Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Health Summit 2002
August 21-25, 2002
Imagine a major convergence of health providers, activists, policymakers, researchers, and organizers focused on the health and wellness of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) in the United States.
Imagine spending a solid chunk of time together, broadening all-too-familiar discussions of low self-esteem, risk behaviors, and internalized phobias into conversations about joy, pleasure, resilience, communal strengths, self-care, and health promotion.
Imagine spending several days immersed in discussion and debate with members of our exciting and diverse communities, linking activism to health care provision, politics to health care policy, research to social justice.
If these possibilities intrigue you, please join us August 21-25, 2002, in Boulder, Colorado, for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Health Summit 2002. Plan your schedule so that you can be an active participant in this historic event!
The past few years have seen a slow but steady increase in efforts to support the health of LGBTI communities nationally and locally. For example, in the last year LGBTI health advocacy in local communities has intensified, and a number of LGBTI organizations around the country have coalesced to work together on health advocacy, policy, research, and education. At the same time, lesbian health activists have made impressive inroads into the federal government’s health activities, and gay men have initiated their own movements to grapple with gay men’s health issues including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS. Bisexual, transgender, and intersex people have drawn unprecedented and long-overdue attention to their health needs.
But a huge amount of work lies ahead. LGBTI involvement in grassroots organizing, street activism, and political protest-so central to the fight against AIDS-seems at an all-time low. The annual lesbian and gay health conference in which many of us participated for almost two decades ground to a halt five years ago and has yet to be revived. While LGBTI health issues gained visibility during the Clinton administration, the first year of the Bush administration has rolled back some of those gains.
Ten diverse activists are working collectively to initiate LGBTI Health Summit 2002. Our aim is to bring together people throughout the nation working on a wide range of LGBTI health issues. A warm welcome will be extended to all interested in these issues: service providers, researchers, policymakers, activists, writers, teachers, caregivers, “rank-and-file” LGBTI people, and allies. A similarly broad spectrum of issues will be explored: the summit will function as a forum where all perspectives are welcome.
The Summit collective has designed this event to be different from most health conferences, though it will contain such program features as workshops, plenary sessions, panels, and academic presentations. We aim for it to be different in three key ways:
(1) The Summit will be energizing and interactive, with a program that prioritizes activities, debates, simulations, and other innovative forms of interaction rather than relying only on lectures and panels of “experts.”
(2) The program will focus on cutting-edge issues, new and vexing questions, and unusual approaches to LGBTI health and wellness, rather than concentrating narrowly on the same issues we’ve discussed for years, utilizing the same analyses and the usual approaches.
(3) The event itself will nurture the health and wellness of participants. Rather than present an overwhelming schedule, keeping participants busy every minute from 8 am until midnight, this Summit aims to be a model of balance, and will include ample opportunities for recreation, exercise, self-care, and community-building.
The Summit collective is comprised of volunteers offering their time and resources to create an event that will make a genuine, long-lasting difference to the health of LGBTI people. We are not aiming to establish an organization, grab power, or create a star system among health organizers. Furthermore, the Summit is not being organized by any established formal organization and is not backed by any large financial resources; the collective has also committed to refuse any funding that we believe would compromise the vision and the programming of the event. While funds will be sought to provide scholarships for participants in need, most of us will be funding ourselves to participate, because we strongly believe in the importance of this undertaking.