Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health
Author: Adrian Shanker • Foreword: Rachel L.Levine, MD • Afterword: Kate Kendell
Publisher: PM Press
Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 256
Subjects: LGBT Studies/Health
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LGBT people pervasively experience health disparities, affecting every part of their bodies and lives. Yet many are still grappling to understand the mutually reinforcing health care challenges that lead to worsened health outcomes. Bodies and Barriers informs health care professionals, students in health professions, policymakers, and fellow activists about these challenges, providing insights and a road map for action that could improve queer health.
Through artfully articulated, data-informed essays by twenty-six well-known and emerging queer activists—including Alisa Bowman, Jack Harrison-Quintana, Liz Margolies, Robyn Ochs, Sean Strub, Justin Sabia-Tanis, Ryan Thoreson, Imani Woody, and more—Bodies and Barriers illuminates the health challenges LGBT people experience throughout their lives and challenges conventional wisdom about health care delivery. It probes deeply into the roots of the disparities faced by those in the LGBT community and provides crucial information to fight for health equity and better health outcomes.
The contributors to Bodies and Barriers look for tangible improvements, drawing from the history of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and from struggles against health care bias and discrimination. At a galvanizing moment when LGBT people have experienced great strides in lived equality, but our health as a community still lags, here is an indispensable blueprint for change by some of the most passionate and important health activists in the LGBT movement today.
“Now, more than ever, we need Bodies and Barriers to shine a spotlight on how and why good healthcare for LGBTQ people and our families is such a challenge. Bodies and Barriers provides a road map for all who are ready to fight for health equity—in the doctor’s office, in the halls of government, or in the streets.”
—Rea Carey, executive director National LGBTQ Task Force
“Bodies and Barriers helps LGBT community members understand the way people in the U.S. health services market erect barriers to anyone who is not the source of easy and immediate profit, and helps us all confront and break down these barriers. It helps families of LGBT people understand these obstacles and options for getting around them. And it helps health professionals hear the voices of all their patients, so that we learn to listen, and learn how to care for everyone.”
—Michael Fine, MD, former director, Rhode Island Department of Health, author of Health Care Revolt: How to Organize, Build a Health Care System, and Resuscitate Democracy All at the Same Time
“Adrian Shanker and the contributing authors highlight the need for clinicians to up their game when it comes to caring for sexual and gender minority people in their practices. Bodies and Barriers serves as a guide with concrete suggestions for developing knowledge, awareness, and skills to provide holistic care for LGBT people from the cradle to the grave. This book is a gem in that it centers LGBT people’s voices telling providers exactly how they want to be treated. It’s time providers listen to and act on these recommendations.”
—Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, PhD; coeditor of Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
“Bodies and Barriers is truly a must-read for anyone working in medical care, social services, or public health. This book brings us closer to the goal of patient-centered care, not only for LGBT communities, but for everyone.”
—Kristen Emory, PhD; director and advisor, Undergraduate Program at San Diego State University School of Public Health
“These patient and caregiver experiences ring so loudly in today’s environment, when we have compelling evidence of a need for widespread practice change, yet the medical establishment remains slow to respond to the calls from those patients and their caregivers who are asking so boldly—and rightfully—for those changes. Bodies and Barriers is a call to action for learners at all levels, in all health fields, to start now, creating a future where health equity is the norm, and no one is denied the opportunity to thrive.”
—Scott Nass, MD, MPA, president GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality
About the Contributors:
Adrian Shanker is an award-winning activist and organizer whose career has centered on advancing progress for the LGBT community. He has worked as an arts fundraiser, labor organizer, marketing manager, and served as President of Equality Pennsylvania for three years before founding Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA, where he serves as executive director. An accomplished organizer, Adrian has led numerous successful campaigns to advance LGBT progress through municipal nondiscrimination and relationship recognition laws and laws to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy. A specialist in LGBT health policy, he has developed leading-edge health promotion campaigns to advance health equity through behavioral, clinical, and policy changes.
Rachel L. Levine, MD, is the secretary of health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. She is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. She is also a board member and executive committee member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Dr. Levine joined Governor Tom Wolf’s administration in January 2015 as the physician general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and, upon her appointment, became the first transgender person to hold a cabinet position in Pennsylvania. In 2017, she was named the acting secretary of health and in 2018 was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate as the Secretary of Health. She leads the LGBTQ Policy Workgroup and advocates for LGBT rights for the Wolf Administration. Dr. Levine is also an accomplished regional and international speaker and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBT medicine. Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Kate Kendell led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization advancing the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families, for twenty-two years. Kate grew up Mormon in Utah and received her JD degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1988. After a few years as a corporate attorney, she was named the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. In 1994 she accepted the position as legal director with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and made the move to San Francisco. In 1996 Kate was named NCLR’s executive director. Under Kate’s leadership, NCLR won custody and family law cases, achieved victories on behalf of LGBT athletes, won protections for LGBT students and elders, and secured asylum for over three hundred clients. NCLR was lead counsel on the California marriage equality case in 2008 and was later part of the team of attorneys to secure national marriage equality in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.
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