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

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

Good Morning from National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

by Gustavo Torrez

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

Currently Scout and I are in Washington DC for The 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Annual Meeting. The Coalition’s annual meeting provides opportunity for participants to network with LGBT health advocates from across the country, attend workshops and trainings applicable to state and federal advocacy work, and learn about the Coalition’s policy initiatives. Here is a brief overview of the agenda for day 1, minus the actual breakouts for the day.
This morning Cornelius Baker, National Policy Advisor, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition;
member, President’s Advisory Council on HIV & AIDS will be delivering the opening keynote address.
Leading into the afternoon, the Luncheon Plenary: LGBT Health on the Political Landscape speaker lineup looks amazing. We will hear from the following:
» Rebecca Fox, Consultant, Federal Agencies Project
» Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
» Jeff Krehely, Director of LGBT Communications and Research, Center for American Progress
» Sharon Lettman, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
The closing plenary will be provided by David Hansell,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.

Stay tuned, for more detailed blog posts from throughout the day from myself and Juan Carlos Vega, the ActivistLibrarianPR from Puerto Rico…

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


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