Sexuality and Empowerment

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in an LGBT Equality Caucus video for the It Gets Better Project. Image from;
For the first time, we held a joint monthly meeting with the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) medical students. The meeting focused both on public health and medical aspects of LGBT health. 

After learning more about the TRIUMPH students, we had a mini discussion on the Healthy People 2020 goals focused on LGBT individuals and an article about healthcare for transgendered individuals.

Next, we listened to the dynamic executive director of Diverse and Resilient, Gary Hollander, present on the Acceptance Journeys project aiming to end homophobia. After extensive research, partnership-building, and collaboration to address the high rates of HIV infection in young African American men who have sex with men, the organization developed the Acceptance Journeys media campaign. Gary shared beautiful stories featured in Acceptance Journeys. Fellow Anneke has been working on the evaluation of this campaign; read more about it here.

Next up was the Provider Panel at the 16th St. Parkway Clinic. Here, clinicians, social workers, and public health professionals discussed their experiences caring for and working with LGBT individuals. Much of the conversation focused on unique health experiences transgendered individuals face, and how clinicians can increase cultural competence.

We then had the pleasure of speaking with four transgendered and one gay individual about their experiences with the medical system, and life experiences in general. This patient panel, facilitated by Diverse and Resilient's Brenda Coley, was truly a highlight of the day. The panel's willingness to share deeply personal stories enriched everyone's learning experience and understanding. To develop concrete skills in cultural humility, the panel was followed-up with practice interview sessions where the patients pretended to be visiting a clinic with a health problem and the TRIUMPH students/Fellows had to use appropriate language in their interviews.

Paula Tran Inzeo lead the closing discussion and reflections, emphasizing the importance of continuing the conversations and lessons of the day. As public health professionals, we can make important systemic changes in the way healthcare systems, political systems, and society address and value LGBT concerns.