The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

LGBT Population Research Center Mtg on Intersectionality – part 3

Emilia Dunham
Program Associate of Network for LGBT Health Equity
Reporting from Intersectionality Working Group meeting of LGBT Population Research Center
The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA

Panel 3: Future Research and Policy

It was really exciting to sit in on the afternoon session of the Intersectionality Working Group meeting of the LGBT Population Research Center. There was a fantastic conversation on intersectionality among several researchers discussing bisexuality in public health research, LGBT communities of color and domestic violence, and transgender inclusion in data collection.

Dr. Wendy Bostwick

First, Dr. Wendy Bostwick (of Northern Illinois University) spoke about her expertise in bisexual research. Particularly she addressed the need to look at the bisexual community as different than gay/lesbian. Some of the specifics she raised in her conversation were:

“What does bisexual stigma mean for public health?”

“Considering comparison of lesbian and bisexual women with gay and bisexual women, how does that affect health outcomes?”

The answer to the latter question may be less availability of social support for bisexual people than for gay/lesbian folks. There may be a common assumption that bisexual people are much more privileged than gay/lesbians in social and healthcare settings. Contrary to that assumption, health outcomes of bisexual people are actually worse in many areas, so perhaps there are psychological barriers that affect bisexual health disparities unknown to us at this time.

Dr. Shawn McGuffey

Second, Shawn McGuffey (Boston College) shared the intersectionality of race, sexuality, class and domestic violence (DV). From media to academia, there is a public narrative about how you do “gayness” but there is no sexual script for bisexuals. Even when those sexual scripts are narrow, at least there is some sort of roadmap for gays/lesbians. Furthermore the script for LGBT People of Color (POC) is even weaker and our knowledge of DV in these communities suffers.

From studies we know domestic violence is the same for gay/lesbian couples as heterosexual women. Given that, how do we account for this and how do we consider the phenomenon of race and class. There is much more mutual violence in gay/lesbian relationships then the general population, so how do we provide services if we can’t understand it?

With sexual assault, conservative rates reveal 14-18% prevalence of rape experience among LGBT people. Therefore the intersectional benefits are so important as they consider switching from “why” versus “how”. Prevalence of interpersonal violence has good data but we don’t know how it happens, under what conditions, how to prevent it and how to better serve. We need to move from a gender to a power model, and we need to understand intersectionality of race, class since LGBT POC have more interracial relationships than any other group.

One of the most important practical considerations to take home is:

Which policies help all LGBT communities and which do not?

Dr. Scout

Finally our own Scout talked about some of the policy issues impacting intersectionality research right now. First he strongly encouraged the researchers at the table to add gender identity to their studies and surveys because by excluding it we tell national surveys and other researchers not to include gender identity in their surveys. Scout talked Jessy Xavier’s Gender Variance Model as one way to consider how sexual orientation and gender identity overlap in the field, and how what we label as homophobia might actually be gender discrimination.

Scout emphasized that for LGBT health and intersectionality overall, we’re at a time of real opportunity. It’s really a time where we as researchers should loose ourselves from the constraints of “what we were allowed” and think “what is just”? Then, we need to speak out when we see discrimination against us as researchers, because now is a time when people are trying to change that history. For instance, Health and Human Services (HHS) officials are asking us, “where at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is there a problem accepting LGBT research”?  One researcher in the room brought up an issue with NIH review forms, which don’t allow an option to say the study focuses on transgender people, only male or female. That’s a good example of what we can give feedback to HHS about. Scout also talked about the importance of mentoring researchers, and for intersectionality research, we might need to find ways to mentor before the graduate school level, because too many promising students have their prospects cut short before graduate school. For example, he noted he’s one of only two or three transgender PhD level health researchers in the country. And of course, Scout talked about the lack of data and prospects for changing it. Scout noted the most likely source of LGBT of color data, according to the researchers assembled for the LGBT of Color Sampling Methodology report, is consolidating data across several state’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. So, one local advocacy opportunity is to work with your state to ensure LGBT measures are added to your BRFSS.

As you know the Network has been advocating for these inclusions through some of our Action Alerts. Another way the Network has done this is by advocating CDC to include health disparities (specifically LGBT) in new RFAs. Also be sure to check out some of our other policy papers on data inclusion, such as the one prioritizing datasets to add LGBT onto, and the overview briefing paper about methods. If you want to get alerted about LGBT health advocacy opportunities directly email lgbthealthequity@gmail.com and put “Advocacy” in the subject line.

Conclusion

The last hour or so of the day was spent brainstorming followup and possible joint projects by the participants. We’ll let those unfold when they do. The closing comments again showed just how much the participants really appreciated this opportunity to get together and share. Many people were effusive about how valuable the meeting was, if anything the biggest refrain was “more time!”

Congratulations to Judy Bradford and Aimee VanWagenen at the The Fenway Institute’s LGBT Population Center for convening this fabulous meeting, to Ilan Meyers and all the others who helped organize it, and to Phoenix Matthews for standing up and saying we needed it. Job well done all!

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March 25, 2011 Posted by | Presentations | 2 Comments

Recommendations of LGBT resources for CDC’s health equity users’ guide

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

 

Two weeks ago, the Network was asked to offer some recommendations of LGBT resources for CDC’s health equity users’ guides. This was an exciting opportunity which we were glad to take on! We were asked to provide a list of websites, Some Culturally-Tailored, Evidence-Based Cessation Programs, and Some Promising Practices to Promote Cessation Among Certain Populations. We came up with quite a few key resources and thought you all might be interested to see what we sent but also for future reference.

Websites

  1. The Network for LGBT Health Equity website
  2. The Network for LGBT Health Equity blog
  3. The Last Drag, San Francisco: Free Quit Smoking Classes for LGBTI & HIV+ Smokers
  4. Out to Quit: The DC Center Tobacco Working Group
  5. California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership
  6. Center for Population Research in LGBT Health Data Archive:
  7. Rainbow Health Initiative
  8. Gay and Lesbian Medical Association: Tobacco Use and Interventions for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Individuals
  9. NYAC Tobacco Project
  10. Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine: LGBT page
  11. LGBT of Color Sampling Methodology
  12. THE SAFEGUARDS PROJECT: Tobacco Control page
  13. The Mautner Project
  14. Gaydata.org

Some Culturally-Tailored, Evidence-Based Cessation Programs

  1. The Last Drag, San Francisco: Free Quit Smoking Classes for LGBTI & HIV+ Smokers
  2. Affirmations Community Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender People and their Allies (Ferndale, MI)
  3. Bitch to Quit (Howard Brown Health Center)
  4. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (NYC)
  5. Pacific Pride Foundation: Kick Butt Tobacco Cessation Program
  6. LGBTQI Stop Tobacco On My People
  7. West Virginia Covenant House
  8. Indiana Youth Group

 

Some Promising Practices to Promote Cessation Among Certain Populations

How to Run a Culturally Competent LGBT Smoking Treatment Group
Authors: Howard Brown Health Center, The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Provides recommendations and cultural competency suggestions based on a three year multi-site study that pilot-tested various recruitment methods and developed a model evaluation.

Promising Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs: Identifying and Eliminating LGBT Disparities
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This document highlights the measures states and localities should take when addressing tobacco control and wellness in LGBTQ populations.

“Heightening Tobacco Prevention in Consideration of Sexual Minority and Gender Variant Youth”
Compiled by Susan Hollinshead
This document explores the best practices when working with sexual minority and gender variant youth around tobacco cessation.

American Legacy Foundation Final Report
Final report on an LGBT forum with detailed recommendations for working with LGBT communities including a call for immediate scientific research and incorporation of LGBT communities into mainstream anti-tobacco work.

“LGBTQ Communities: Motivation to Quit Smoking” booklet
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders of Color Sampling Methodology: Strategies for Collecting Data in Small, Hidden, or Hard-to-Reach Groups to Reduce Tobacco-Related Health Disparities
Authors: ETR Associates, Network for LGBT Health Equity

Coming Out about Smoking: Tobacco Use in the LGBTQ Young Adult Community
Author: National Youth Advocacy Coalition
This report on LGBTQ youth tobacco attitudes presents prevalance rate and recommendations.

Creating an Effective Tobacco Plan for Minnesota’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities
Author: Rainbow Health Initiative
A community based report which addresses the prevalence of tobacco use, issues surrounding cessation, and attitudes toward smoke-free initiatives in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

Tool Kit for LGBTQ Organizations
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This tool kit dispel myths about tobacco control and serves as a guide on where to look for funding opportunities, with examples of model programs and suggestions on how to prepare a competitive proposal.

Tool Kit for State Funders
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This tool kit is designed to orient state funders on LGBT communities and provides links to LGBT organizations in your state as well as best case scenarios for engaging competitive LGBT applicants for tobacco control funding.

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Action Alert: Letter to CDC to Include LGBTs in Data Collection!

by Emilia Dunham

Network Program Associate

You may recall our report from Creating Change when we mentioned a letter to CDC we were circulating to urge CDC to include LGBT questions on their surveys. At Creating Change we asked folks to sign on to the letter in person and received over 250 signatures! However, before we send the letter, we’d like to offer the opportunity to anyone who wasn’t in Minneapolis that week.

EDIT: A recent blog entry by Scout shows that the Institute of Medicine’s new report urges the need for LGBT data collection.

Dear CDC:

You just released a report on health disparities – what does it say about LGBT health? No data.

At the same time you released $45M for state data collection. How much went to collecting LGBT data? $0

Please fix this problem. We applaud you for calling for data collection in your disparity report. Now we ask you to follow through and do it. Please make LGBT data collection a routine part of all your health surveys. Our health depends on it.

Sincerely,

You

If you haven’t already done so, please take just a minute to sign on in support of LGBT inclusion. Click here to sign.

Please respond by April 1st, 2011.

***NEW DEADLINE: TUESDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2011*** Signatures will be accepted through April 1st, but may not be time to include in official letter.

Thank you!

The Network

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, Creating Change, Creating Change 2011 | 3 Comments

Steering Committee Convening Report Out

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

As you know from last week’s post the Network for LGBT Health Equity met for our first in-person convening of 2011. As our third meeting, this was our most important meeting yet as we convened to make important decisions discussing our current structure and determining our future course.

Nine Steering Committee members and our three staff met on February 28th and March 1st to discuss the Network’s strategic plan. We got the ball rolling on examining our mission, values and vision, and further conversation will clarify those to report them out  to you. Major goals were set for the Network which will affect our work for the upcoming years. These goals will influence how we operate, what our activities will be and how our programs develop in areas of tobacco and expansion. During this meeting we also discussed our communication strategy and how that can evolve in a meaningful way. We also reviewed Steering Committee applications and new logo ideas. Three Steering Committee candidates were chosen, and once we have acceptances, we will announce those new placements.

Overall, the meeting was very successful. With only two days, the Steering Committee provided productive advice on how we will move forward after reflective debriefing of recent developments. In addition, we’ve set in motion means in which to efficiently follow through on each of these pieces. As we work on these pieces in the future, we’ll be informing you all of those updates and soliciting comments on key components.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of this trip was the location in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the warm weather and beautiful beaches of course. However more importantly, we were able to connect with local advocates who were putting on the 1st ever LGBT Health Summit in PR. It was truly inspirational and moving to meet the dedicated and passionate advocates.

Stay tuned as we announce detailed updates on these pieces!

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Steering Committee, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

PR LGBT Tobacco Survey

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting on the 1st ever LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico

 

I had the joy of attending the history-making LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico. There were some fascinating reports and presentations with useful resources and information with fabulous panelists, presenters and participants. There was a huge emphasis on tobacco in the community throughout the conference and one of the workshops below directly addresses tobacco.

Dr. Elba (second from left)

Dr. Elba Días Toro presented on cancer research and tobacco use on her survey of 1,500 participants in PR.  This survey received advice of the Network in its development. Dr. Toro and her team looked for instruments that were used in the United States for the LGBT community to improve survey. The survey was also available at this Summit for participants to take.

So far the results are showing that 40% LGBT smoke regularly which is significant because only 16% of U.S. population smokes. Interestingly, LGBT Puerto Rican smokers are more interested in quitting than general population of smokers. However, it seems there are unique obstacles to quitting that participants expressed such as fear of quitting, use of tobacco for stress and lack of resources. Menthol use is a widely used among LGBT people in PR too which seems to disproportionately affect communities of color.

It was also found that participants wanted their doctors to be more culturally competent and understand needs. Many participants didn’t care whether the tobacco industry targeted their communities, but they did think there should be more smoke-free spaces and quitlines. Some of the priorities of the LGBT community were factors related to tobacco such as Asthma, insomnia and anxiety.

This survey is so vital as it shows the specific needs of the PR LGBT community which is already showing their unique but similar situations and needs.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

Steering Committee Planning in Puerto Rico

 

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

 

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is meeting for our first in-person convening of 2011. As our third meeting, this will be our largest meeting yet as we convene to make important decisions discussing our current structure and determining our future course.

9 of our 10 active Steering Committee members and staff are charged with clarifying our vision and goals. We are continuing to define our program goals for both tobacco and expansion to direct our future work.

While here we will we also consider applicants to fill our three open Steering Committee positions as well as considering new branding. We have some logos to consider which we will share shortly for you all to consider the best options.

Following our Steering Committee, we will participating in the First LGBT Health Summit which we co-sponsored with the coordinators (local advocates and the National Latino Tobacco Control Network.) Later there will be a conference on tobacco which Scout and Franciso will present on LGBT tobacco trainings.  Also impressive this past weekend, Scout and Francisco were involved with a training of 700 local healthcare providers on LGBT cultural competency.

Picture of Steering Committee & Staff from 1st Convening

February 28, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Steering Committee | 2 Comments

What stands out at Creating Change 2011? More Health.

 

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, reporting on Creating Change 2011

We all know at this point that it’s important to continue the energy and discussions from conferences to really create progress on important LGBT issues. For that reason, I wanted to point out a theme that supports the great work of the Network. In CC 2011, there was greater of emphasis on health at Creating Change this year than in other years. As evidenced by the many health workshops (for instance) reported by former Program Associate Sasha Kaufmann discussing legislation to protect PLWHIV and Megan Lee reporting on a fantastic program called Project H-E-A-L-T-H to our CC Action Alert on national LGBT data collection to the mention of LGBT benefit from healthcare reform in the State of the Movement address.

Significant Health Theme

You may recall from memory/comparison of the last two conferences, or you can check out our blog entries from past Creating Changes, that 2011 Creating Change had a much larger focus on LGBTQ health than CC 2010. Staff and guest bloggers highlight this theme in their blogs. For instance guest blogging scholar Dean Andersen’s  posts discuss needs for individual and national LGBT health promotion.

Given that our Network’s focus is on health and tobacco, we were very pleased that health was a main focus of CC 2011. That fact could not be any more apparent than from the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce’s  Executive Director, Rea Carey’s “State of the Movement” speech when she said:

“Healthcare reform will change the lives of more LGBT people than any single piece of legislation we’ve been working on all year.”

How health, policy and research intersect and why that matters

Not only does Rea’s quote emphasize that the most meaningful advancement for LGBT people has been health legislation (which may be surprising and enlightening for many folks to hear), but it speaks to how issues of public policy, LGBT advocacy and health intertwine. The fact that these issues are so connected is common sense in achieving our needs, but also shows the Network is really on the forefront for tackling LGBT inequality as we focus on LGBT data collection/inclusion and health through a social justice lens. For more on what’s being done on the national level around these issues Scout’s blog entry on the workshop provides a wonderful synthesized list from Obama’s appointees speaking directly to these issues. Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

To echo the theme of healthcare, at this plenary session, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force/National Center for Transgender Equality report Injustice at Every Turn was distributed to all. As you may know, that was the largest national trans study which I discussed in a previous post which discussed health components at greater length due to our support (i.e. tobacco and alcohol use).

What About Tobacco?

Unfortunately, the issue of LGBT tobacco control was quiet this year apart from our own advocacy. As mentioned, in NCTE’s Mara Keisling’s presention of their joint survey, the Network was praised for our support in including tobacco within the questionnaire. In addition, I am chairing a committee with the National Youth Advocacy Coalition called Youth Kicks, which I discussed in my first CC post as a committee to address LGBT tobacco harm reduction through national media campaign.

Despite quietness on tobacco, it’s important to see how LGBT health overlaps with issues such as tobacco, for instance in terms of data. There was workshop after workshop after workshop about the need to include LGBT people in national data collection at several levels. The reason for this? We all know LGBT people experience disparities, but it’s harder to prove without numbers which is why our activity at Creating Change was to call on the CDC to include LGBT people in national surveys since we are often tabled on general health disparity conversations and have harder case in proving needs for funding without numbers.

Fortunately, it’s becoming much easier to discuss LGBT tobacco issues than ever before with the interconnectedness of policy, health, research and advocacy, so this conference revealed how the time is right to do some great work on these issues.



February 14, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Health Advocacy Webinar Summary and Information

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

On January 31st, 2011, The Network held a BrownBag Webinar with Trevor Project’s Dave Reynolds, Hunter College’s Barbara Warren and CenterLink’s Terry Stone. This webinar discusses what Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is doing to enhance their states suicide prevention programs to be LGB and T inclusive, but your help is needed to support that work.  SAMHSA distributes the largest block of suicide prevention funds in the country and requires State Departments of Healths to apply for these funds. The change is that now SAMHSA adopted the new strategies and significantly enhanced the LGBT language in the scored section for several suicide prevention RFAs,  so states will need you to know what to say to get these awards!

 

The webinar went over the following items (links at end have more info):

  • Overview of this Advocacy Opportunity – Dr. Scout, Network for LGBT Health Equity
  • Linking with the Right State/Tribal Rep – Dr. Scout
  • LGBT Youth Suicide Prevention Strategies – Dr. Barbara Warren, Hunter College Ctr or LGBT Soc. Sci. & Public Policy & Dave Reynolds, Trevor Project
  • Real World Examples–Dave Reynolds
  • Comments from CenterLink & Equality Federation staff

Request for Funding (RFA) Overview:

  • Title: SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) RFA Cooperative Agreements for State-Sponsored Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention (Short Title: State and Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention)
  • Purpose: suicide prevention
  • Nickname: Garret Lee Smith awards
  • Due Feb. 16th, 2011
  • 32 states/tribes can apply to get awards for up to $480k/yr (no cost sharing between orgs required)
  • Length: up to 3 years
  • States/tribes can designate contractors to do the work for them.
  • LGBT inclusion plans are requested in two categories that total 55% of all the points you can earn on the proposal.
  • See full RFA at grants.gov, look up RFA # SM-11-001

Steps:

  • Find the SAMHSA rep for your state/tribe: see all reps in this listing.
  • Call them, see if they’re preparing a Garrett Lee Smith proposal.
  • If no, tough luck.
  • If yes, find out who’s in charge of preparing it. Contact them.

Tips

  • Be armed with some LGBT suicide facts to help make your case compelling
  • Present yourself as offering help to the preparer, you are their LGBT inclusion solution, right? So be bold and confident!
  • Don’t necessarily do this work for free. You are providing a service and should be compensated.

Resources from the call (Click links):

Slideshow of the webinar with pertinent information.

Health Advocacy Webinar Recording.

Contact information from those on calls (excludes phone numbers)

 

February 8, 2011 Posted by | social media, Uncategorized, webinar | , , | Leave a comment

Announcing! Nominations Open for Steering Committee Positions for Adults and Youth/Young Adults

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is now accepting nominations to fill three positions on its 13 member Steering Committee. Please note that one of the three positions is designated as a youth/young adult position, and applicants must be between 18-24 years old.

The purpose of the committee is to provide multidisciplinary input and guidance on activities for the Network. Members will participate by sharing information regarding tobacco and other LGBT health disparity opportunities, providing input on National Network efforts, and considering strategic policy enhancements that further LGBT health disparity work at their organizations.

Responsibilities:

  • Attend regularly scheduled phone meetings (generally once or twice a month)
  • Attend one in-person meetings per year (paid for by the Network)
  • Review and give feedback on policy, direction, and strategic planning of Network Activities
  • Strategize effective ways to increase Network visibility, organizational outreach, and membership
  • Identify and increase the engagement of subgroups within the LGBT community (i.e., youth, rural, elder, etc)
  • Support and enhance the goals and objectives of the Network in a changing environment
  • Engage agency/coalition groups on pertinent issues/opportunities and report back to the Committee

If you are interested in nominating an individual or yourself for the committee the following is required (please send CV/Resume and Statement of Interest to lgbthealthequity@gmail.com):

  • Current copy of the individual’s CV or Resume
  • Statement of Interest from the nominee (maximum of 250 words and must be completed by the nominee)
  • Complete an online application questionnaire (must be completed by the nominee)

The Youth/Young Adult Nomination process is slightly varied.

If you are interested in nominating a youth/young adult member or you are a youth/young adult and you would like to apply to be on the committee, click here to download the Youth/Young Adult Steering Committee Application to email back or click here to fill out the youth form online. Youth/young adults can still be nominated or apply through the general nominations process (candidacy will be not affected by either application) and would follow the general guidelines by submitting the following:

  • Current copy of the individual’s CV or Resume
  • Statement of Interest from the nominee (maximum of 250 words)
  • Complete an online application questionnaire (must be completed by the nominee)

All Nominations must be submitted on or before 2/16/2011 by 3PM EST

To: lgbthealthequity@gmail.com

Subject: Steering Committee Nomination

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 working days of your email nomination. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 2 working days, please resend and call 617.927.6452 to ensure delivery. If you are submitting a nomination on the due date and have not received a confirmation by 4PM EST please call 617.927.6452 before 5PM EST to resend or confirm delivery. Nominations received after 2/16/2011 at 3PM EST will not be accepted.

We look forward to reviewing your applications. Please feel free to forward and/or contact us with any questions.

Thank you,

Network Steering Committee and Staff


February 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Queer Planet: Creating Change Closing Thoughts

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

 

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, reporting on Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

So I am back from Creating Change and my head is definitely spinning [not just from turbulent flights and lost luggage] from the amazing conversations and ideas that have completely taken over my thoughts in the past week. I’ve been thinking non-stop about my own privilege, intersecting identities (race, country of origin, etc), how to build community/collaborations and other issues LGBTQ people need to start addressing like socio-economic status, welfare and the prison system.

Some of my major observations is that the conference seemed like the most diverse I have ever experienced. I have attended many LGBT events in the past where there has been some type of huge demographic imbalance like gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, education, religion, income and gender identity imbalance. While I think there were some disproportionate representations still, I felt the conference did a lot more to welcome folks of many different identities. The best part was that folks from differing communities had the space to challenge the mainstream conversations that tend to exclude

As a result of the diversity and openness of the space, I felt more comfortable being myself there than at most LGBTQ events I have attended in the past. For instance there were many other trans women and trans men, many youth and young adults and other folks who don’t typically fit in. Unlike other conferences I have attended in the past, trans people were not ignored, stared at, misrepresented or tokenized. This time I felt we were respected as a major part of the conversation. The best part was that you could pretty much go up to anyone and start a great conversation.

A friend of mine referred to it as “Queer Planet” as there were literally thousands of queers who took up the entire 25 stories of the hotel. Even adjacent stores and entertainment spaces were filled with us. It really makes me wonder that if instead of 5 days where we could be free with our conversations and personalities, the whole planet was this embracing and welcoming.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011 | Leave a comment

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