LGBT people are often the target of violence—from strangers and even at the hands of people we love and trust. Domestic Violence occurs in about 1 in 4 LGBT relationships. 20% of respondents in a recent study reported experiencing a sexual orientation based personal or property crime, and another recent report showed an increase of LGBTQ related sexual assault of 171%!! If you or anyone you know is dealing with any kind of violence, whether physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual, contact an LGBT-affirming anti-violence program in your community.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.

 A 2000 survey reported that 70 percent of lesbians and 60 percent of gay men said they sought mental health counseling in some form.  It’s normal to feel “down” sometimes, but if those feelings persist or become too extreme, consider talking to a professional about it.  There are also free, anonymous depression screening tools available online like the one at www.depression-screening.org

LGBT people often do not receive proper mental health care. Providers often lack the basic knowledge of the mental health needs of LGBT people; they don’t understand the diversity of different populations within the LGBT communities, and they lack the ability to refer patients and clients to appropriate community resources and referrals.

For many years, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder and studies reported high rates of suicide suicide attempts among young people who identified as homosexual. Did the classification cause gay people to be depressed or did the depression result from the classification? Since the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder professionals have been able to address the issue of depression directly. Nonetheless, many still do not understand the situation. And there are still diagnoses listed in the DSM-4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that apply to transgender persons. Mental disorders may cause limitations in one’s life, but they often are seen as a secondary problem. Our job, when dealing with the professionals, is to clarify the confusion and make it clear that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is not a ‘hook’ on which to hang mental health issues.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.  

 Getting regular routine screenings for different kinds of cancers (breast, testicular, lung, cervical, ovarian, prostate, colorectal and skin) may help to find them early when treatment is most likely to work best. Routine screenings and exams are important for everyone, but many LGBT individuals may have increased risk for certain cancers and are often less likely and less able to access adequate health care. Learn more about the importance of routine screenings and early detection, and locate a health care facility near you that provides cancer screenings in a safe, LGBT-affirming environment.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on obtaining the services of culturally-competent health providers – it explains why special attention is needed for  LGBTQ healthcare in the first place.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

 Hormone therapy can be an important part of daily health for some people of trans experience.  Transgender individuals who wish to use hormones are best advised to do so under the supervision of an LGBT-affirming medical provider who is clinically competent in transgender health issues because using hormones can put you at risk for high blood pressure, liver disease, blood clots and other serious health risks.  Smoking while taking hormones greatly increases the risks of blood clots.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on obtaining the services of culturally-competent health providers – it explains why special attention is needed for  LGBTQ healthcare in the first place.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

 Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause warts, cervical cancer and anal cancer, especially in HIV-infected men and women. A digital rectal exam (when a medical provider inserts a finger into the anus) can detect warts and other problems that should be treated. An anal Pap smear may also identify problems needing treatment, especially for HIV-infected persons. There are vaccines available that can prevent warts and HPV-associated cancers in women and men. Find a medical provider who understands the needs of LGBT patients and ask about getting checked and getting the vaccine.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on obtaining the services of culturally-competent health providers – it explains why special attention is needed for  LGBTQ healthcare in the first place.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

 Whether you are LGBT or not, your family health history is one of the most important things in determining your potential for future health problems. Knowing this information can help you and your medical provider determine disease risk and develop personalized health strategies. This is particularly important for LGBT people who may already have elevated risk for certain diseases and often face financial, cultural and personal barriers when trying to access adequate health care.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.

THOUGHTS FROM THE PARTICULAR ….

 We live and work in the reality of everyday struggle and celebration. Life on our street is in touch with people wondering how we will pay our bills, especially the utilities. We wonder if we can get employment before we fall too far behind in debt. Jobs are hard to find; even harder is keeping the car repaired. The on street parking is an altogether different challenge with every-other-day restrictions dedicated to the 9:00 o’clock hour. A lot of the time we spend our physical energy on transportation. Our homes belong to landlords many of whom are slow or even unresponsive to our requests, quite like the police when we call about an altercation. And the density of families and neighbors living close together brings relationship issues through the walls with easy flow to the street.

It might be easiest just to ignore the neighbors for pseudo privacy, a way to focus attention on my own issues. I may dress up and leave my street – get miles away – leaving the problems of the day behind for a moment, possibly to go worship. But more easily I can shut my door, turn up my noise and drown out the disappointments, fears of failure; my hopes exhausted just like my body by too much exercise in reaching for opportunities just beyond my grasp. (more…)

 Vaccinations are an important preventive health measure.  Talk to your healthcare provider about what vaccinations are best for you.  If you are a gay/bisexual man, you are at increased risk for both Hepatitis A; and all sexually active people are at risk for Hepatitis B.   Specifically talk to your healthcare provider about getting those vaccinations if you haven’t yet.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on “Infections and Diseases”.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.

 LGBT youth face great challenges.  They are at greater risk for academic failure because schools are often unsafe. Lack of support often leads to feelings of isolation and depression; and LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide.  Offer support to local organizations that provide services to LGBT youth. Mentor and model a sensitive and encouraging approach with LGBT teens in your own life.  If you know an LGBTQ youth in need of help, connect them resources like The Trevor Project at 1-866-4UTREVOR or http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on “Suicide”.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

 Studies show 1 in 4 gay and lesbian adults have no health insurance (twice the rate of heterosexuals).  The rate is even higher for our trans sisters and brothers. Lack of health insurance should be a serious concern for all in the U.S., but even more so for LGBT.  Learn about the kinds of insurance that might available to you and those you love—and support and advocate for health coverage that includes LGBT people and their families.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.

 This one is a no-brainer for anyone, but even more so for LGBTQ. Studies show that LGBT people are 40-70% more likely to smoke than non-LGBT people. This is one of the highest smoking rates—even compared to other disproportionately affected communities. LGBT-specific smoking cessation groups are increasingly available – find a group in your community to help you quit, or encourage and support loved ones in their efforts to quit.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on tobacco use found under the category of “Infections and Diseases”.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.

 LGBT people come in all ages…and our community’s seniors are an important part of who we are, but services for them are often lacking. 

Around 75% of LGBT seniors live alone, compared to 33% of their straight neighbors. Unlike heterosexual elders, 4 out of 5 of whom have children, 90% of LGBT seniors have no children. When 40% of straight seniors have no life partner, that figure jumps to 80% for LGBT. Add to that the fact that 50% of LGBT seniors do not feel welcome at senior centers when they are open about their sexuality, and it becomes easy to see why senior LGBT health outcomes are so negatively affected by isolation and loneliness.

Find a group for LGBT seniors in your area or a program that serves them and donate your time, money and/or support.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. In particular, the tap for “Aging Issues” may be eye-opening.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me

Vitamins & minerals can impact many health issues. 

Especially with busy, active lifestyles, it can become easy to miss meals or lack balance in your diet. Stress, abundant for many people who are LGBTQ, saps the body of essential nutrients.

Pregnant women especially should take folic acid and iron as an important part of prenatal care.  Many lesbian & bisexual women today are deciding to become pregnant and start families.  If you are one of them, consider this tip for your health and the health of your baby.

Find and consult a LGBT-friendly pharmacist, nutritionist or other medical professional about your particular needs.

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me

Regular doctors visits or the use of health screening clinics enable all of us to keep an eye on some significant markers of general health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, and checking your cholesterol and blood pressure is an important part of your healthcare. Many cancers, e.g. colorectal, prostate and others, can be screened for by health care professionals. Get your levels of these and other important indicators checked regularly by an LGBT-friendly healthcare provider. 

Learn to understand what these levels are and how to manage them through diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication(s).

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on obtaining the services of culturally-competent health providers – it explains why special attention is needed for  LGBTQ healthcare in the first place.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

21 Years of Light and Hope

Jenna, representing CWAC, is proud to have been one of the organizers of this year’s World AIDS Day observation in Schenectady. It has been a few years since the last commemoration was held in Schenectady, so this year’s event is particularly meaningful.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, HIV/AIDS has claimed over 25 million lives. Millions struggle daily to live well with the disease – some in our own community! People living with HIV/AIDS are your friends, neighbors, family members, and coworkers. HIV/AIDS affects us all!

Join us at City Hall as we walk to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in our community. Over complimentary hot chocolate, listen to personal stories of people infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS, share your own story at our “open mic”, and speak with Schenectady’s AIDS service providers.

Beginning at 5:00pm on Tuesday, December 1st 2009, we will gather at City Hall and march to Proctor’s Theater, where the event will continue.