Courtesy of Living Out Loud
The six-month-old LGBTQ health and wellness center Living Out Loud
is hosting a forum with representatives of the Tucson Police Department to discuss violence against LGBTQ people in the city and what can be done to prevent it.
"Our trans members are constantly being harassed at the bus stop and while riding the bus. One was even strangled," says Letty Fields, one of the center's therapists. "Episodes occur on the street, and most of our trans folks will not go out after dark alone."
Kent Burbank of the Pima County Attorney's Office put Fields in touch with TPD Capt. Mike Gillooly, commander for the midtown district, and Capt. Carla Johnson, who is the GLBT liaison for TPD.
"They were both very concerned and jumped at the chance to come and talk at LOL. Mostly, they will talk about keeping safe, filing a police report, reporting harassment and other issue’s that might come up like how to deal with Sun Tran drivers," she says.
LOL, part of CODAC Behavioral Health Services, has been open since December. It began offering most of its services in the spring.
Here's a little bit of what I wrote about the clinic in January:
All staff and volunteers are LGBTQI-identified and allies who have worked with the community. Some of them will be transferring to LOL from the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and other CODAC facilities.
The LOL center is filling up a huge gap of health needs in the community.
For many LGBTQI people in the region, fear of discrimination or a health provider's lack of knowledge for how to care for them–this is especially true for transgender and gender nonconforming patients–is what has been keeping them from even going to the doctor.
Many primary care clinic questionnaires don't even include questions relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.
An October 2010 survey by the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force says that out of more than 7,000 LGBTQI people surveyed, close to 30 percent postponed visiting the doctor and that same number reported being harassed at a health center. Half of them said they ended up having to teach the doctors and health providers about transgender care and 19 percent said they were refused care due to their transgender and gender nonconforming status.
The LGBTQ-TPD forum is happening Friday, June 12 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the LOL clinic, 3130 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page