Girl Power

Daylong conference strives to encourage healthy living among LBTQ women

Think of “Queer Life, Queer Love” as a sweeping 101 course for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LBTQ) women, on how to live happy, healthy lives, and you might be able to understand how it strives to answer questions on a wide range of topics.

“How do we build stronger, healthier relationships? How do we negotiate safer sex?” asks Annie Shaw, director of Whitman-Walker Clinic’s Lesbian Services Program, the group producing the daylong conference, Saturday, Nov. 3, at George Washington University’s Ross Hall.

“If we realize that there are some things about our relationships that aren’t healthy, where can we go to work on ourselves?”

Shaw says she is hoping to introduce different topics and resources to attendees during the event, LSP’s first conference since the program launched at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1990.

“We’ve never had one before,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for people to come and meet other women, and to learn more about topics that affect us in our daily lives.”

Those topics include sex, finances, spirituality, reproduction, protection of LBTQ families, domestic violence, among others, addressed during 12 information sessions delivered by experienced professionals such as local lesbian attorney Michele Zavos; Jeannette Kossuth, of the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; and Jane Gould, of the Whitman-Walker Clinic’s TransSpectrum Support Group. Members of LSP’s Black Lesbian Support Group are set to present “Be Silent No More,” a series of interactive skits illustrating what abuse is and how it can escalate in a relationship.

All of which is vital information for LBTQ women, 16 and older, says Shaw. And while gay men are welcome to attend the event, Shaw advises that “there’s not going to be a lot of programming specifically” for men.

“It is for the queer community, for lesbian and bisexual women, transgender men and women who identify with us.”

“Queer Life, Queer Love” was WWC Executive Director Donald Blanchon’s idea.

“He [wanted to] attract different people, to work differently in the community,” says Shaw, “and suggested the idea of a health and wellness conference for Lesbian Services Program.”

Why now?

“Because Whitman-Walker Clinic has expanded to primary medical care, so we do serve everyone,” Shaw says. “We actually have OBGYN services, we have obstetrics — these are all essential services.

“We’re doing more at Whitman-Walker Clinic than many people know.”

“Queer Life, Queer Love: LBTQ People Living Life Fully” runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 3, at George Washington University’s Ross Hall, 2300 I St. NW. Registration costs $20, and should be done no later than Wednesday, Oct. 31. To register, visit www.wwc.org/lsp or call 202-797-3580. An “after party” social is scheduled to follow the conference, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., at Ras Dashen, 1914 9th St. NW. Admission is $10.