You Can Help Improve LGBTQ Healthcare
Lucky, Northside Community Advisory Board Secretary (he/him or they/them)
I joined Howard Brown’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) out of sheer curiosity after I saw an ad in the Sheridan Clinic. Before joining I was as a member of the state-funded Care Coordination Entity’s CAB in 2015. It eventually closed due to the lack of a state budget. I’ve served as the Northside CAB’s secretary since the beginning of 2016. Since then I’ve used my previous experience and applied it to Howard Brown, doing my best to learn about specific programs and services.
I joined to the Northside CAB to improve services for the transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) community, particularly TGNC folx with disabilities. As an autistic nonbinary trans person who also has learning disabilities and mental illness, outside services (employment, housing, medical, etc.) are almost nonexistent, as people like me face more discrimination than those without disabilities.
Another topic I’m passionate about is services for LGBTQ seniors, as my previous CAB had members who were low-income seniors, most of them formerly homeless. If we don’t provide care for our seniors, if we don’t protect them from discrimination and harm, then what does care look like for us when we get to be their age? That’s something I ask myself and others a lot.
Lastly, as a millennial born in a time when people with HIV/AIDS were dying rapidly and were met with such social hostility, I’ve been learning about how I can help as a member of the Howard Brown CAB. What the current administration is doing for HIV/AIDS services and care is horrendous, and I’m worried that if this continues, those affected will not survive without a strong community response.
If there wasn’t a group of patients who provide honest feedback to improve LGBTQ services, I don’t think Howard Brown Health would exist as we know it. I’m glad to be part of the Community Advisory Board because we do just that.
You can help improve LGBTQ healthcare in Chicago. Learn more about the CAB at howardbrown.org/volunteer/.