history of the National Coalition for LGBT Health helped me to envision meetings with the Secretary of Health in Puerto Rico to discuss LGBT health and inclusion, just like the Coalition did with the U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary in the earlier years of the group. Later, during the Panel Discussion: Working on Coalitions as Part of the LGBT Health Movement, it was expressed that the creation of a coalition is always a work in progress. It can start with a simple conference call to exchange ideas among those interested in LGBT health.  That particular session gave me basic ideas as I navigate the field to collectively gather LGBT and ally individuals in Puerto Rico to exchange ideas, realities and concerns to create one united voice on health issues for the LGBT community in the island.

The basic question for my current work is: why do we want to create an LGBT health work group in Puerto Rico?   Because a group of individuals will bring different voices, backgrounds, and perspectives giving strength to a movement.   Because it brings people from different sectors of society and surfaces commonalities at the table.   Because it can help connect other LGBT groups to bring health issues within their own mission, and for my own goal–to build local leadeship.

The Working on Coalitions Panel, which included our Gustavo Torrez (on right)

October 25, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

CDC’s National Tobacco Control Networks Support Puerto Rico LGBT Community Events & Inclusion

Sunday, June 6, 2010 was a bright sunny day and full of excitement in Puerto Rico. People from all walks of life participated in Gay Pride festivities in the capital city, San Juan. While paying respects to the families of the several transgender women murdered in the last months across the island, local LGBT groups, activists, a few government officials, and thousands from all genders and sexual orientations showed their pride and support for the LGBT community. In between vibrant shows, words of unity and calls for action, participants were thirsty for gay memorabilia, educational resources, and opportunities to support equality for all. Similar events took place in the gay-friendly setting of Boquerón on June 13 in the town of Cabo Rojo.

San Juan Pride participants complete our health-tobacco survey which is currently collecting data on the LGBT community in Puerto Rico

For these two consecutive Sundays and with much enthusiasm, a handful of volunteers led by members of the National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN) and the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network engaged over 500 people who showed interest in our “mini-gay-library” of publications on health, tobacco issues, legal rights, community surveys, a government petition, bags, pens, pins, candies, and other goodies and educational materials. Donated by Lambda Legal (www.lambdalegal.org), a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of LGBT civil rights, hundreds of “I am making the case for equality” bags were filled not only with Lambda’s materials on civil rights for HIV+ people, youth in the education system, and legal and financial planning for LGBT couples, but also with educational materials from the two Networks, the Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition, the Puerto Rico Department of Health Cessation Quitline !Déjalo ya! (Leave It Now!), the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the Social Justice Sexuality Initiative from the City University of New York (CUNY). Members of these two National Tobacco Control Networks were able to pull together resources from all these organizations in order to educate the community. Some provided supplies; others purchased the tables and chairs, or paid for volunteer lunches, while allies from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) provided staff and logistical support in preparation for the events. This collaboration was essential to provide Pride participants with health information and other educational opportunities, which seemed very limited during the festivities.

Through our participation in Pride events, we were able to collect an additional 292 NLTCN sponsored health-tobacco surveys among the LGBT community of Puerto Rico. This increases the total survey sample to 431 since distribution began in local LGBT events and activities in November 2009. We continue the search for additional venues to distribute the survey and increase the final sample. We are currently analyzing the sample with the support of our NLTCN Steering Committee Member, Dr. Elba Díaz-Toro, Associate Professor of the School of Dental Medicine, UPR.

In addition, a total of 420 signatures were collected for a Lambda sponsored petition asking the Puerto Rican Department of Justice and the local Police Department to create official links within their respective agencies with groups and individuals representing the LGBT community. Some local groups have claimed that in the last eight months seven murders of gay and transgender people have taken place around the Island, which motivated people to sign the petition. National and local groups will be taking the signatures directly to government officials and agencies. Networks’ members have been active on rallying support, sharing information, and connecting local groups and individuals with national resources in support of comprehensive approaches to address issues of health disparities, stigma, and discrimination towards the local LGBT community. Lessons learned will be shared later among other Latin@ and LGBT groups in the mainland.

Boquerón Pride participants approach our booth to fill out surveys, support a police petition, and collect educational material on tobacco control, equal rights, and other issues affecting our communities.

Just as important was the distribution of the Social Justice Sexuality Survey, a nationwide initiative that investigates the socio-political experiences of LGBT people of color, sponsored by the Sociology Department of the City University of New York (CUNY) in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, among other gay advocacy groups. During our participation at Pride events, National Network members collected a total of 115 completed surveys providing a richer set of data to create a profile of the LGBT community in Puerto Rico. The Initiative is interested in better understanding how identity enhances or inhibits the experiences of the LGBT population around accessing health, civic and social engagement, among other important issues. Folks can complete the survey online and read more about the Initiative at www.socialjusticesexuality.com

Furthermore, during the last Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition meeting in June 2010, hosted by the Puerto Rico Department of Health (DOH-PR), National Networks’ members had the opportunity to bring the LGBT perspective to the agenda. We distributed valuable educational materials from NLTCN and the LGBT Tobacco Control Network and discussed the inclusion of gender and sexual orientation questions in island-wide surveillance surveys. During the exchange of ideas, Quitline staff showed interest to incorporate these questions as part of the demographic data collected during calls, but showed concern regarding LGBT cultural competency and over saturation of demographic questions. The DOH-PR is also communicating with the CDC to include these questions in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for Puerto Rico in accordance to the LGBT Surveillance and Data Collection Briefing Paper (2008) from the LGBT Tobacco Control Network and as supported in the recently released report by the American Lung Association, Smoking Out a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community. Local tobacco Coalition members are ready to be inclusive of the LGBT community and address the need for additional research specific to the LGBT community.

Since 2009, both Networks have been overwhelmingly supportive of surveillance opportunities, outreach, and education, including the translation, edition, and adaptation of the survey instrument and by identifying (and sponsoring) national Latin@ LGBT tobacco control experts to introduce this issue at the last DOH-PR sponsored Tobacco-Obesity Summit. This was probably the first time an LGBT perspective, including preliminary local survey results, were presented to the tobacco control and public health communities of the Island.

An equally valuable opportunity took place in May 2009 at the LGBTT Health Forum: Experiences in Tobacco Control during the III Congress Against Homophobia, a week-long event sponsored by the local LGBT group, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico For All – www.prparatodos.org). The Forum was sponsored by NLTCN and the School of Dental Medicine-UPR and with support from the DOH-PR we collected more responses for the LGBT community health-tobacco survey and distributed Networks’ brochures and publications to a crowd of mostly medical students and several local Coalition members. The Forum provided a space to rally allies and educate the audience on realities of oppression and discrimination among the LGBT community and how it directly affects healthcare access and services.

Many local advocates have showed interest as we have been navigating and supporting these events in further discussing LGBT health among LGBT Puerto Ricans and their allies. Merging tobacco control efforts with other health and social justice issues (while sharing limited resources during funding cuts) will be a sensible approach to engage the LGBT community in Puerto Rico. Local advocates will seek support from the CDC National Networks and other national gay groups to move work forward in Puerto Rico.

We thank the sponsoring groups for providing unconditional support to achieving our vision and participate in these events. To all the people that have helped the work move forward, including Island volunteers (Jose Santini, Wilfredo Santana, Fernando Sosa, Thomas Bryan, Sophia Isabel Marrero, Michael Roldan, Rahul Correa, and Carmín Maldonado), NLTCN staff and members (Jeannette Noltenius, Aida McCammon, Yanira Arias, and JC Velazquez), LGBT Tobacco Control Network staff (Scout, Gustavo Torrez, and Sasha Kaufmann) and its fabulous print publications and online resources, Puerto Rico Department of Health-Tobacco Control and Prevention Division staff (Antonio Cases and Alex Cabrera), the members of the Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition, the medical students and staff at the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Science Campus, and all the local Puerto Rico LGBT groups and individuals that have been supportive and excited to pursue this work.

This report was supported by CDC Cooperative Agreement Number U58/DP001515. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC. It was developed, edited, and translated into Spanish by NLTCN and LGBT Tobacco Control Network Members Juan Carlos Vega, Lissette Rodríguez, and Jean A. Leroux Guillén.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 was a bright sunny day and full of excitement in Puerto Rico. People from

all walks of life participated in Gay Pride festivities in the capital city, San Juan. While paying

respects to the families of the several transgender women murdered in the last months across

the island, local LGBT groups, activists, a few government officials, and thousands from all

genders and sexual orientations showed their pride and support for the LGBT community. In

between vibrant shows, words of unity and calls for action, participants were thirsty for gay

memorabilia, educational resources, and opportunities to support equality for all. Similar events

took place in the gay‐friendly setting of Boquerón on June 13 in the town of Cabo Rojo.

For these two consecutive Sundays and with much

enthusiasm, a handful of volunteers led by members of

the National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN)

and the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network

engaged over 500 people who showed interest in our

“mini‐gay‐library” of publications on health, tobacco

issues, legal rights, community surveys, a government

petition, bags, pens, pins, candies, and other goodies and

educational materials. Donated by Lambda Legal

(http://www.lambdalegal.org), a national organization

committed to achieving full recognition of LGBT civil

rights, hundreds of “I am making the case for equality” bags were filled not only with Lambda’s

materials on civil rights for HIV+ people, youth in the education system, and legal and financial

planning for LGBT couples, but also with educational materials from the two Networks, the

Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition, the Puerto Rico Department of Health Cessation Quitline

!Déjalo ya! (Leave It Now!), the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the Social Justice Sexuality

Initiative from the City University of New York (CUNY). Members of these two National Tobacco

Control Networks were able to pull together resources from all these organizations in order to

educate the community. Some provided supplies; others

purchased the tables and chairs, or paid for volunteer

lunches, while allies from the University of Puerto Rico

(UPR) provided staff and logistical support in preparation

for the events. This collaboration was essential to

provide Pride participants with health information and

other educational opportunities, which seemed very

limited during the festivities.

Through our participation in Pride events, we were able

to collect an additional 292 NLTCN sponsored healthtobacco

surveys among the LGBT community of Puerto

Rico. This increases the total survey sample to 431 since

distribution began in local LGBT events and activities in

November 2009. We continue the search for additional

venues to distribute the survey and increase the final

sample. We are currently analyzing the sample with the

support of our NLTCN Steering Committee Member, Dr.

Elba Díaz‐Toro, Associate Professor of the School of

Dental Medicine, UPR.

In addition, a total of 420 signatures were collected for a Lambda sponsored petition asking the

Puerto Rican Department of Justice and the local Police Department to create official links within

their respective agencies with groups and individuals representing the LGBT community. Some

local groups have claimed that in the last eight months seven murders of gay and transgender

people have taken place around the Island, which motivated people to sign the petition. National

and local groups will be taking the signatures directly to government officials and agencies.

Networks’ members have been active on rallying support, sharing information, and connecting

local groups and individuals with national resources in support of comprehensive approaches to

address issues of health disparities, stigma, and discrimination towards the local LGBT

community. Lessons learned will be shared later among other Latin@ and LGBT groups in the

mainland.

Just as important was the distribution of the Social Justice Sexuality Survey, a nationwide

initiative that investigates the socio‐political experiences of LGBT people of color, sponsored by

the Sociology Department of the City University of New York (CUNY) in partnership with the

Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, among other gay advocacy groups.

During our participation at Pride events, National Network members collected a total of 115

completed surveys providing a richer set of data to create a profile of the LGBT community in

Puerto Rico. The Initiative is interested in better understanding how identity enhances or

inhibits the experiences of the LGBT population around accessing health, civic and social

engagement, among other important issues. Folks can complete the survey online and read more

about the Initiative at http://www.socialjusticesexuality.com

Furthermore, during the last Puerto Rico Tobacco Free Coalition meeting in June 2010, hosted by

the Puerto Rico Department of Health (DOH‐PR), National Networks’ members had the

opportunity to bring the LGBT perspective to the agenda. We distributed valuable educational

materials from NLTCN and the LGBT Tobacco Control Network and discussed the inclusion of

gender and sexual orientation questions in island‐wide surveillance surveys. During the

exchange of ideas, Quitline staff showed interest to incorporate these questions as part of the

demographic data collected during calls, but showed concern regarding LGBT cultural

competency and over saturation of demographic questions. The DOH‐PR is also communicating

with the CDC to include these questions in

the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance

System (BRFSS) for Puerto Rico in

accordance to the LGBT Surveillance and Data

Collection Briefing Paper (2008) from the

LGBT Tobacco Control Network and as

supported in the recently released report by

the American Lung Association, Smoking Out

a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT

Community. Local tobacco Coalition

members are ready to be inclusive of the

LGBT community and address the need for

additional research specific to the LGBT

community.

Since 2009, both Networks have been overwhelmingly supportive of surveillance opportunities,

outreach, and education, including the translation, edition, and adaptation of the survey

instrument and by identifying (and sponsoring) national Latin@ LGBT tobacco control experts to

introduce this issue at the last DOH‐PR sponsored Tobacco‐Obesity Summit. This was probably

the first time an LGBT perspective, including preliminary local survey results, were presented to

the tobacco control and public health communities of the Island.

An equally valuable opportunity took place in May 2009 at the LGBTT Health Forum: Experiences

in Tobacco Control during the III Congress Against Homophobia, a week‐long event sponsored by

the local LGBT group, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico For All ‐ http://www.prparatodos.org). The

Forum was sponsored by NLTCN and the School of Dental Medicine‐UPR and with support from

the DOH‐PR we collected more responses for the LGBT community health‐tobacco survey and

distributed Networks’ brochures and publications to a crowd of mostly medical students and

several local Coalition members. The Forum provided a space to rally allies and educate the

audience on realities of oppression and discrimination among the LGBT community and how it

directly affects healthcare access and services.

Many local advocates have showed interest as we have been navigating and supporting these

events in further discussing LGBT health among LGBT Puerto Ricans and their allies. Merging

tobacco control efforts with other health and social justice issues (while sharing limited

resources during funding cuts) will be a sensible approach to engage the LGBT community in

Puerto Rico. Local advocates will seek support from the CDC National Networks and other

national gay groups to move work forward in Puerto Rico.

We thank the sponsoring groups for providing unconditional support to achieving our vision and

participate in these events. To all the people that have helped the work move forward, including

Island volunteers (Jose Santini, Wilfredo Santana, Fernando Sosa, Thomas Bryan, Sophia Isabel

Marrero, Michael Roldan, Rahul Correa, and Carmín Maldonado), NLTCN staff and members

(Jeannette Noltenius, Aida McCammon, Yanira Arias, and JC Velazquez), LGBT Tobacco Control

Network staff (Scout, Gustavo Torrez, and Sasha Kaufmann) and its fabulous print publications

and online resources, Puerto Rico Department of Health‐Tobacco Control and Prevention

Division staff (Antonio Cases and Alex Cabrera), the members of the Puerto Rico Tobacco Free

Coalition, the medical students and staff at the University of Puerto Rico‐Medical Science

Campus, and all the local Puerto Rico LGBT groups and individuals that have been supportive

and excited to pursue this work.

This report was supported by CDC Cooperative Agreement Number U58/DP001515. Its contents are solely the

responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC. It was developed, edited, and

translated into Spanish by NLTCN and LGBT Tobacco Control Network Members:

Juan Carlos Vega, MLS

Activist Librarian &

Information Consultant

Lissette Rodríguez, MA, BSEd

Health Educator

Jean

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Puerto Rico | , , | Leave a comment

People are commenting….

Exciting!!!!  Folks are commenting on the Health Equity Plan at the Network’s booth.  At times, we have had all three computers with people adding their voice on this important national plan that has left behind our community.   People are offended when they hear that in this 200-page, LGBT is only mentioned twice, and one of them as a footnote.  It moves them to take action.  Not sure how many entries we have had, but with so many comments, I expect this Action Plan to include our community.  Let’s see what happens!!!!

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Creating Change 2010 | Leave a comment

FINALLY, a sunny day in Dallas, Texas…. beach anyone???

Friday, February 5th brought shine and opportunities with new conference sessions, working at the Network’s exhibit booth, meeting new people, and sharing my experiences as a gay Latino man.  I went to several sessions but I must tell of my time while at Story Telling for Social Change.  A small room in the 37th floor at the Sheraton gathered about 25 people who shared their experiences as LGBT folks and allies with those in the room.  Without a doubt, my favorite session so far. We always talk about bringing the issues to a personal level, to bring personal stories and make it relatable to an issue.  But, how do we do that?  How do we capture that story and relate it to the realities we face?  How do we offer a space for people to tell their stories without our personal biases and experiences?

The speaker focused on simple questions like “what happened to you?” and “anything else you want to share?”  She stressed on the importance of listening and the ability to relate someone else’s story as key elements for social change.  I felt tears in my eyes as a woman at the session shared with me her personal story as a Latina woman, and how she felt that she may not fit in with Latinos/as because of the way she look, like a Caucasian woman.  At the end, and after listening to her story, I told her that she was a Latina woman simply because she felt like one.  It did not matter what she looked like and how others perceived her but that in her heart and her ethnic background were enough reason for her to be proud of her Latina heritage.  She smiled back at me and I left with the satisfaction of focusing on her versus thinking of judgments or ways she was suppose to fit it.

Paz=Peace!

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Creating Change 2010 | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: