Category: quality of life issues

Philadelphia Hosts LGBT Health Issues with White House

I recently read where the city of Philadelphia will be the host for a series of discussions with the White House regarding LGBT health issues and concerns. From what I gather, this isn’t focused on HIV/AIDS. This conference will be more of an open forum that discusses all health related issues and challenges within the LGBT community.

“This is an opportunity to not only look at what the administration is doing this year but at the entire breadth of what they have done in the last three years in advancing LGBT health,” said Mazzoni Center executive director Nurit Shein. “The secretary will be able to articulate well a lot of things that have happened almost under the radar but that have enabled better access to health care and outcomes for LGBT people specifically. That’s not to say the work is done — there is still plenty of work to do — but it’s really remarkable to see the dedication to LGBT health this administration has that we have never seen in any previous administration.”

One of the most interesting aspects of this conference is that it’s not going to just focus on health issues, allegedly it will focus on quality of life issues where LGBT youth and the elderly are concerned. There’s still a large amount of confused young LGBT people out there who either get thrown out of their homes or leave because they aren’t sure how to deal with their circumstances. I know for a fact there are elderly LGBT people who have health issues, but don’t have family to help them out. Where I live, because it’s a small town with a large LGBT community, we have our own networks and people help each other out. But not everyone has this kind of network system.

“These will be more conversations than presentations,” she said. “People will be able to say what they feel, what they think the big issues are, and then the HHS representatives will take that back.”

You can read more by following this link to PGN (Philadelphia Gay News)

About This "DNF" Business…

I’ve received a few e-mails from people regarding the “DNF” post I wrote a couple of days ago. Some of the e-mails are funny, all in good fun, moving along with the light-hearted spirit in which the post was written.

But some people were vehemently against DNF reviews and they weren’t shy about stating their opinions. And others violently support DNF reviews, as if it were a cult or religion…to the point of using pejoratives and ranting about the Internet.

Frankly, I had no idea I would be poking the caged tiger. In fact, at the end of the post I praised DNF reviews because I’d found another great book thanks to a DNF review. I was simply sharing something I’d recently learned, and from the replies I received, a lot of people didn’t know what a “DNF” review was. I’m sure a lot still don’t. I’m even more certain most people don’t care and never will. If you don’t believe me, hop over to your local supermarket and take a random poll. “Excuse me,” You can ask, “Do you know what a DNF is?” I’ll bet you’ll be surprised by both the expressions and the replies you’ll garner.

But the point is I’m not for or against DNF reviews. This isn’t a political or religious topic. And it’s not even a topic on which I feel the need to form an opinion. It is what it is. I was just pointing out that I have my own personal rules and goals in life. I’m strict about finishing what I start. In other words, you’re not going to come to my house and see half-painted walls, half finished projects, and half read books. When I start something, whether it’s a book or a home improvement project, I finish it. And even if I don’t like the results, I’m always satisfied, on an emotional level, with the fact that I stuck it out. I never thought I’d learn to drive a manual transmission. I almost Did Not Finish. But I did, and I’m glad I suffered through it.

So those who wrote hate letters in support of DNF reviews: calm yourselves. Seriously. I can understand and respect those who don’t feel the need to finish things. I “get” what DNF means now. No one should have to finish a book…or any other project…if they don’t feel like finishing. Not everyone subscribes to the same set of standards. I know a guy who started remodeling his bathroom ten years ago and he’s still not finished. I have another friend who starts a new craft project every six months and never finishes a thing. And there’s nothing wrong with this.

But I do think that some of the more aggressive types out there should take it all a little lighter. It’s a DNF. It’s a rating for a book review, not the results of an MRI. It has no huge emotional or phsyical impact on the quality of anyone’s life one way or the other. And life’s really too damn short to get all worked up for nothing.

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

When I think of fundraising, I don’t think about books, or book reviews, or the difference between e-books and print books. I think about helping groups or organizations that are committed to important causes. I have a few causes that are close to my own heart, and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is one of them.

Without the help of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS wouldn’t get the necessary legal counsel they need. And it’s not just an LGBT issue anymore. This affects everyone across the board. So I wanted to post some general info about them, to help promote the cause and to inform any readers in PA who might be in need of legal counsel and can’t afford to hire an attorney on their own. I’ll be posting more in the future on this topic, but here’s a general description of what they are all about.

Below is some basic info from their home page, and here’s their link:

The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is a public-interest law firm founded in 1988 by Temple Law School graduate David W. Webber to focus on AIDS-related discrimination cases. At that time, before the Americans with Disabilities Act, no laws protected people with HIV/AIDS from discrimination, so Webber relied upon laws that prevent a worker from being terminated except in cases of incompetence or other non-AIDS-related causes. Webber led the organization before handing the reins to Nan Feyler, now chief of staff in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Current executive director Ronda B. Goldfein took over in 2000.

Now with a staff of 14 and a team of Drexel Law student-interns, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is still the nation’s only independent public-interest law firm dedicated to AIDS and HIV. The organization serves all of Pennsylvania from its home base in Philadelphia. It has risen to the defense of more than 30,000 people free of charge, and has educated more than 32,000 others on AIDS-related legal issues.

In every corner of the commonwealth, information has been shared with doctors, dentists and other health-care providers; outreach workers; peer counselors; medical students; law students; college students; lawyers; people living in homeless shelters; the newly diagnosed, as well as long-term survivor support groups.

Each year, the nonprofit AIDS Law Project receives about 2,000 calls for assistance at its home office in Philadelphia. The agency also educates the public about AIDS-related legal issues, and works at local, state and national levels to achieve fair laws and policies. In 2009, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania represented 1,343 people in 1,713 legal matters.