Alphabet soup, anyone?

As much progress as we, as a western society, have made in understanding gender and sexuality, the fact remains that these complex constructs still perplex even the most informed among us! This is brought to the surface in a vivid account by Dawn Moonbisexual flag titled “How Queerness Erased Bisexuality”  In this article Dawn recounts the challenges lurking under the surface over the years working as a queer activist. Her explanation of “Q” is one of the best I have seen:

To me, as a queer activist and young scholar in the early 1990s, the term queer seemed to capture it all — the political urgency of combating heterosexism, my feeling and knowledge that the binaries of gender and sexual orientation were created through forced conformity and repression, the indeterminateness of my own experiences of gender and sexual attraction.

But the message of her article focuses on the many ways in which bisexuality is erased in the contexts of even our most dedicated LGBTQ spaces where sexual and gender diversity are valued.  Drawing on her own experience of feeling compelled to hide her bisexual identity for fear of being relegated to an “outsider” space in that even the most radical queer theorists and activists tended to imply bisexuality as being pretty much “straight.”  The fact remains that the prevailing ideas of L, G, and T remain anchored in a realm of gender and sex binaries of male or female.  Queer theory and activism has aimed to dismantle and problematize these binaries, but have failed so far to deal with  “inbetween-ness” possibilities and complexities.  Dawn described how she came to feel compelled to tell her story, concluding that:

The alphabet soup acknowledges all the people who are harmed by a rigid gender binary, but queer politics is just beginning to open up to the vast ranges of human possibility. 

I highly recommend reading Dawn’s story – it raises important issues for all of us!

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GLMA Nursing Summit and Annual Conference – September 13-16

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality is the only organization and dedicated to advancing LGBTQ health and healthcare!  The Annual Conference, along with the Nursing Summit, convenes this year in Philadelphia at the Doubletree Center City hotel.  The Nursing Summit will be all day on September 13th, followed by the GLMA conference opening reception in the evening, and the multi-disciplinary conference continuing through Saturday the 16th.  Visit the GLMA nursing website for a sneak peak at the Summit program, and the GLMA website for details about the conference program!  GLMA is the only only organization bringing together LGBT health care professionals from all disciplines, and the GLMA nursing section is the only “home” for LGBTQ nurses!  All are welcome to join us!  Registration details are here!

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Pride Month!

All over the world LGBTQ communities are celebrating our achievements and to inspire movement going forward!  The month of June was designated as “gay pride” month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, which were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. The riots were in response to police raids and brutality aimed and gay and lesbian residents frequenting social clubs in the city.  While much has changed since those days, and we have many LGBTQ rights to celebrate, the very occasions of public pride events in towns and cities all over the world draw attention to ongoing challenges for LGBTQ people and families.  These celebrations are reminders that all of us can, in even small was, contribute to improving the health and well-being of all LGBTQ people, and assuring that all receive the best quality of nursing and health care. All healthcare providers can join in celebrating LGBTQ pride by tuning in to resources that provide insight about the needs of our communities.  For example, HealthCetera, the blog for the interdisciplinary Center for Health Media Policy, is celebrating Pride month with a focus on how one health center cares for the transgender community. And of course, follow our LavenderHealth blog and explore the many resources we make available for all to access and use freely!

And not be missed … the annual premier event focused on LGBTQ health and healthcare. This year the GLMA: Health Professional Advancing LGBT  Equality annual conference will be in Philadelphia, September 13-16, 2017.  The entire day of September 13 will be dedicated to the Nursing Summit – so plan to attend!  For more information visit the GLMA Nursing website!

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A new podcast to check out – em dash

Kimberly Acquaviva is hosting a new podcast, em dash, to explore diverse patients’ and healthcare professionals’ lived experiences in healthcare.  The topics are far-ranging- Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 5.04.02 PMmany of them you will not encounter in most of the podcast – or larger media world!  You can subscribe on iTunes, or listen on Stitcher.  Full disclosure – Kim interviewed me for the March 14th episode!  Here is a summary of the episodes so far:

March 27 – Meet Amy Berman, a nurse living with Stage IV breast cancer. Amy describes the moment she went from being a nurse to being someone with a terminal illness, and she talks about living – really living – for the six and a half years since her diagnosis thanks to the care she’s received from palliative care professionals. You can follow Amy on Twitter at @NotesOnNursing.

March 17 – Meet Laura Antoniou and Karen Taylor, together for 19 years. Laura is a novelist, pornographer, and self-described “pervert.” Karen is a social service professional and kink aficionado. Laura, Karen, and I talk about sadomasochism, consent, and what healthcare professionals need to know in order to meet the needs of patients who practice BDSM. Also in this episode: the literary dumpster fire that is “Fifty Shades of Grey” and why you shouldn’t get your sex advice from Cosmo. (If you’re a healthcare professional and you’re freaked out a little by the previous 4 sentences, you definitely need to listen to this episode. Seriously). You can follow Laura on Twitter at @LAntoniou.

March 14 – Meet Dr. Peggy Chinn, Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Connecticut. Peggy and I talk about her experiences in the 1970’s as a feminist lesbian nurse educator and how perceptions of lesbian nurses have changed since then. Peggy also describes the 1982 birth of “Cassandra: The Radical Feminist Nurses Network.” You can follow Peggy on Twitter at @PeggyChinn

March 5 – Meet Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. Rachel and I talk about her experiences as a physician who is transgender, about privilege, and about the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s commitment to transgender youth.

February 23 – Meet Dr. Mitchell Tepper, a Sexuality Counselor whose focus is educating people about sexuality and disability. Mitch is a person with a spinal cord injury who has a master’s degree in public health from Yale University, a PhD in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a 30-year marriage, and a 20-year old son. He’s also an AASECT-Certified Sexuality Educator, Educator Supervisor, and Sexuality Counselor. Mitch and I talk about sex, disability, and what healthcare professionals can do to be more supportive of patients with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities when it comes to sex. *Note to listeners: This episode contains content about sex. Mention is made of vibrators, cock rings, ejaculation, and erections.

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Early Signal: Roll-back on protection for transgender children and youth in U.S. schools

The newly inaugurated U.S. President, during his campaign, made promises of continuing protections for LGBTQ people in the U.S. – promises that were viewed by skepticism by many advocates of human rights.  And indeed, the skepticism was affirmed this week when the President issued an executive order, in the form of a letter to the nation’s schools, that they do not need to observe the protection given by President Obama to assure that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their gender identity.  Even though the letter states that the administration still opposes discrimination and bullying of all disadvantaged students, this claim is blatantly negated by the fact that they are targeting one of the most vulnerable groups of children and youth in our schools, and leaving it to the states to decide whether or not transgender kids can use the bathroom of their choice. Let’s be very clear – this is not about bathrooms – it is about the understanding that LGBTQ people of all ages deserve full human rights protections at every level – an understanding that clearly this administration does not share.

The Human Rights Campaign, among many other LGBTQ advocate organizations, has taken an immediate and strong stand against this order, and has organized a group of parents of transgender children and youth to take public action on behalf of their children’s rights.  Read more here  about the HRC stand, and the actions they are organizing.

And let us know about actions in your local area to protect LGBTQ rights – both in the U.S. and in other countries around the world.  Leave your stories, reports and comments here!  Even the act of sharing is vital to the ongoing activism that is needed to protect LGBTQ rights!screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-10-09-30-am

Posted in Children and Youth, Join the discussion, LGBTQ Human Rights, Transgender Health | 1 Comment