The theme for the 2020 Transforming Care Conference on LGBTQ+ and HIV Health Equity is The Invisibles. As we virtually gather together for the fifth time in this remarkable space of transformational learning, we will focus our attention on those within the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities that largely go unnoticed in public health narratives.
We know that health disparities exist because oppression exists: one-size-fits-all healthcare actually only fits a privileged few, and the rest of us, to varying degrees, get left behind. Eliminating health disparities therefore requires more than a one-size solution. LGBTQ+ health promotion efforts that focus largely on preventing HIV, do little to address increased cancer rates among lesbians, or a lack of addiction treatment options for trans people, or mental illness stigma within the LGBTQ+ community. Similarly, HIV treatment and prevention efforts that focus on same gender loving cis men re-enforce a harmful stigma and leave trans people and cis women, as well as their providers, dangerously unaware of their risk.
Addressing health disparities requires intention and a willingness to retrain the parts of ourselves that want to work within the confines of what we already know.
If we are ever to be successful in our mission to stop HIV in its tracks, it will be because we have trusted Black and Latinx people—cis and trans, men and women, queer and straight—to be the strategic leaders of our prevention, education, and treatment efforts.
And if we are going to address the health needs of lesbians and bisexual cis women, trans men and women, non-binary people, LGBTQ+ people living with disability or mental illness, queer people of color, asexual people, pansexual people, and other “invisibles,” we must first seek to understand all that we have invested in the patriarchy, in misogyny, in able-bodied supremacy, in maintaining the gender binary, in heterosexism, in class hierarchy, in whiteness. And we must learn how to relinquish those investments.
Join us virtually, October 14-16, 2020, as we focus with intention on The Invisibles.