On January 22, we commemorate the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that affirmed the right to abortion. Yet the promise of Roe v. Wade remains out of reach for millions of people, including LGBTQ people. From the reactionary wave of so-called “religious freedom” laws, to government defunding, to violent attacks on healthcare centers, opponents of equality continue do everything they can to undermine sexual health and freedom.
Many of us — cisgender women, transgender men, two spirit, intersex, and gender-non-conforming individuals, among others — can get pregnant, and rely on a full range of reproductive health options, including abortion care. LGBTQ people already struggle to access vital health services: We are under-insured compared with other demographics, we experience certain health challenges at higher rates, and we are outright denied care because of who we are. We can’t afford to ignore attempts to undo Roe and turn back the clock on reproductive rights.
The movements for LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights are inseparable: we are all working for the right to choose who and how we love and how we use our bodies—without government abuse and intrusion. Those who oppose comprehensive and affordable reproductive healthcare are often the same forces that want to control what we, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer people, do with our bodies and our access to healthcare.
Now more than ever, it is important that we build strong, inclusive coalitions to win progressive change. Join us during Roe anniversary week by following the hashtag #ReclaimRoe, telling your friends and family about why everyone should support reproductive rights, and if you’re at Creating Change, attending one of the reproductive justice sessions—because the fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice are an LGBTQ issue.
by Zsea Beaumonis, National LGBTQ Task Force Reproductive Justice Fellow
In 2013, Latinos accounted for almost one quarter of all estimated new diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States despite representing about 17% of the total US population. Recent reports by the CDC show the overall rates for HIV infections among Latinos have decreased, but not for all Latinos. The number of HIV diagnoses among gay Latino and black youth in the United States has shot up by 87 % since 2005, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report, “HIV Prevention in the United States: New Opportunities, New Expectations.” The report found that the steepest increases in HIV diagnoses were in Latino and black youth between the ages of 13 and 24. Men who have sex with men accounted for 67 percent of HIV diagnoses in 2014. For Latino men in this group, the diagnoses rose almost 25 percent.
What is the cause for this alarming rate of HIV infections among LGBTQ Latin@s and what can we do about this increase? Are LGBTQ Latin@s involved in grassroots leadership to address HIV in the United States? Are transgender, youth, and immigrant issues addressed when solutions are discussed? These questions and more are the reason organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) are convening a series of opportunities to discuss the Latino community and HIV at the Creating Change Conference. The conference will gather over 5,000 LGBTQ grassroots and grasstop leaders from across the country for a week of sessions dedicated to advancing full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people.
At the Creating Change Conference, LULAC is partnering with leaders in the HIV field to highlight concerns about HIV for Latinos who are part of the LGBTQ community. We will mobilize key thought leaders to discuss the challenges related culturally competent care, the Affordable Care Act, and barriers to access. The various sessions at Creating Change will discuss opportunities that exist such as PrEP, treatment as prevention, anti-stigma efforts, and grassroots engagement of the LGBTQ Latin@ community. The sessions will provide opportunities to meet the challenges we face as LGBTQ Latin@s and work together to take action.
LULAC is planning the 4th annual Unión = Fuerza Latino Institute at Creating Change on January 21st. An Institute plenary session will feature David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health, who will address the key need for mobilizing LGBTQ Latinos to address the HIV epidemic and a Latino Institute workshop led by LULAC partner, Oscar Raúl López of Valley AIDS Council will Address Homophobia on the United States / Mexico Border to Impact HIV Amongst Young men who have sex with men (MSM).
LULAC, in partnership with the the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), TransLatin@ Coalition, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI) is hosting the LGBTQ Latin@ HIV Caucus at Creating Change.
LULAC invites grassroots and grasstops LGBTQ Latin@s working on HIV issues or those interested in working on HIV issues to join us on January 22, 2016 from 6:30 – 7:30PM CT at the Hilton Chicago. Please R.S.V.P. by clicking here.
The evening will create a space for participants to discuss their own work on HIV prevention, treatment, and the specific barriers or challenges faced by LGBTQ Latin@ access to prevention and treatment care. The gathering is aimed at identifying potential opportunities for collaboration, building upon synergies to increasing the number of LGBTQ Latinos working in the HIV field, and encouraging Latino-led LGBTQ organizations to take advantage of HIV funding. The caucus will connect attendees with best practices to advance culturally competent tools to reduce new HIV infections and ensure that HIV positive LGBTQ Latinos receive treatment.
Facilitators of the LGBTQ Latin@ HIV Caucus will include Jesus Barrios, Sexual & Behavioral Health Coordinator at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Brooklyn, New York; Alex Garner, Program Coordinator National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), Arianna Lint, TransLatin@ Coalition, East Co-Chair; David M. Pérez, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Lillian Rivera, Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI). We invite Latinos attending Creating Change to join us for this important caucus dedicated to discussing HIV and LGBTQ Latino issues. R.S.V.P. today!
In 2015, LULAC launched a new initiative as part of its Latinos Living Healthy initiative, which features a 5-year plan for addressing HIV with a vital focus on LGBTQ Latinos. We utilize our national reach through social media platforms, over 1,000 grassroots LULAC councils, and other collaborative partnerships in order to support the CDC’s new program, Partnering and Communicating Together to Act Against AIDS (PACT), to disseminate HIV-prevention education and communication within Latino communities. The campaign helps advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which aims to reduce the rate of new infections, reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, and educate Americans about the threat of HIV and methods for prevention of infection. Please go to www.cdc.gov/doingit or www.LULAC.org/salud to access the CDC’s new “Doing It” public awareness campaign materials.
David M. Pérez is the Director of Development for League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and a founding co-chair of the Unión = Fuerza Latino Institute at Creating Change, now in its 4th year. You may contact David at dperez@LULAC.org or @DMP7 on Twitter.
by. David M. Pérez , Director of Development, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Making its conference debut at Creating Change 2016, “The Legacy Wall” is a traveling tradeshow-sized iteration of Chicago’s award-winning “Legacy Walk” outdoor LGBT History Museum which spans one-half mile of Boystown on Chicago’s north side. “The Wall” features the stories of LGBT people from all walks of life throughout history who have contributed in over 20 distinct fields. The content is international and multicultural, and has been substantially vetted and sourced.
This wonderfully positive and inspiring exhibit tells the stories behind such figures as social justice pioneer Jane Addams, civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin, British mathematician Alan Turing, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, astronaut Sally Ride, iconic artist Michelangelo, and Fr. Mychal Judge – the “Saint of 9/11.” In all 125 individual biographical elements on the Legacy Wall are digitally linked to the organization’s cloud-based NFC (Near Field Communication) portal which brings multimedia and education tools directly to the user’s smartphone. The NFC portal ties the Legacy Wall and the Legacy Walk to the Legacy Project Education Initiative – a robust collection of lesson plans, study guides, and resources that make accessing detailed information about the people it profiles easy.
In cooperation with its partners at Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, the Legacy Project works to share the contributions of historically significant LGBT role models with youth, whose social isolation and cultural marginalization have left them vulnerable to bullying and loss of self-esteem. Raising awareness of the roles LGBT people have played in shared human history has been proven to lessen the incidence of all forms of bullying in our schools by encouraging a culture of mutual respect and tolerance.
The Legacy Wall is 24’ long x 8’ tall x 6’ deep; it had its public premiere in Illinois’s capitol city of Springfield during October 2015 (LGBT History Month). Creating Change 2016 is one of the stops on its 15-month tour of this state before going national in 2017. The goal of the Legacy Wall is to take the powerful lessons of our history into remote communities to raise cultural awareness, to promote a feeling of safety and belonging in the classroom, and to give our young people hope by improving their outlook on life. The installation is endorsed by the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois State Library, the Illinois Department of Tourism, and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.
The Legacy Project is a Chicago-based 501(c)3 non-profit committed to researching and celebrating the
contributions Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people have made to world history and culture. We encourage you to check out THE LEGACY WALL at Creating Change 2016 from Thursday to Saturday January 21-23 in the Grand Ballroom Exhibit Space.
To learn more about the Legacy Wall you can click HERE.
by Victor Salvo, Founder and Executive Director, The Legacy Project
A report released in 2013 by the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law, found that an estimated 1.4 million – or 4.3 percent of Latino adults in the Unites States, consider themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. As this number continues to increase year after year, it is no surprise that the largest LGBTQ conference, Creating Change, has a daylong institute dedicated to these Latin@ communities within the social justice movement.
The Creating Change Conference is sponsored and organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force. This year marks the 28th gathering of the uniquely programmed national conference featuring a pre-eminent political focus, leadership advancement, and skills-building. In 2013, Unión=Fuerza was launched, the first Latin@ Institute at Creating Change. The Institute is a diverse convening of LGBTQ Latin@s and allies from across the country who foster supportive relationships and build capacity to advance LGBTQ Latin@ activism.
While we saw many advances to the equality landscape in 2015, a lot of work is still needed to achieve fully lived equality, especially for people of color. Increased community education about the importance of access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, immigration reform, employment discrimination, education inequalities, family acceptance, and violence is needed. Now in its fourth year, Unión=Fuerza is stronger than ever and provides a safe space for organizers, activists, students, politicians, and non-profit employees. Through Unión=Fuerza, participants from across the country have an opportunity to share knowledge, exchange resources, and build organizational capacity.
Equality Texas is proud to be a community partner of the Latino Institute Unión=Fuerza and looks forward to doing our part with its organizers and community partners to ensure we strengthen and unify LGBTQ Latino communities.
The 28th annual convening of the Creating Change Conference will take place January 20-24, 2016 at the Hilton Chicago.
Reposted with permission from Robert Salcido, Regional Field Coordinator, EQTX. The original post can be found here: http://www.equalitytexas.org/strengthening-lgbtq-latino-communities/
Since 2014, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has organized the Black Institute at Creating Change. The Black Institute focuses on the issues impacting the Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) community and serves as a space to build a collective strategy to foster positive change for this population on the national and local levels. During Creating Change 2016 in Chicago, NBJC is honored to organize the 3rd Annual Black Institute: Healing, Healthy and WHOLE. It will be held from 9am to 6pm on Thursday, January 21 as one of the Creating Change Day Long Institutes.
The Black LGBTQ/SGL community represents a significant subset of the collective African American family. Heightened health disparities, anti-Black racism, and the lack of employment opportunities and security are just a few of the realities that define many of our lived experiences. The 3rd Annual Black Institute will offer intentional deliberation on the key drivers impacting the health and wellness of the Black LGBTQ/SQL population: physical health (e.g., health disparities); emotional health (e.g., mental health, behavioral health, self-care, healthy relationships), spirituality (e.g., faith, religion, wholeness, purpose); economics (e.g., financial health, economic justice, employment security, housing, livable wage, entrepreneurship); and social justice (e.g., racial profiling, criminal justice, education, voting rights). The mission of this year’s institute is to define what holistic health and wellness looks like for the Black LGBTQ/SGL community and craft next steps to move on this agenda on the national level with a special focus on providing resources to the grassroots.
In addition, the Black Institute will hold an intentional dialogue, in collaboration with the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), concerning the violence directed at trans women from cisgender trans-attracted men. The dearth of visibility, resources and support for trans-attracted men has compounded a culture of shame and stigma that leads these men to seek out, fetishize, and establish sexual and/or romantic relationships with trans women in secret, and lash out at them violently when confronted with public exposure of their relationships or desires. Tona Brown, trailblazing musician and trans advocate, will moderate an educational and informative discussion with men who are married or are involved in long-term relationships with transgender women.
Join us on Thursday, January 21 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Creating Change Conference for this day long institute.
The Black Institute will provide many opportunities to lift, learn and lead for the empowerment of the Black LGBTQ/SGL community.
by Isaiah R. Wilson, National Black Justice Coalition, External Affairs Manager
My experience at the National LGBTQ Task Force has been great! I enjoyed working in such an amazing space where I was comfortable with whom I am. I truly admired the passion each and every person has in this organization that advocates for the full freedom of LGBTQ people. I learned that no matter how much LGBTQ people have accomplished, for example the historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, there is still a lot of room for improvement and advancement. I have always had an interest in working for an organization that supports LGBTQ rights. I am glad I chose to intern at the National LGBTQ Task Force in order to gain professional experience.
In the communications department I managed to learn how to use different types of media platforms. In the beginning of my internship I had no idea about how to monitor media. Now I am able to check media coverage and can create media contact lists of different media news outlets. To me this is an amazing resource when it comes to social media research. I would have never thought there was a system that has the contact information of every media news outlet all over the world. Another media platform that I utilized here at the Task Force was Word Press, which is a great resource when it comes to blogging.
At the National LGBTQ Task Force I was able to establish a research proposal on the topic of LGBTQ asylum seekers. This issue has captured my attention because I am very alarmed by how it has not received a lot of social media attention or broader awareness. The fact that there are thousands of displaced LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S. is devastating. I felt a great interest in writing about this issue in my general research seminar to show awareness. The guide that I based a lot of my research on is called Stronger Together and was produced by the National LGBTQ Task Force. My professor was alarmed because she had never heard of this issue. She stated that she couldn’t believe there are thousands of LGBTQ people seeking asylum and that it was a big issue for people who identify as LGBTQ.
This is why I enjoyed my experience here at the National LGBTQ Task Force. We worked on issues the media does not touch. We bring awareness of social injustices and promote LGBTQ freedom for all. Here at the Task Force I learned that over 20 transgender women were murdered this past year, most of them were transgender women of color. Even with this devastating increase in hate crimes, media still does not cover this issue adequately enough. A lot of people need to know that these horrible crimes are happening in the U.S. today and they need to stop.
The Task Force has taught me a lot about LGBTQ inequality. As a self-identified gay Latino I can relate to the issues that the Task Force brings awareness about. I have never felt so comfortable in a space where I can simply be me. I have the Task Force to thank because I never thought I would be in a workplace that will allow that. So as I get ready to head back home I will take the knowledge that I learned here at the National LGBTQ Task Force and I will do my best to bring awareness, wherever I go, about LGBTQ inequality and to help promote LGBTQ freedom.
by Alan Lopez, National LGBTQ Task Force, Communications Intern