Why I Love the South

By Sha’Terra Johnson, HIV Health Planner

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on August 20 is a chance for the South to join the national movement to raise awareness, address stigma and discrimination, and advocate for the resources needed to end the HIV epidemic.

As much as I love everything about the South, there are challenges that we face when it comes to healthcare as well as HIV. We have to come together as state to find ways to end the HIV epidemic.

So, how do we come together to end the HIV epidemic in Texas?

We have the Achieving Together Plan. The statewide plan has goals and strategies for us as a state. We have the tools and resources to end HIV in Texas. Take the pledge to be a member—to be an action-oriented individual when it comes to ending HIV in the great state of Texas.

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness is a day set aside for individuals all over the nation to join a movement to raise awareness, erase HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination, and to advocate for new and necessary resources and solutions to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in the South. Centers for Disease Control Prevention states that more than 511,400 people are living with HIV (PLWH) in the South. Roughly one-fifth of PLWH in the South are living in Texas. It also shares that 52% of all new diagnoses are in the South, and there were approximately 2,580 deaths related to AIDS complications in the South in 2017. People living with HIV in the South are faced with stigma and discrimination that often results in lack of access to high-quality health care and essential support services. It is important we join together to develop solutions to reduce disparities and stigma of PLWH and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic occurring in the South.

One Provider’s Perspective on Transgender Healthcare

In 2015, Parkland Health & Hospital System opened a clinic to meet the growing need for comprehensive and affirming medical care for the transgender community. In five years, the Parkland Transgender Health Clinic has grown to serve more than 500 patients. The clinic currently operates one day a week in three locations. They provide behavioral health care, primary health care, and hormonal treatments.

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This is Our Outcry

By Ian L. Haddock, Executive Director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative

For a long time, I found it as hard to say I was Christian in LGBTQIA+ spaces as I did to say I was Gay in Christian spaces. Two different kinds of fear, but all sparking from the same trauma. When you are considered “othered” there is a fear of further “other-ing” yourself while trying to control your narrative and be uniquely you. So, for me, being a Gay Christian was a double-edged anomaly amongst my peers.

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Pride Month

June is Pride Month and pride celebrations this year are particularly festive because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.  Beginning in the 1950s, with the founding of the Mattachine Society, and into the 1960s, LGBT rights and liberation organizations were working to increase awareness and decriminalize the lives of LGBT people in the United States.  Most people though, trace the critical event that launched the LGBT rights movement in this country, to the riots that began at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village.  At the time, police raids on bars catering to LGBT patrons were common, but the surprise raid by the police that night pushed patrons and the gathering crowd to fight back.

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