Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Mid Week Mash Up

The Chicago organizers of the 2009 National LGBT Health Summit are excited to announce the launch of their new website – a one-stop-shop for all related organizing and planning activities. The Summit is scheduled for August 14-18, 2009 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Visit the Summit’s website here –“We are delighted to welcome LGBTI health communities from across the country and around the world to Chicago this August,” said Summit co-chair Cat Jefcoat, Director of the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC). “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, a significant milestone in the LGBTI rights movement in the Unites States and a great time to focus on improving the health and well being of our diverse communities.”The 2009 National LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Health Summit is an event dedicated to preserving and improving the emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, environmental, and social health and wellness of LGBTI people, a population that continues to experience significant health disparities because of its members’ sexual orientations and/or gender identities. The Summit’s theme is “Health Through the Life Course” and individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities and professional backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Students are also welcomed!The Bi Health Summit will be held in conjunction with the LGBTI Health Summit on August 14th, although bisexual health issues will be addressed throughout the five days in workshops and panels.The Summit’s newly launched website allows for a range of interactive planning activities, including registration, housing, fundraising, and workshop proposal submission. It also includes information on the Bi Health Summit.“The site offers the opportunity for our communities throughout the country and across two oceans to regularly interact with each other, offer input, and become engaged early and often in every aspect of the planning process,” said Summit co-chair Jim Pickett, Director of Advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). “Users can participate in discussion forums, volunteer, apply for scholarships, develop ideas for programming– including social activities–and ensure the process is open and dynamic.”Philadelphia hosted the last National LGBTI Health Summit in 2007. This year’s Summit in Chicago will be the fourth gathering of its kind. Local organizational partners currently include Center on Halsted, Test Positive Aware Network, Haymarket Center, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Office of LGBT Health, AFC and HBHC, among others. Organizers may be contacted through the Summit website

Relationships 101: Last week this forum ebbed and flowed through the trials of relationships. I offered numerous items that impact such unions and the aftermath of discovering that maybe you and your significant other may be drifting. I also shared my own personal insight and "drama" in a long term relationship. After much reflection and assessment, me and my other half have come to the conclusion that not only does love conquer all, but it also builds bridges. Our multi-year entanglement has been a journey that perhaps some other couples could not have survived and in most estimates simply don't. Sharing your life with a companion for a period of time can be the most challenging experience of your lifetime. It's a day to day tug of war to keep it funky fresh, communicative, as well as in motion, all juxtaposed to dealing with the world at large. I've seen a variety of couplings from the extreme violent battering duo to those who seem to have a different mate every six months. I suggest that you determined what you are looking for within that individual with the realization that each of you have baggage to bring on the trip. Don't' set you standards so out of bounds that you find out that "no one is really into you." It's not pretty being "bitter-party of one." I'm proud to state that together we've struggled, struck out and stuck it out while approaching year 14. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are seeking that special person to share your life, take it slow and easy, but remember you've got to keep it real to make it work out. Got relationship stories to share, lets hear them. Meanwhile, Happy hunting!

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