Takeaways from It’s Ok to Not Be Ok: Part 1 – Physical Health

Thank you to Our Sponsors - North Shore Pride Community Forum It's Ok to Not Be Ok - Dr. Helena Santos-Martinez and Right at Home In Home Homecare

It’s Ok to Not Be Ok was sponsored by Right at Home In Home Care and Dr. Helena Santos-Martins. Technical support was provided by Creative Collective and interpretive services by Partners Healthcare.

Content Warning: This video may not be suitable for young viewers as it is a frank discussion of healthcare issues within the LGBTQ+ community.

This past week we hosted our October community forum: It’s Ok to Not Be Ok. The discussion centered on health and health policy for the LGBT community in light of October being health awareness month. Syd Sennett, peer leader for NAGLY and board member of North Shore Pride, moderated the panel.

Important note: this panel is a part of North Shore Pride’s educational mission and any health concerns that you may personally have, you should always go talk with your doctor.

 

Because a lot of information was discussed during the event, we’ll break it up into four “takeaways” posts in the coming weeks. 

Physical Health Takeaways from It’s Ok to Not Be Ok

What are the primary medical inquiries specific to our LGBTQ+ community? How do people come out to their health provider? How do you know what health provider to see?  How do we navigate through this pandemic?

Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, Senior Outreach Manager of Fenway Community Health led this portion of the panel, discussing his role at Fenway Health and how LGBTQ+ community members can make the most of their healthcare. 

“It’s very important to be out to your providers,” said Coco, with the added caveat that sometimes that isn’t always safe, easy, or possible, “because without that, the provider really can't know how to provide the best care possible.”

“It’s very important to be out to your providers,” said Coco, with the added caveat that sometimes that isn’t always safe, easy, or possible, “because without that, the provider really can’t know how to provide the best care possible.”

 

Adrian Shanker and Fonda Feeling also contributed to the discussion, adding a bit more about why healthcare providers ought to provide more information and access to care for the LGBTQ+ community than they do, and what LGBTQ+ individuals can do if they don’t immediately have access to programs as comprehensive as Fenway Health. 

“We have this false narrative that says LGBTQ people experience health challenges when it comes to, you know, HIV or sexual health, and that the rest of our bodies are somehow devoid from disparities. But the truth is, that if you, if you're an LGBTQ person, and you have skin, then you experience challenges when it comes to dermatology. And if you have a heart, then there's that part. There's issues related to our whole bodies our whole lives,” Adrian Shanker, Editor of Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health 

“We have this false narrative that says LGBTQ people experience health challenges when it comes to, you know, HIV or sexual health, and that the rest of our bodies are somehow devoid from disparities. But the truth is, that if you, if you’re an LGBTQ person, and you have skin, then you experience challenges when it comes to dermatology. And if you have a heart, then there’s that part. There’s issues related to our whole bodies our whole lives,” Adrian Shanker, Editor of Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health

 

“All clinicians should be able to treat LGBT+ individuals no matter what,” said Fonda Feeling of Good Vibrations Boston. “The fact is, we live in a world where that's not always reality. And people aren't always willing to do that. So it's really important to acknowledge the community aspect of community health, particularly in the queer communities, we have whisper networks, we have all of these amazing social connections that make it possible for us to get the social care as well as the health care that we need, and we deserve.” 

“All clinicians should be able to treat LGBT+ individuals no matter what,” said Fonda Feeling of Good Vibrations Boston. “The fact is, we live in a world where that’s not always reality. And people aren’t always willing to do that. So it’s really important to acknowledge the community aspect of community health, particularly in the queer communities, we have whisper networks, we have all of these amazing social connections that make it possible for us to get the social care as well as the health care that we need, and we deserve.”

Relevant Links and Articles

It’s Ok to Not Be Ok was sponsored by Right at Home In Home Care and Dr. Helena Santos-Martins. Technical support was provided by Creative Collective and interpretive services by Partners Healthcare.

Panelists Included:

  • Myozen Joan Amaral: Founder and Guiding Teacher, Zen Center North Shore
  • Fonda Feeling: Aerialist and Burlesque Performer and Sex Educator with Good Vibrations, Cambridge and Brookline
  • Adrian Shanker: Editor, Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health and Executive Director Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Allentown, PA
  • Dr. Karen Vautour: Clinical Director, North Shore Counseling Center, Beverly, MA
  • Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, Senior Outreach Manager of Fenway Community Health, Aids Action and the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center
  • Syd Sennett, Board Member, North Shore Pride, Inc. and Peer leader at NAGLY

 

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