Last week was Pride Week at SPH! Through different events and activities, the community celebrated our LGBTQ faculty, staff, students and their allies. The members of the LGBTQ group at SPH (Outbreak) were kind enough to kick off the week with a bake sale with rainbow colored cupcakes, brownies, and rainbow skittles. The first day (last Monday) also had a lunchtime lecture with Professor Jose Bauermesiter, who is not only incredibly resourceful, intelligent, and interesting, he is also extremely approachable.
The lecture was titled “Romantic relationships and well-being among gay and lesbian youth: Implications for Public Health”. What I liked most about his lecture was that instead of focusing on the more commonly discussed sexual health practices among gay youth, such as AIDS and STDs, he focused on mental health, such as self confidence, depression and anxiety. Outbreak even provided lunch for the audience (which is always good for students). Jose shared incredibly interesting statistics throughout his presentation, for example that 25% of boys and 8-11% of girls have same sex attraction at some point in their lives, regardless of identifying themselves as heterosexual. Even opposite sex attraction is common among self identified homosexuals and lesbians. Also, relationship make a huge difference for the well being of LGBTQ youth, it reduces rates of suicide, loneliness, homophobia, and increases self esteem (especially for boys). It definitely made me want to learn more about the topic.
Another event I attended during Pride Week was the screening of the movie “We are Dad”. It was the story about a homosexual couple (both nurses) who took it upon themselves to foster 5 children who were born HIV positive. They cannot adopt some these children because Florida does not allow it (they now live in Oregon). The documentary was touching, and Outbreak did a great job (yet again) connecting real life issues to our education at SPH. We had a great discussion following the screening regarding things that we could do as Public Health professionals to improve the lives of people, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, race, religion, legal status and so on and so on.
Outbreak is just one of the student groups at SPH that fosters great diversity and acceptance in our community. Way to go SPH!