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

Puerto Rico is our dream!

by Scout

Program Director


Reporting on 1st LGBTT Health Summit in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit


Press on LGBTT Health Summit

Press on LGBTT Health Summit

First we watch the local organizers knock it out of the park with their first ever LGBTT health summit yesterday, but today it only got better. (FYI: two Ts because locally you say transsexual and transgender)
We wake up to hear the LGBTT Summit has gotten a big story in the main San Juan paper (see pic including quote by one of our favorite bloggers, Juan Carlos Vega). Then I bike over to the main Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit, where the happy news just keeps washing over all of us.

PR Tobacco Prevention Summit Flyer

First, even though the conference is sold out, since I’m from the Network for LGBT Health Equity, I’m welcomed as a VIP; then we see the cover of the program includes a rainbow; then we see every major sponsor of the LGBTT summit has been recognized as a sponsor of this event (including ourselves and the Latino disparity network) (see other picture); then we hear that the PR quitline last year started asking if callers were LGBTT; then we count and realize 6 of 8 conference breakout sessions include content by the LGBTT organizers; and then we learn that one month ago PR even added LGBT questions to their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (the main “state” health survey)! Can you believe it? I only wish half the states were as inclusive of LGBT and all disparities as is the fine US Territory of Puerto Rico.

AND they have amazing beaches! Let the emigration begin.

March 15, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | 1 Comment

In Awe of San Juan: Guest Report on 1st LGBTT Health Conference

Tom Rachal, Steering Committee Member

by Steering Committee member Tom Rachal

Reporting on the First LGBTT Health Conference in Puerto Rico

Have you ever spent an entire day attending a LGBT Health Conference and were glad you did?  Was that conference entirely in Spanish and you don’t speak the language?  Was that conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico only a few blocks from the sandy beaches?  Well, I, along with several members of the Steering Committee of The Network for LGBT Health Equity,  have just returned from such a conference and how glad I am to report it was absolutely outstanding!

The Puerto Rico Health and Tobacco Summit was attended by an overflow crowd, and they provided an excellent English interpreter for those few of us who do not speak their language. The entire program was filled by presenters who had their own Powerpoint presentations, and at no time was I ever bored by the information they provided.

Juan Carlos Vega (left) & Tom Rachal (right)

I learned many great things there but the one I find most disturbing is the following.  There are some unique problems on this beautiful isle which most of us do not face on a daily basis.  Hate crimes against LGBT people are rampant, the police don’t conduct proper investigations and many such crimes are not ever solved.  But, nonetheless, these are strong people who are determined to overcome all obstacles placed in front of them.  They will eventually win over their opposition… it is just a matter of time.

I cannot remember when I was so warmly greeted by the host organization as I was here in San Juan.  When you visit here, I am sure you will be glad you did and will dislike having to fly back home as I had to last week.

Tom Rachal

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Presentations, Puerto Rico, Steering Committee | 1 Comment

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

Cumbre Pro Salud LGBTT Puertorriqueña/PR LGBT Health Summit

M. Alvarez

Guest blogger, reporting on PR LGBT Health Summit

La 1ra Cumbre Pro Salud LGBTT Puertorriqueña comenzó con conferencias de Francisco Dueñas de lambda legal,  Sheila Rodríguez sobre Trans en PR e Ines Parks en la prevención y control de tabaco. La primera sesión concurrente constó de salud para la mujer lesbiana y bisexual en donde se expusieron diferentes temas que abarcan la salud femenina. Olga Orraca comienza la sesión discutiendo que ser lesbiana o bisexual no es un riesgo para la salud. Es importante estar fuera del closet con los profesionales de la salud, ya que el estar en el closet nos afecta en la salud y nuestro bienestar físico,  viviendo en el encierro tenemos más tendencia a caer en el descontrol de alimentación o abuso de sustancias controladas.  La mejor manera de saber si un médico es “LGBTT friendly” es preguntando a conocidos, amistades, familiares y al mismo médico.

Jackeline Cruz plantea los miedos y problemas a los que nos enfrentamos las mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales en cuanto a  la salud vaginal. Hay falta de información de la salud vaginal porque no se habla, y hay mucha connotación vulgar de los términos en la salud vaginal. Es importante como mujer poder hacernos un monitoreo de la vulva/vagina. Esto nos ayudará a  tener mejor aceptación de nosotras mismas, poder prevenir situaciones comunicándole al medico los cambios que notamos y de vez protegernos. Luego Ivette Díaz, trajo el tema de madres lesbianas y retos en la crianza. Hay diferentes retos según la constitución de la familia, ya sea porque la pareja viene de relación heterosexual con hijo y entra en relación lésbica,  madre que vive con hijos pero no convive bajo el mismo techo con su pareja, madre que decidió hacer inseminación, auto-inseminación o adopción. Los retos más grandes que se presentan es trabajar con las ex parejas (en caso que venga de una relación heterosexual), si es inseminación inscribirlo legalmente o adopción como madre soltera ya que el estado no reconoce legalmente la adopción en parejas del mismo sexo.

Mabel Lopez  termina la sesión con el tema de  la violencia domestica en parejas de mujeres lesbianas. No hay ningún tipo de inclusión en los servicios de apoyo ni en las leyes de protección para trabajar con las personas LGBTT.  el gobierno invisibilisa al ciudadano LGBTT. En un estudio que realizó a 7 mujeres se estudiaba la relación de éstas y sus parejas como victima de violencia domestica.  Dentro de las conclusiones del estudio la que encontraron más importante y más pertinente es que es necesario incluir las relaciones de pareja de todo tipo en la ley 54.

Definitivamente estos temas deben ser expandidos ya que el tiempo traiciona y no se puede cubrir todas las dudas que tenemos las mujeres en cuanto a nuestra salud. Una pregunta que surgió entre las participantes es si es correcto que un ginecólogo le diga a una paciente, identificada como lesbiana, que no debe hacerse del PAP anualmente ya que no tiene relaciones sexuales de penetración. Profesionales como estos son los que mantienen confundidas y desorientadas a muchas mujeres que, por una razón u otra, no tienen la plena confianza con su médico de hablar abiertamente de su sexualidad.

De izq a derecha: Beatriz Febus (moderadora); Jackeline Cruz; Ivette Díaz; Olga Orraca y Mabel Lopez

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Blogs en español, Puerto Rico | | 2 Comments

Is your mom a lesbian? I don’t know, but she speaks spanish!

M. Alvarez

Guest blogger, reporting on PR LGBT Health Summit

The Puerto Rico LGBTT Health Summit began with Francisco Dueñas, from Lambda Legal, talking about healthcare not being caring; Sheila Rodriguez who spoke about the Trans Community in PR; and Ines Parks on tobacco control and prevention. The first concurrent session consisted of health for lesbian and bisexual women where they demonstrated various topics covering women’s health.

Olga Orraca begins the session by arguing that being a lesbian or bisexual is not a health risk. It is important to be out of the closet with health professionals as being in the closet affects our health, women living in “the closet” have more tendencies to fall into eating disorder or the abuse of controlled substances. The best way to know whether a doctor is “LGBTT friendly” is to ask acquaintances, friends, family and doctors themselves.

Jackeline Cruz educates on fears and problems that we, lesbian and bisexual women, face in terms of vaginal health. There is a lack of vaginal health information because it is not spoken because of the many vulgar connotations of terms in vaginal health. It is important to us as women to monitor the vulva / vagina. This will help us to have a greater acceptance of ourselves and to prevent situations being able to tell our doctors about any noticeable changes.

Then Ivette Diaz, brought the issue of lesbian mothers and parenting challenges. There are several challenges according to the constitution of the family, either because one of the partners comes from a heterosexual relationship with a child or is a lesbian mother living with children but does not live under the same roof with her partner, a mother who decided to have insemination, or self-insemination, or adoption. The biggest challenges are to work with former partners (if coming from a heterosexual relationship), if insemination or adoption to legally enroll as a single mother, because the state law does not recognize adoption in same-sex couples. One of the participants asked her what are the issues kids with two moms have to deal at school, to this Díaz answers that her kid was asked at a school in Texas, “is your mom a lesbian?” and he answered Ï don’t know, but she speaks spanish.”

Mabel Lopez ends the session with the issue of domestic violence in lesbian couples. There is no inclusion in the support services or the laws of protection for LGBTT victims, the government makes invisible LGBTT citizens. In a study, made to 7 women, she learned their relationship with their partners as victims of domestic violence. In the conclusions of the study, they found most important and more pertinent that it is necessary to include relationships of all kinds in the law 54, Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law.

Definitely these issues should be expanded as time is limited and cannot cover all the questions women have about our health. A question that arose among the participants is whether it is right that a gynecologist tell a patient, identified as lesbian; she should not do annually the PAP because she doesn’t have sexual relationship with men. Professionals like these are what remain confused and disoriented to many women who for one reason or another, are not fully trust your doctor to talk openly about their sexuality.

From left to right: Beatriz Febus (moderator); Jackeline Cruz; Ivette Díaz; Olga Orraca and Mabel Lopez

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Uncategorized | | 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

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

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




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.


 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



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.


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


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

%d bloggers like this: