Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yes Anita, there is a gay agenda...

The 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda

In January, a new president will ascend to power and the 111th Congress will convene in Washington, DC. What do we want to tell them? How will they know what matters to us?

Let's put a document in the hands of each and every one of our elected leaders that lets them know exactly what we want, when we want it, where, and how we should get there.

What is the agenda that we-gay, bi, and transgender men and other men who have sex with men-must pursue to improve the health and wellbeing of our community?

What federal initiatives, campaigns, laws, activities, strategies and directives are needed in the United States to allow gay men, and our future generations, the opportunity to fulfill their/our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

These are the critical questions and issues The 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda will describe. Your wisdom, your concerns and your ideas will supply the answers. Submit your input to and we will categorize, collate, and organize them into a simple and powerful plan.

Without a map, we'll never get to where we want to go. Help supply the directions today! You may leave a comment here, or e-mail your ideas to LifeLube.

Michael from Boston got us started with the following ideas. If you agree with Michael, please say so! The more input we have, the better! (And many thanks Michael, this is a great start!!!)

- Strategies to include sexual orientation and sexual behavior questions on all federally funded population based studies.

- The establishment of a national office of LGBT health.

- Marriage amendment to allow gay marriage and all the rights and priviledges there of

- Develop of a national AIDS strategy to eliminate HIV infection in one decade domestically.

- Redirection of federal dollars to allow citizens free access to healthcare and treatment.

- Focus on vaccine and microbicide research (vaginal and rectal)

- Reversal of HIV immigration policies


  1. How about culturally competent mental health and substance abuse treatment on demand?

  2. Along those lines, fund the evaluation and expansion of training programs that promote competency among providers to serve LGBT people.

    Also, all federal and publicly funded health programs should have nondiscriminatory language related to sexual orientation.

    (both ideas borrowed from Companion Document for LGBT Health, Healthy People 2010.)

  3. This may not be a gay thing exactly, but let's lift the ban on federal dollars being used to support needle exchange program activities!

    Thanks for doing this!

  4. 1. a national campaign to combat bullying against gay kids in schools
    2. end the discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage
    3. nationwide comprehensive sex education that includes information about abstinence, birth control, STDs, and gay sex
    4. a national survey to assess the health of GBT men

  5. Pardon me if this is a little too detailed, but I've been thinking a lot lately about access to different health care providers without always having to go to a primary care physician for referrals, assuming you have insurance plans that dictate primary care contact first.

    I'm not comfortable with the person I had to more or less randomly choose as my primary care physician here in Boston, but so few doctors are taking new patients here that it's hard to move around. I want to be able to go to community-supported health care clinics, like Fenway, when I have gay-specific health needs, but don't want to have to schedule time to ask my primary care physician to do so.

    Beyond my specific experience, I think health care regulation needs to recognize community health needs, allowing for more flexibility in how we seek our care, with whom and in what time frame.

    Thanks for collecting this information!

  6. I just harvested the following comments from the Bloggernista blog - who posted on our quest for a 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda. Thanks Bloggernista for the support! And thanks for the input... jim de lifelube


    Christopher, on April 13th, 2008 at 6:18 am Said:

    end the discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage

    Here, Here.

    This one gets me out of bed in the morning.

    libhomo, on April 13th, 2008 at 10:33 am Said:

    The most important items for me are:

    - A Manhattan Project to cure AIDS

    - Real anti-discrimination legislation in employment, housing, and public accomodations.

    - Including sexual orientation and gender identity in federal hate crimes statutes. (The current legislation is only a funding bill for local law enforcement authorities.)

    LP, on April 14th, 2008 at 2:34 pm Said:

    Interesting, though here is my take:
    1. a national campaign to combat bullying. period.
    2. end civil marriage, thus nullifying a cacophony of problems
    3. force parents at gunpoint to teach their kids to not be stupid, possibly by hitting them. repeatedly.
    4. a national survey to assess the health of everyone

  7. Okay, more harvesting of comments. Our friends at Bilerico also ran an item for us and here is the input so far. THANKS Bilerico!



    1. School bullying
    2. Civil rights in all states - fully inclusive, of course

    If others leave their suggestions here, I'll wrap them up into one e-mail and send them on to LifeLube.
    Author Profile Page
    Bil Browning | April 12, 2008 5:41 PM

    Available counseling in schools, prisons, and to the general public to deal with issues of self hatred and hatred of others on LGBTQ, religious, ageist, and racial matters.
    Author Profile Page
    Robert Ganshorn | April 13, 2008 12:16 AM

    Textbooks that include the positive representation of LGBTQ people.
    Author Profile Page
    Serena Freewomyn | April 13, 2008 2:41 AM

    Hey! I just want to thank Michael and Bilerico for posting this, and to the folks who have already sent in their comments here, and via e-mail. The input is fabulous - and your energy around this much appreciated.
    Jim Pickett | April 13, 2008 10:44 AM

    Thanks Bil,
    All of the above. I'm from PA, one of the worse states.
    Also a repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Face it we are there. We just can't tell anyone about it.
    tobyhannabill | April 13, 2008 11:00 AM

  8. Jim de LifeLube here again, this time harvesting comments from the Feast of Fools site....



    I think I agree with all of that except the national office of GLBT health, I think that more effort in the already formed government office towards issues that affect ALL sexual relations is appropriate. How vaccines are tested typically on hetero sexual experiences only seems to intentionally create worse situations in the GLBT community.

    Creating a separate office for something like this is counter productive when all sexual relations affect each other. There are cross-overs into each preference, gay guy sleeping with the bi guy sleeping with the woman who sleeps with the straight guy who sleeps with the tranny and so on for example.

    If that makes sense.



    I think that sex education should be mandatory for all schools. Not just highschools (which for most teens is too late) but Jr. High definitely. And the education should not just consist of ways to protect yourself from HIV/AIDS and other STD's (which we all know) but really inform these young women what happens to your body when you become pregnant, prenatal care, and what psychological changes they go through. We need youths to know what happens if you contract a disease, and what should you do afterwards and of course how to deal with being positive about being positive.

    Our city's biggest problem with teenagers is pregnancy (from my own view point) I have more friends my age and under with kids than I know adults with kids. I think abstinence is a great thing to teach in schools, but what is there to really teach about it? "don't do it" "wait until marriage"? Kids are having sex at younger ages all the time, pretty soon we might need to start sex ed. in elementary schools.

  9. In the UK at least we also need:
    free access to condoms for all prisoners
    equal access to fertility treatments
    access rights for non-residential gay dads (currently dads have responsibility but no access/rearing rights) Family law does not treat men equally.

  10. Hmm, I pondered this one for a while because the US is so much larger than the UK and federal approaches seem to be limited by state and city autonomy and I still struggle to get my head around who has the power to do what, but that being said my top ten would be:

    1- standardised national bi-annual LGBT health survey to show and explore trends, with national data collection questions for sexual orientation and gender identity (something we are still struggling with in the UK)

    2- explicit commitment to including of LGB and T issues in all government policy as part of regulatory impact assessment which is audited and results of the audit published.

    3- federal anti-discrimination legislation similar to that in Europe which protects not just in employment but also in provision of goods and services.

    4- requirement that the national curriculum in schools includes explicit teaching on sexual identity, same sex relationships, homophobia and transphobia and heterosexism.

    5- exemption of condoms from state taxes (not sure if this is currently in place but does have an impact for low income gay men).

    6- commitment to annual national HIV and STD prevention television, radio and print media campaign which includes gay men.

    7- inclusion of sexual identity health and gender identity health in medical curriculum as part of the core curriculum and registration examinations (although not direct federal control the goverment normally sign off medical curriculum in some dark office!)

    8- national audit of number of deaths and serious injury related to homophobic or transphobic attacks.

    9- review of armed forces policy towards LGB and T personal and the impact of 'don't ask, don't tell'

    10- creation of a international advisory group on LGBT health which would meet on a quarterly basis to advise the federal government on LGBT health issues. This would be separate to a lobby group and form part of the civil service infrastructure with a direct line to the president and congress on an annual basis with an annual speech from the chair.

    I think the challenge in defining the focus is what is within the federal power base and what can realistically be achieved, I believe in a mixed bag approach of short term quick wins and longer term aspirations.

    Hope their helpful

  11. 1. regarding the above comment:
    > "Also, all federal and publicly > funded health programs should
    > have nondiscriminatory language > related to sexual orientation."

    make that broader to all federally funded agencies, offices, and any entity that receives federal funds or matching grants must have nondiscriminatory language related to sexual orientation which is equally and fairly enforced, including language forbidding retaliation for reporting. discrimination." This would include ANY group receiving ANY federal funds - from Joe Senator's election campaign office to NPR to Goodwill Industries.

    why limit non-discrimination to only health services?

    2. Sensivity training with follow-up evaluation of behavior for all federal employees from the President to the lowliest part-time janitor.

    3. free, confidential counseling for those questioning their sexual orientation and who want the services.

    4. Revoke tax-exempt status to any organization practicing discrimination with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.

    5. Legislation that mandates federal research & health dollars be spent according to factors such as prevalence and seriousness of an illness, not according to what's politically correct or in vogue. (A disease affecting 1 person shouldn't get more money than one affecting 50 people, but a deadly illness affecting 15 people would get more $ than a minor rash affecting 150 people which passes after a week without treatment. )

    6. A public apology from the President and Congress for the underfunding of HIV/AIDs research in the early days.

    6. End the ban on gays in military. A public apology from the president and congress or both to all those who were affected.

    7. Marriage treated equally under the law regardless of the genders. All federal workers including military to be treated the same with respect to all family leave or other such policies.

    8. Amend FMLA laws to mandata all employers to treat same gender vs. opposite gender partnerships equally and due to the lack of gay marriage until recently to give committed domestic partners the same benefits as if married.


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