CC11 Action Alert: Help Increase Services for HIV-positive older adults

Sasha Kaufmann, Blogging Scholar with the Network for LGBT Health Equity

by Sasha Kaufmann

Guest Blogger, reporting on Creating Change, Minneapolis 2011

Did you know that by 2013, half of the people living with HIV in the United States will be over 50? Between social isolation, stigma, and the normal effects of growing older on the body, without the right support aging for LGBT and/or HIV-positive individuals can be a harrowing experience.

I learned today that there is an opportunity to change that! The reauthorization of the older americans act is supposed to occur this year. The law funds community planning and social services for over 30,000 service providers nationally. Programs such as buddy systems, meal programs, and home care are included. Listing HIV-positive and LGBT older adults as vulnerable populations will increase funding and attention to the crucial services needed to give seniors in our communities a better life. There is also an opportunity to modify the definition of family caregiver in this reauthorization as well, allowing for the proper compensation and recognition for taking care of partners and loved ones.

Want to put in your two cents? Then submit a comment to the Administration on Aging and urge them to include LGBT and HIV-positive older adults as vulnerable populations!

Solidarity and Snuggles,

Sasha

Policing of queer bodies today: how possession of condoms is a crime

Sasha Kaufmann, Blogging Scholar

With the striking down of sodomy laws in 2003 with Lawrence vs. Texas, sex between two people of the same gender in the privacy of  their own home was decriminalized.  However, queer bodies in public spaces are still policed, with the most marginalized in our LGBT communities affected.

Take New York City for instance. The village is known to be the birth of the gay rights movement, but when complaints of loitering emerged in the expensive real estate areas, the police started weekend stings for loitering and prostitution. Reasons a person could be arrested range from standing in an area known for prostitution, wearing provocative apparel…and even tt clothing that does not match their perceived birth sex.

Who are  those arrested?  According to the panel, 100% of those charged in 2009 identified as LGBT, with the majority effeminate or gender non-conforming. poor persons of color under 25. Yet, when  policing of queer bodies is  done to those with privilege, proactive responses result. For instance, when over 30 white middle-aged gay men were tricked out of adult video store  in vice operations in 2008, protests outside Mayor Bloomberg’s house and police investigations resulted. Outrage on behalf of those with privilege, yet when the same occurs to the disenfranchised, the communities look the other way.

In New York City, having condoms on your person can be used as evidence for prostitution

Out of the whole conversation of the panel, the most shocking fact in my opinion is the use of condoms as evidence. You have a population who are at high risk of contracting HIV afraid to have condoms on their person because of getting arrested. With no possibility of explusion of files, the consequences are high; an individual can be denied programs in public housing and other assistance services. I was glad to hear that collaborative efforts are occuring in communities affected in as trying hinder this public health threat  of  condoms used as evidence are underway.

For more information on this panel, check out the awesome post Emilia Dunham wrote! But for now…

Over and out (of the closet),

Sasha

Creating Change- A blogger introduction

Sasha Kaufmann, Blogging Scholar with the Network for LGBT Health Equity

Good Morning from Creating Change! I am so happy to be participating in this amazing opportunity. I come to this conference as a training professional, studying for my masters in social work at the largest HIV/AIDS advocacy organization in New England, AIDS Action Committee. I also come to this conference also as a passionate activist, a board member for Join the Impact Massachusetts. I hope to learn more about the health issues that affect our communities, and what measures an activist clinician  like myself can take to make a difference in achieving health equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks.

Solidarity and snuggles,

-Sasha