The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Tips for how to get health promotion messages into LGBT blogs

By Scout
Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
Reporting from Netroots Nation LGBT Pre-Conference, Minneapolis, MN

It's a packed room of bloggers and LGBT orgs at the Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf

We all have to build new skills

Remember just last year when many state dept of health folk were blocked from Facebook, Twitter and other social media? Well, perhaps because the feds have set a standard of using social media for their routine promotion work, we all now realize that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… all these are tools we will need to understand and use in order to ace health promotion work in this new era.

Well, despite the fact that you are reading this on a blog, don’t think we’re not as overwhelmed with all these new media as everyone else. We’re trying our hardest to learn how to use these new tools effectively. But boy it’s a lot.

Many of you know, lots of our LGBT print media has already gone out of business, some have switched to an all online format, some have just folded. This struggle is one of the reasons why the print media is really susceptible when folks like RJR Reynolds start pumping SNUS ads. Like happened in Minnesota, it’s often a real challenge to get the magazine or newspaper to refuse these ads in todays world. Face it, this is one of the main reasons why we have to struggle to raise awareness that we have health disparities like our crazy high smoking rate. It’s long past time for us to take some tips from major corporations and start being more savvy about how to get healthy messages integrated into LGBT media. But how do we do it with a fraction of their funding?

So, you know we’re at this Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf today… I’m listening avidly to all the many LGBT bloggers in the room. Let me share a bit of what I’ve learned about smart strategies for getting those healthy messages into LGBT online media.

First, what are the bigger LGBT blogs?

It’s a little hard to figure out exact readership, and some focus more on social versus serious messaging, but at least each of these LGBT blogs should be on our radar screens.

Tips for getting coverage in LGBT blogs

  1. Buy ads in them! Yes, the blogs are absolutely independent, but this is one way to start building a relationship which helps get your news noticed.
  2. Offer to write for a blog. One of the big ones, is actively seeking new contributors now, go on, sign up, one way to get health covered is to write the posts ourselves.
  3. Repost their stories on Twitter/FB, comment on the stories online, just start engaging with them.
  4. Make a short list of the editors of each of those blogs and send them press releases whenever you think somethink is news. Don’t worry if it’s not national, local is ok too. Pics help too.
  5. Give bloggers scoops or first rights to breaking news, this is one fast way to build a relationship.
  6. Write op-eds about health issues and submit them to blogs (customize them for each submission). See some of the op-eds we put up on the IOM report to see a sample of style.
  7. Did I mention buy ads on them? This seems to be a seriously underutilized strategy. Yet some of the blogs above get 40k views/day… that’s a lot of eyeballs we’d like to have reading our health messages, right?

Many of these strategies will work just as well for your local LGBT media as well. And many of them can be real smart strategies for health departments or hospitals to use as a way to demonstrate that your services are LGBT-friendly.

OK, now off I go to try to put some of these strategies into action!

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, APHA, Blogs en español, Break Free Alliance, CPPW, Creating Change, Creating Change 2010, Creating Change 2011, Minnesota, National Coalition for LGBT Health, NatNet, Presentations, Puerto Rico, Resources, Scholarship Opportunity, social media, Steering Committee, Tobacco Policy, two_spirit_wellness, Uncategorized, USSF, USSF_mlp, webinar | , , , | 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.



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

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

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


Megan Lee
Blogger Scholar, reporting from Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

As a “blogger scholar” at this conference, I have been charged with blogging about the sessions I’ve attended in order to share information with those not at the conference or those not in the particular sessions I’ve attended. But my time in Minneapolis hasn’t been all learning and note-taking. Far from it. And in that spirit, as the 2011 Creating Change Conference begins to wind down, I’d like to give a few shout-outs to some other rockin’ things I’ve gotten to expeirence in this great city.

Hell’s Kitchen. Delicious steak and eggs, homemade peanut butter, and decor to envy. Also a wonderful venue for Soul Friday and Drrty Queers providing a space for queer women of color and their allies and excellent dance space.

Soul Friday. A dance party by and for women of color and their allies. The fact that there isn’t any space to stretch your arms is a testament to how awesome this dance party is.

Dirty Queers. Dirty, kinky, queer, sexuality and art show featuring all your favorite sex toys from whips to baked goods. Genderific performances followed by a ridiculous dance party. Hott.

During a break between sessions, sitting at the Cyber Cafe, I struck up conversation with Mary and Margaret, two ab-fab dykes over 60 who are doing major work to collect the oral histories of older lesbians. Their project is called The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project and it involves gathering life stories, archiving them at Smith College, and re-presenting women’s stories back to them in a book. Margaret’s even written a book about it.

My conversation reminded me of something I too often forget: we have to talk to our elders. In the queer community, there are myriad reasons causing disconnect between generations, but we have to work to rebuild this bridge lest we lose our rich history. When our stories aren’t written down, aren’t spoken, aren’t shared, aren’t celebrated, they are lost. Talking to Mary and Margaret reminded me that sometimes the best learning doesn’t come from anything more than a quick chat over coffee. I hope we keep in touch.

And now, it’s time for God-des and She. Look for one more post from me and then it’s back to CoMo!

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change 2011 | Leave a comment

CC11 Action Alert: Help Increase Services for HIV-positive older adults

Sasha Kaufmann, Blogging Scholar with the Network for LGBT Health Equity

by Sasha Kaufmann

Guest Blogger, reporting on Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

Did you know that by 2013, half of the people living with HIV in the United States will be over 50? Between social isolation, stigma, and the normal effects of growing older on the body, without the right support aging for LGBT and/or HIV-positive individuals can be a harrowing experience.

I learned today that there is an opportunity to change that! The reauthorization of the older americans act is supposed to occur this year. The law funds community planning and social services for over 30,000 service providers nationally. Programs such as buddy systems, meal programs, and home care are included. Listing HIV-positive and LGBT older adults as vulnerable populations will increase funding and attention to the crucial services needed to give seniors in our communities a better life. There is also an opportunity to modify the definition of family caregiver in this reauthorization as well, allowing for the proper compensation and recognition for taking care of partners and loved ones.

Want to put in your two cents? Then submit a comment to the Administration on Aging and urge them to include LGBT and HIV-positive older adults as vulnerable populations!

Solidarity and Snuggles,


February 6, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, Creating Change 2011 | 1 Comment

Queering Reproductive Justice

  Megan Lee
  Blogger Scholar, reporting on Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

  Queering Reproductive Justice: The Intersection of Reproductive Health and LGBTQ Liberation
  Veronica Bayetti Flores, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

Reproductive justice is the profound idea that everyone, regardless of race, age, ability, national origin, socio-economic status, spirituality, sexuality, language, gender identity and/or expression, has equal rights and access to reproductive health services in order to make informed decisions about their health, if/when/how they decide to have a family, and to parent children if they choose to do so. Wow. Doesn’t this seem like an obvious right that we should all have access to? Reproductive justice is not a solidarity issue for LGBTQ individuals; it is OUR issue.

The importance of recognizing the intersections of reproductive justice with the LGBTQ community.

If a transman needs a pap smear, what does he do? Will his insurance cover this preventative care (an effective means of preventing cervical cancer) if he is listed as “male” on his insurance? And if he is diagnosed with cervical cancer and needs to receive care, will his provider be able to adequately serve him? Will he even be able to find a provider that’s willing to talk to him?

I want to talk about abortion for a minute. Veronica Bayetti Flores spoke to the point that some people, even in the LGBTQ community, don’t feel like abortion is a queer issue. This is ridiculous and short-sighted and leaves out huge facets of our communities. Consider:

  • Behavior is not the same as identity. And that’s okay.
  • Bisexuals.
  • Research has shown that LGBQ youth are at higher risks for unintended pregnancies as they work out their identities as young people.
  • Anyone with a functional uterus can get pregnant.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Even intentional pregnancies sometimes need to be terminated (example: if a pregnancy is carried out, the mother would need to be on dialysis for life).

We have got to stop separating ourselves apart and pretending that just because we, as individuals, may not have any intention of getting pregnant, abortion and pregnancy related reproductive care isn’t relevant for our community. It is. And people are dying while we try to work all this out.

This session was amazing, wrought with super important information, and frankly, I wish I could just link to the full presentation. But, in the meantime, check out the organization that the amazing presenters hail from: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Ultimately, this session was a huge reminder that our health is a crucial topic that we need to continue to focus on. And not just the issues relevant to ourselves as individuals, but those affecting everyone in our communities.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Reuniting our Movement with the 1963 Civil Rights Act.

 by Dean Andersen

Guest Blogger, reporting at Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

Our movement has always been a civil rights movement, from the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950’s to the Stonewall Riots of “69”, and the historic marches on Washington, all we have ever wanted was EQUAL CIVL RIGHTS!  Civil Rights are Human Rights and according to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, “Human Rights are supreme and universal”  they are the Inalienable realm of personal dignity.  It is the duty of government to REPSECT and PROTECT it’s citizens and the Human Rights they are born with.  Yet in all fifty of our United States there are elected officials that show hostility to LGBT folks!

The 1964 Human Rights Act guarantees Equal citizenship based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, Language minority, and Marital status.  It does NOT include sexual orientation, expression, or identity.

Our movement has been splintered from the unifying call for “Equal Civil Rights” to working on various partial, piece-meal rights, marriage rights, domestic partnerships, the right to serve in the military, freedom from discrimination, housing rights, etc. etc.  Working on so many fronts leaves us less unified and less committed.  It may be time to re-evaluate just what it is we want, and how we are going to get it.  What if we simply ask to get sexual and gender minorities included in the 1964 Human Rights Act which would protect LGBT folks under all federal legislation in housing, employment, legal system, public access, etc. etc.

EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS is simple clear, and unifying.  We want the same rights afforded every other citizen in this country! No more, no less!  The freedom to be who we are is an inalienable right. We suffer harm when we are denied this most basic of rights. It’s time for our community to come back together under that banner of equal civil rights as the package, the deal, the bill that needs to be introduced guaranteeing the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace not just within our movement but for all members of our nation.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Big News! Report on the National Center for Transgender Equality Survey

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, reporting at Creating Change

As you may know, we’re thrilled for the report of the largest ever national survey on transgender people. We are proud to have been involved in the development on inclusive of questions on tobacco and alcohol, but more than that, it’s great to finally have some sort of national data on transgender people at many levels. The information in this survey involves a myriad of issues and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force just released factsheets on those results. You may have seen the data on the October 2010 study but this report deals with what can be done and what this data means.

As you might imagine, there is discrimination in virtually all areas which I will share a little below.

Education: 59% bullied by teachers attempted suicide, which is ridiculous as teachers should be the ones supporting and protecting students. Some were even expelled for their gender identity.

Employment:  For those trans people who have jobs, 90% were harassed or mistreated which is such an astounding number. Many are fired, denied access to bathrooms. We experience extreme poverty with 4x more likely to earn less than $10,000.

Housing: 20% refused housing. Only half as many of us own homes as compared to general population. Many are also denied housing.

Public Accommodations: Half of trans people have been assaulted in public spaces. 1/5 denied government equal treatment.

ID Documents: 40% were harassed when presenting IDs and many are unable to update government ID records.

Health: ½ have had to educate providers just basic Trans 101. Many do not have insurance and experience discrimination. HIV, alcohol, tobacco rates are much higher in trans populations. 41% suicide rate (compared with 1.6% of general population; general population of depressed people only have 20%)


I’ve talked a lot about some absolutely chilling horrifying facts, but it’s important to know there are positive aspects and things we can do about these disparities. Despite high discrimination and harassment, 78% who transitioned at work felt better. Many return to school after transitioning and trans people actually have more education than the general population.

What can we do? Recommendations:

  • We all have a role to play (health providers, employers, police, general public, etc).
  • Policy changes are vital at all levels
  • Research: the data is available online for folks to analyze
  • Share the information with ourselves, our coalitions
  • Keep all areas of our society accountable in whatever you way you can!

For more information on these documents:

“Injustice at Every Turn by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) **Newly released**

National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on health and health care by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Go to for more information on this study, its uses, the data and implications.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011 | 3 Comments

Anti-LGBT Bias Violence and Reporting

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, reporting at Creating Change workshop: National Reporting and Data-Driven Advocacy: Ending Anti-LGBTQ Violence with the NCAVP

Today I attending a workshop on a familiar subject: LGBTQ biased violence. At Northeastern, I was involved with our Campus Center on Violence Against Women, realizing how little resources and information was provided and known about LGBTQ survivors. Fortunately I was able to work with the supportive program to raise more awareness and create more support for us. After taking an LGBTQ inclusive course on family violence. However after this workshop I realized how seldom this knowledge is available. Below I want to share the reality of the picture and what can be done.



  • In recent years, even with more calls to the police from LGBTQ survivors there are high rates of police misconduct (harassment) and false arrests (arresting both partners).
  • Of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, 79% were against people of color, 50% of those murdered were transgender women
  • Despite enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, there were still significant cuts to anti-violence LGBT programs
  • Law enforcement, prosecutors, general violence programs don’t work with LGBT violence programs.
  • 84% precincts reported no kinds of hate crimes at all (even race), so we shouldn’t focus on prevalence so much as whether these crimes exist
  • Coincidences of LGBT bias hate-crimes with national LGBT news (national conversation on LGBT issues like marriage)



  • Collect more expansive and exhaustive demographic information
  • To collect different types of violence: sexual violence and pick-up violence (against sex workers)
  • Organizations are the ones doing the reporting
  • Data is the story: organizations collect quantitative and qualitative data

What can be done? (effective suggestions)

  • Use data to show need for funding to support this great work
  • Get LGBTQ inclusion in the Violence Against Woman Act grant. With that hope, LGBTQ anti-violence programs may receive more funding and allow training.
  • Legislative visits (Lobbying, protocol shifts)
  • Grants and education (statements of need, demonstrate national coalition work and services provided for funders)
  • Training and education (numbers and reports needed, present models of promising practices)
  • Promoting policy change and shifts (illustrate how policies contribute to and are sources of violence with specifics, show how increased funding can make a difference, show evidenced-based practice)
  • Community organizing (compelling statistics can be used for promotion/media, awareness-raising campaigns)

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011 | 2 Comments

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