The co-editors, Lourdes Dolores Follins and Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, of the academic text, "Black LGBT Health in the United States: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation," will be available to discuss their work from 6-8 p.m. on June 2 at the Ruth Ellis Health and Wellness Center, 77 Victor St. in Highland Park.
Various sponsors – LGBT Detroit, Pride Source Media Group, REC, SAGE Metro Detroit and the Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists – will host the book signing event and discussion focused on Black LGBT perspectives on the health and well-being of people of African descent living in the U.S. who identify as LGBT, raising awareness of the need for quality cultural competency from health care providers including mental and spiritual health.
Joining Follins and Lassiter, who edited the compilation of nearly two-dozen contributions from researchers and health-care professionals, is local community activist, Dr. Amorie Robinson (aka Dr. Kofi Adoma) who will discuss the book's first chapter entitled "The Forgotten Intersection: Black LGBT Youth in Juvenile Justice in the United States."
Adoma said, "I wholly believe the concept of having Black LGBT people write about the experiences of Black LGBT people and their health. This is one of the unique aspects of this collection of writings. I felt very honored to be invited to offer my expertise and knowledge regarding, specifically, Black LGBT youth in juvenile justice, given my work experience at a juvenile court psychiatric clinic."
Adoma has worked at the Clinic for Child Study at the 3rd Circuit Court Family Division in Detroit for 12 years. Adoma has been involved with the Ruth Ellis Center since 1999 as the co-founder and former board member. She also does clinical supervision for master's students at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology and is a psychotherapist at Northland Clinic in Farmington Hills.
"I was already familiar with the fact that Black youth are disproportionately represented in juvenile justice, but discovered that LGBT youth are also overrepresented. It occurred to me that being a teenager that is both Black and LGBT (as well as gender nonconforming) increases that risk. Using Kimberle' Crenshaw's intersectionality theory, I needed to examine literature on both Black youth and LGBT youth, as studies about LGBT youth of color in juvenile justice is sparse. I looked at the resilient and protective factors for Black LGBT/GNC youth and made recommendations for the juvenile justice system, social services, family, and community. I see this as a groundbreaking book that can be a resource for heath care entities that believe in best practices and seriously considers intersectional identities as a way of ensuring inclusive physical and mental health services. I am impressed with how Drs. Follins and Lassiter compiled a group of scholars that not only care about fair, unbiased treatment of Black LGBT community members, but also has insights into the complex sociocultural and historical contexts of the lives of the intersectional experiences of being Black and LGBT/GNC at the same time."
Follins is associate professor at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY with an MSW and Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from New York University. Lassiter is an assistant professor of psychology at Muhlenberg College focusing on health at the intersections of race, spirituality, gender, and sexual orientation.
"I'm excited about the community coming together for this event. It will give us all a chance to see firsthand the Ruth Ellis Center and its brand new health center for homeless LGBTQ youth, and to participate in a discussion about health issues in Black LGBT communities across the country," said Adoma.
"There will be an exchange of ideas for resources that can best serve these communities using a cultural lens, as well as a chance to meet like-minded health care providers all in one space. Everyone will enjoy meeting Dr. Follins and Dr. Jonathan, who I am grateful to for supporting me in publishing my chapter."
The discussant for this event is Leseliey Welch, Deputy Director of the Health Department in Detroit. Attendees to the book-signing can enjoy a tour of the REC drop-in center and health facility. Books can be purchased and signed at the event.