By Dawn Wolfe
National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Awareness week, which is coming up March 13-19, is the creation of the National Coalition for LGBT Health. The Coalition was formed in October of 2000 when a group of LGBT community health advocates met in Washington, D.C. to discuss greater inclusion of LGBT health issues in the Healthy People 2010 objectives. The Coalition had over 58 member organizations and over 60 participating organizations as of January of this year.
National LGBT Health Awareness Week is one of the programs the Coalition is using to promote its goals of increasing knowledge about LGBT health issues, growing the participation of LGBTs in the formation of health policy, increasing availability of health care and quality of care for the LGBT community, making health care providers more culturally sensitive to LGBT needs, and eliminating the health disparities between the LGBT community and the community at large.
Coalition Spring meeting March 13-15
The Coalition will kick off LGBT Health Awareness week with its spring meeting in Washington, D.C. from March 13-15. This meeting is a chance for LGBT health professionals from around the country to network and strategize ways to increase the visibility of LGBT health issues, serve the LGBT community’s health needs, and advocate for greater LGBT input in health policy decisions. Current panels for the spring meeting include CDC January Crystal Meth Meeting Update, Lesbian Health Summit Report, and Federal Update: LGBT Health and the Second Term of the Bush Administration.
Local LGBT health events
In the Detroit area, Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center will be offering several new programs beginning in March and April, according to new Health Services Coordinator Dierdre Shires. These classes are among the many opportunities to improve your health through Affirmations programs:
Cardio Circuit Blast: This ongoing class began Feb. 24 and will meet every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. – $2 donation per week.
A domestic and sexual assault support group is beginning March 16 and will run every Wednesday from 7-8 p.m.
Yoga: Affirmations will add a second Yoga class on April 5. The new class will meet every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. $5 per week donation.
Want to work at a faster pace? Join the new runner’s group that will begin meeting Monday nights in April at Affirmations’ Troy St. entrance and will run from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Free.
A new living with depression group will meet every Wednesday in April. Advance registration required.
Affirmations’ new speakers series, “Sound Body, Sound Mind,” featuring lectures on LGBT health-related topics, will take place on selected Thursday nights from 8-9 p.m. Current planned topics include transgender health, alcohol in the LGBT community and aging in the LGBT community. Check Affirmations’ web site for specific nights and topics.
Kick Butts, the organizations’ quit smoking workshops will continue to run once per month.
Saturday, April 16 is Affirmations’ third annual Health Fair sponsored by Project Healthy Living. The fair offers an array of free or very low cost health services and screenings. The event runs from 11 a.m. to – 4 p.m. and is open to the public.
For more information about these events, as well as Affirmations’ upcoming health fair, call Dierdre Shires at 248-398-7105, ext. 26, or visit Affirmations’ web site at http://www.goaffirmations.org.