For the LGBT community, next week's official agenda is health. From March 13-19, the D.C.-based National Coalition for LGBT Health presents LGBT Health Awareness Week, and from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, El Paso to Des Moines, communities across America are promoting the health of pink patients.
"LGBT Americans, in addition to having the same basic health needs as the general population, have increased health disparities because of continuing discrimination and ignorance related to sexual orientation or gender identity, a fact confirmed by a growing body of scientific and social research," said coalition co-chair Henia Handler, emphasizing the importance of this third annual event in a prepared statement.
Although many events in D.C. are part of the regular offerings of Whitman-Walker Clinic, there are a few new calendar standouts. One is the Wellness Day at the Clinic's Lesbian Services Project on Saturday, March 19, from noon to 4 p.m., which will include cooking demonstrations, yoga, and other treats to keep local lesbians in tip-top shape.
There are several opportunities to meet and greet the movers and shakers of America's gay-health community, including a reception Sunday, March 13, at the Radisson Barceló Hotel, with light hors d'oeuvre and a cash bar from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday's mix and mingle is a smoke-free bash at Halo for the National LGBT Tobacco Policy Partners Reception, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association will hold a reception as well on Wednesday, March 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Capitol, room HC-8.
"[LGBT Health Awareness Week] gives the clinic an opportunity to bring focus back to the programs we have here," says Whitman-Walker's Chip Lewis. "There's more media effort [and] advertising. It gives us an opportunity to talk about it more."
Washington is also the site of a related, private event, the spring meeting of the National Coalition for LGBT Health, March 13-15. Among the topics to be tackled are LGBT health under the Bush administration, crystal methamphetamine addiction in the gay community, and lobbying members of Congress and federal agencies.