One Data Set Does Not Fit All

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health

This morning, I had the privilege of attending Reaching Priority Communities and Supporting Policies, a panel consisting of the six sister networks of CDC disparity populations – Break Free Alliance, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network,  Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership, National Native Network, National Latino Tobacco Control Network, and our very own Network for LGBT Health Equity. It was so great to see so many connections being made throughout these organizations, but at the same time it was so overwhelming! So many amazing points were made that there is absolutely no way I would be able to summarize all of it without writing a megillah.

That being said, I think it’s important to give you all some takeaways shared by each of the organizations.

Break Free Alliance – It’s about leveling the playing field. We don’t want exemptions in any policy.

National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network – One data set does not fit all.

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership— Leadership is not just the 3 D’s: Doctors, Deans, and Directors.

National Native Network— The burden of commercial tobacco is incredibly relevant to our communities, and needs to be discussed from this commercialized position.

National Latino Tobacco Control Network— Speak, speak, and loudly!

Network for LGBT Health Equity— Every segment of our community is different and changing, so we have to constantly be having these conversations.

Again, I think that a lot of this is information that those of us in the trenches already know. As one member of the audience put it, “We’re not just preaching to the choir; we’re preaching to the preachers.” But, it’s still nice to be in rooms where these conversations are still relevant, still immediate. I think that our next challenge is to really stay energized and excited about the work that we do, all while working together and continuing our coalition building.

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health.

Greetings from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Kansas City! It’s Ricky again! You may remember me from my previous post here on the Network’s blog, The Shame of Pride.

Yes? No? REGARDLESS.

I’m here in the Show-Me-State on a blogging scholarship to tell you all about the Network’s Summit and National Conference on Tobacco or Health. After a brief battle with what I am referring to as the twenty-four hour virus of death, I am back in the swing of things and attending sessions like whoa. The highlight of my day (besides a great run-in with some AWESOME youth from Say What! Texas) was a session titled One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Tailoring Mass Media Campaigns, featuring a talk by the ever-charming Jeffrey Jordan, head of Rescue Social Change Group.

Basically, this was a rundown of what works and what doesn’t with regard to targeted youth anti-tobacco campaigns. Seeing as how the HHS is calling for youth-focused and youth-driven initiatives, this seemed like a perfect presentation to attend. Here’s the quick and dirty of what Rescue Social Change Group have found to be effective, as well as what is not so effective:

What Works

Cultural authenticity – Do these people look like youth? Are they people that youth believe to be actual non-smokers?

Source credibility – Who is giving the information? Are these just some advertisers trying to get money in some other way?

Fact relevance – Is this true for youth? Does it even matter in their lives?

Immediate consequences – Bad breath keeping youth from getting kisses is waaaaaaay more relatable than lung cancer.

Social justice appeals – Information related to animal cruelty and deforestation trigger critical thinking and connections that may not otherwise by made.

What Doesn’t Work

Over the top creativity – More money doesn’t actually mean more impact—good news for those of us on a public health budget!

Entertaining gimmicks – Flashy dance scenes may be fun, but that doesn’t mean youth know what you’re selling.

Long-term consequences – We’re talking about a generation of immediacy. Let’s talk in their terms!

Fear – I think we can all agree that scaring people doesn’t always work.

Appeals lacking culture – We all want to see ourselves. Right? Right.

I really appreciated this talk because even though it gave lots of examples of what NOT to do, it also gave as many ideas about what we CAN do. And, it was really inspiring to hear that lots of money is not the best answer. We’re all working under tight budgets, so it’s reassuring to know that effective outreach can happen as long as it’s authentic, relevant, immediate, and can be tied back to social justice.

All of those sound like things us queers can get behind, so I can’t wait to see what the Network comes up with to brag on as successes at the next NCTOH!

The Shame of Pride

 
Ricky Hill
Doctoral student, instructor, dandy
Cross-posted from OK4RJ: Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice

It’s the most beautiful time of the year, y’all.

This is the time of year where queers all over this lovely country of ours put on their shortest of shorts, their most glittery of glitter, their most bronze of bronzer, and work on making their hair as high as humanly possible. We primp, we preen, we curate the most fabulous ensembles in hope of catching the eye of that gender fucking Femme who works at the only bookstore in town that carries Curve (that’s still a thing, right? Okay, Original Plumbing, then).This is the time of year that we all wait so patiently for: The time of year where we are allowed to be bold and brash.

The time of year where we put on our rainbows, grab fistfuls of money, and dance in the streets.

That’s right, queermos. You know it, you love it: PRIDE!

It’s Pride Month! The one time of year when we’re allowed to walk down the streets in gold lamé without fear! The one time of year we get to be seen in the daytime! The one time of year when you can assume everyone wants to fuck you without looking like a narcissist! And y’all, you know Pride is good, because it’s one of the seven deadly sins.

But with Pride comes one of my least favorite things in the world: Pride Festivals.

You think I’d love them, because they’re chock full of free shit, gaymo performances, daytime drinking, and sweaty dancing. But you know what? You’re wrong. To me, Pride Festivals have become one of the most hypocritical events to happen to queer communities in recent years.

I know, I know. That’s maybe a controversial opinion to have, but hear me out.

Pride is something positive that originated out of something super shitty. It’s a self-affirming visibility project built up as a response to physical and psychic attacks on queerness. That part I can get behind.

The issue I take with Pride Festivals across the country is the rampant sponsorship put up by addictive and dangerous products. Don’t act like you don’t know.

Let’s look at Oklahoma City Pride as an example.

(This is the part where I make a disclaimer about using Oklahoma City as an example. This is not about blasting OKC’s Pride. I think that the organization has an amazing mission, and the amount of passion and drive it takes to pull something like Pride off is commendable. This is about larger issues related to equity and justice when we’re talking about LGBTQ communities, and is applicable to pretty much ALL Pride celebrations nationwide. Okay? Okay.)

Who pays for Pride? Not like you don’t already know from the mega floats that appear in the parade, or the banners hanging up at every bar. But really, who? Based on what I can tell, it’s almost all booze companies who foot the bill.

Page 29 of Oklahoma City’s Pride Guide lists the festival sponsors who are responsible for making Pride fiscally possible. Who are listed in the top five? Coors Light, Boulevard Brewing Company, Miller Lite, Tecate, and Bud Light.

Yup. Those are all big alcohol companies.

Interesting, especially given the fact that LGBTQ folks have higher addiction rates than the general population. And we’re not talking like, a little bit higher. The Pride Institute estimates that about 45% of our community participates in problem drinking behaviors.

45%!!?? That’s almost half!

(Fun Fact: We smoke like we drink, too.)

So, with epidemic-like numbers like those, don’t you think that we’d be trying to decrease risky behavior rather than encourage it?

I think so. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to demand that our community’s health and well-being be taken into consideration when putting together this festival. Where are the members of the Oklahoma City Pride Board when these sponsorship decisions are being made? For an organization whose mission statement is “to provide leadership to meet the needs of the LGBT community through awareness, health, and educational services,” I think they need to really be held accountable to that. We’re not doing anyone any good if we’re only paying lip service to mission statements.

So, queers, it’s time. Let’s start pushing back. Let’s celebrate what Pride is really about:

Be a movement, not a market!

Ricky would like to wish all of you a very lovely Pride month, and looks forward to dancing with you soon. Follow Ricky on Twitter: @prettyrickyroo