Center to Hold LGBT Health Week Event

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In honor of National LGBT Health Week, the Utah Pride Center and a number of social and health organizations from around the Salt Lake Valley will present a free health fair for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people at the Salt Lake Main Public Library on April 3.

The first fair was held last year at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, assembled by then-employee Rick Leistiko. He said that he got the idea for the fair after attending a presentation on minority outreach at the institute.

“After the presentation I went to the speaker and asked why the LGBT community hadn’t been approached [for health care outreach] and he said he’d tried and been unsuccessful,” said Leistiko. “So I asked if I could help and was successful.”

Although Leistiko left the institute to pursue a graduate degree, he is now a volunteer at the Utah Pride Center where he is hoping to work on a number of health-related programs for Utah’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. He organized this year’s fair with the assistance of Jennifer Nuttall, the Center’s Adult Programs Director, and has scheduled “about 20–30” organizations to participate. These include the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Rape Recovery Center, the Utah AIDS Foundation, the Disability Law Center, Pride Counseling and the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. Additionally, a number of Utah Pride Center groups will also have tables at the fair, including Entre Nosotros (between us), the Center’s group for Latino men who have sex with men; Outlet, it’s group for non-Latino men in their 20s; TransAction, its youth-lead transgender advocacy group; and the Alternative Women’s Wellness Program.

Other social organizations, like the University of Utah’s LGBT Resource Center and Simply Social, a social group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Utahns that meets regularly for informal outings, will also participate.
Along with the information tables typically found at health fairs, this health fair will include 10–20 minute presentations on such topics as cancer screenings for men and women, transgender health, substance abuse, and domestic violence in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. These presentations will take place in Urban Rooms B and C.

Therapist Lee Beckstead will also conduct empowerment workshops, which are aimed at helping members of the community make positive choices in managing stress and dealing with sexuality.

“[The empowerment workshops] start with identifying who you are and then moving into healthy relationships with spirituality, overcoming homophobia and other things that hold you back from being self-actualized,” said Nuttall, adding that a series of empowerment workshops is regularly taught at the Center.

The health fair will last from 2–5 p.m. and is free to the public. Attendees are asked to fill out an anonymous survey on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender health in Utah. Those who participate will be entered into a raffle for gift certificates from such local merchants as Slow Train Records, Frosty Darling, Cahoots, Nobrow Coffee, Vasuvio’s Organic Restaurant and the Utah College of Massage Therapy. Free snacks and water will be provided throughout the day by Whole Foods and Club JAM.

The library is located at 210 E. 400 South. For more information about National LGBT Health Week visit lgbthealth.net/awarenessweek10.

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