A few years ago, Chicago will be played host to the 2009 National LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) Health Summit. Beginning August 14th and running through the 18th, the Summit will focus on “Health Through the Life Course” and is dedicated to preserving and improving the emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, environmental, and social health and wellness of LGBTI people of all races, ages, and professional/non professional backgrounds; from urban and rural settings; representing every socioeconomic class.
The Summit kicks off its first day with the Bi Health Summit, the purpose of which is to share knowledge about health issues affecting bisexuals and men and women who have multi-gendered sexuality, and to build health advocacy skills among bisexual people and our allies.
Significantly, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In the same way the riots kicked off four dynamic decades of gay activism around civil rights, Summit organizers in Chicago hope for this gathering (sans broken bottles) to amp up awareness, advocacy, education and energy around the assets and challenges in our communities that impact our health outcomes.
“This anniversary is a significant milestone in the LGBTI rights movement in the Unites States and a great time to focus on improving the health and well being of our diverse communities,” said Cat Jefcoat, Summit co-chair and Director of the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center.
This Summit is the 4th of its kind, Philadelphia hosted the last National LGBTI Health Summit in 2007, and previous conferences have been held in Cambridge and Denver. Local partners for the 2009 Summit include AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Howard Brown Health Center who are organizational co-chairs. In addition, Center on Halsted, Test Positive Aware Network, Haymarket Center, and the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Office of LGBT Health are also involved in planning and outreach activities, among others.
This is a video taken from an even more recent summit:
According to Simone Koehlinger, the Director of the Office of LGBT Health, “we are very excited to be a part of the Summit planning. The LGBT community is not always used to focusing on and celebrating our health. In fact, we often battle messages that tell us that we don’t matter or that we are inherently unhealthy. This event will serve as a strong antidote to those messages.”