Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and gender-nonconforming (LGBTQ+) individuals continue to face socially negative attitudes that put them at risk for being bullied, teased, harassed, and stigmatized. The result is that many wind up having to confront an array of mental health challenges. A related concern is that without increased awareness of the unique challenges these vulnerable individuals face, sex education aimed at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may not reach the LGBTQ+ community. In Contra Costa County, with its skyrocketing rates STIs, such a risk is unacceptable.
To address these concerns and create a more positive and realistic understanding of LGBTQ+ life, the Community Health Fund (CHF) has provided $60,000 to the Rainbow Community Center (RCC) and Planned Parenthood Northern California (PPNC). The project will facilitate a formal partnership between RCC and PPNC that will lead to a stronger safety net for LGBTQ+ individuals in Contra Costa.
Key activities will include:
- Delivery of 12 training sessions to community members in East Contra Costa County, including teachers, health care providers, staff of community-based organizations who commit to delivering education to their students, clients, patients, and/or other staff. The 12 sessions in ECCC will be part of a larger, countywide effort.
- Increased testing, outreach, and education to reduce STIs.
- Increased visibility and networking for and about the LGBTQ+ community by tabling at events and participating in community meetings and coalitions.
- Increased use of both organizations’ services by their developing and distributing referral wallet cards at presentations, trainings, outreach events, and one-on-one interactions.
Expected outcomes include:
- Enhanced capacity for both organizations to expand outreach education to LGBTQ+ individuals, deliver education throughout the County about the LGBTQ+ community, and increase LGBTQ+ utilization of health services – especially testing for STIs.
- Increased capacity of schools, health care providers, and community-based organizations to meet the need for inclusive education that incorporates sexual health and issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals