NBJC Recognizes 2016 National LGBT Health Awareness Week
Washington, DC – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is proud to join the National Coalition for LGBT Health and other partner organizations during the 14th Annual National LGBT Health Awareness Week, March 28-April 1. This week is dedicated to bringing to light the healthcare challenges that impact the overall health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Utilizing the 2016 theme, “OUTvisible: Redefining Stigma in LGBT Healthcare from Invisible to OUTVisible,” this week’s activities will focus heavily on combatting stigma and the ways in which it hinders LGBT people from getting tested and treated for STDs like HIV, overall PrEP usage, and mental health screenings, in addition to discrimination when accessing healthcare.
“Although the movement for LGBT equality has made tremendous strides in recent years with the support of many efforts by the Obama Administration, too many Black LGBT Americans remain vulnerable to a number of unique challenges, especially when it comes to accessing quality, culturally competent healthcare in our nation,” said Venton C. Jones, Jr., NBJC’s Program Officer for LGBT Health and Wellness Initiatives. “When one is both LGBT and a member of a racial or ethnic minority, research continues to show us that these communities often face the highest levels of health disparities. The need remains for effective interventions in order to address the health challenges LGBT communities of color face, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic which disproportionately impacts Black gay/bisexual men, and transgender women.”
Low rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination, and a lack of cultural competency in the health care system leave LGBT people at a higher risk for HIV infections, cancer, mental illnesses, and other diseases—and ultimately more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, and engage in other high risk activities. This reality has placed health and wellness of the Black LGBT population as a foundational pillar of advocacy for NBJC.
As part of the 2016 LGBT Health Awareness Week, NBJC was featured in a webinar, OUTcompetent: Cultural Competency and the Stigmatization of STDs, HIV, PrEP, and Mental Health, sponsored by the National Coalition for LGBT Health. OUTcompetent is defined as being culturally competent and inclusive when treating LGBT patients and recognizing their unique needs. The one-hour webinar discussed stigma in the areas of HIV, PrEP usage, STDs and mental health.
In addition to this webinar, the Coalition will launch the "State of LGBT Health" national survey and will be active on social media with its partners—working to educate the public and raise awareness of stigma and LGBT health disparities. The social media guide is available on the Coalition's website here or at 2016 LGBT Health Awareness Week Social Media Guide. Other partnering organizations for the week include the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, Lambda Legal, National Coalition for Behavioral Health, National Coalition of STD Directors, Men’s Health Network and Out2Enroll.