Our program focuses on promoting sexual health in young people, which is more than just the absence of diseases like HIV. Being healthy also means having positive romantic relationships and accepting ones sexuality.
The IMPACT Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago announced the release of its new educational campaign entitled “I Heart My Sexuality”. The campaign is a series of videos gathered from interviews in the community that highlight the strengths of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, instill pride in the community, and tell stories of healthy relationships. The IMPACT team set up a video booth at the 2010 Chicago Pride Festival and Dyke March and asked people to share their stories. The videos were created in partnership with BeyondMedia Education, an award winning non-profit organization dedicated to using media for social change.
According to Dr. Brian Mustanski, the Director of the IMPACT Program, “we created these videos because our research with LGBT young people shows that they want to learn more about healthy same-sex relationships. Our program focuses on promoting sexual health in young people, which is more than just the absence of diseases like HIV. Being healthy also means having positive romantic relationships and accepting ones sexuality.”
The first set of videos, set to launch September 21st 2010, explore relationships, being single, and the important of family and community. With over a hundred interviews of LGBT young people, the videos show a diverse group of people discussing why they “heart” their sexuality.
In addition to videos, the IMPACT team collected nearly two hundred post cards on which people wrote positive and encouraging notes regarding why they love their sexual orientation. The post cards were just released on the IMPACT website, allowing users to review the cards and read the inspiring and sometimes funny messages.
The I Heart My Sexuality campaign will be hosted on the IMPACT program website and YouTube page. Later stages of the campaign will include interviews with same-sex couples and will also be hosted at the IMPACT website. To view the I Heart My Sexuality campaign, check out www.impactprogram.org after September 21st!
The IMPACT Program is in the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago and conducts translational research on LGBT Health and Development. By “translational,” we mean that we seek to identify health issues, understand factors that put people at risk or protect them, and turn that knowledge into programs that advance the health of LGBT people and communities.