Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Howard Brown: A community speaks out
by Yasmin Nair
2011-01-01

This article shared 3695 times since Sat Jan 1, 2011
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Anthony Dingman remembers the morning he woke up with his face paralyzed. Diagnosed with HIV in 1986, Dingman is of the generation of gay men who have perforce become experts on their disease and speak of the symptoms of AIDS with the kind of medical expertise one normally hears from medical professionals. But that morning, he was at a loss to understand what had happened, and made an appointment to see his doctor at Howard Brown Health Center ( HBHC ) . On the examining table, he was surprised when his physician, Dr. Catherine Creticos, asked, "Do you mind if I look in your ear?"

As Dingman recalled, "I thought well, that's kind of a funny question, but said, 'Sure, you can look in my ear.' And she looked and said, 'Okay, here you go, you've got shingles in your ear.' She knew right away what the problem was.'" People with HIV/AIDS are especially susceptible to shingles, and it takes a specialized physician to look for the right symptoms. In describing the care he gets at HBHC, Dingman stressed that the center is the best place for people like him.

On the issue of HBHC's mismanagement of funds, however, he is clear about his unhappiness at the current situation. "I think the board needs to hire people with a proven track record of integrity and performance," he said.

Dingman is among the many who heartily praise the services HBHC provides. Their sense of its critical importance has led to Howard Brown's fundraising success in the past few weeks. They have so far triggered the $100,000 challenge and, according to CEO Jamal Edwards, met almost 60 percent of their goal. Yet, within the community, the recent crisis has raised multiple issues. Its support is combined with an ambivalence about HBHC and questions about its future.

Owen Daniel-McCarter is the project attorney for Transformative Justice Law Project ( TJLP ) of Illinois. TJLP provides free legal services to incarcerated or formerly incarcerated transgender and gender-non-conforming people. "All of our clients get services from Broadway Youth Center or the clinic itself when not incarcerated," Daniel-McCarter said. Having been a client of HBHC himself, Daniel-McCarter had special praise for its recently implemented standard of care for transgender clients, which includes a "client empowerment inform and consent model where you are informed of what could happen to you when you take hormones; it has really moved away from this model of pathologizing trans people."

He said that poor transgender clients who end up in Cook County experience transphobia, compounded by their unequal economic access to care. While praising HBHC for its work, he was also critical of its mismanagement: "It's incredibly alarming, not only personally but for our entire community."

Ursula OrElse, a professional dominatrix and sex worker, is a member of Chicago's chapter of Sex Workers' Outreach Project ( SWOP ) . SWOP holds its meetings at HBHC's community center and that fact speaks volumes to OrElse, whose fellow sex workers are often stigmatized by the mainstream medical community. She felt that HBHC's goals of harm reduction and its sliding scale make it a "mainstay" of the community. She was especially concerned about the potential loss of funding to various safe sex and STD outreach projects designed for vulnerable populations.

While recent events highlight HBHC's importance to the community, they also point to several arenas for change. Among these is the ongoing issue of race in a city whose historic and ongoing segregation is apparent in what many see as the unequal portioning of resource on the north side. Daniel-McCarter's clients are largely poor and of color and he points out that "another problem with HBHC is the accessibility of the space. Getting to Howard Brown has been problematic for many of the people I work with." The group Gender JUST, whose members are largely youth of color from the South and West sides, recently released a statement on the issue. [ Disclosure: This reporter is also a member of GJ. ]

Talking with Windy City Times, Sam Finkelstein of GJ pointed out that almost all its members benefited from HBHC because they either got their healthcare there or used the services of Broadway Youth Center; several also get their hormone therapies there. But he also felt that its crisis might prompt the creation of multiple health centers in different parts of the city. He noted that Project VIDA and VIDA/SIDA on the South and West sides have faced similar crises in recent years, but those did not incite the same rush to support as with HBHC. Finkelstein attributed this partly to the fact that people see HBHC as a one-stop center, but also to unequal health care resources for people of color in a community where the default community is seen as white and living on the North Side.

Evette Cardona is a longtime community member, a co-founder of Amigas Latinas and a senior program officer at the Polk Bros. Foundation. She said that her initial response to the news of mismanagement of funds at HBHC was shock and that she was "doubly shocked when it was found to be true." She added that she was also saddened "because gay organizations have the additional burden of proving themselves; the scrutiny is double. When something happens to one of us, it [ makes it seem like ] it can happen to all of us. It makes it hard for the next gay organization to pass muster."

With regard to the calls for transparency, Cardona said that "the layers of bureaucracy" that organizations the size of HBHC are required to go through "challenge the concept." According to her, "We need to change the skills sets of the boards so that they understand how to navigate bureaucracy." Like many others, she was clear that the mismanagement needed to be separated from the work of the medical personnel and staff "on the ground." Like Finkelstein, she saw this as an opportunity for wider community dialogue on how best to bring about changes and to continue providing services to the community: "This is a huge wake-up call." Unlike some, however, Cardona did not see the need to oust the entire board but felt that those responsible for the crisis ought to step down.

It is clear that HBHC serves the multiple needs of various and vulnerable populations, providing them the kind of culturally competent care they cannot find elsewhere. In their defense of the institution, HBHC staff and officials often say that without it, people will die. But those words also demonstrate the fact that whatever policies caused the current crisis were put in place by a board that put the lives of those very people at risk. In the coming months, HBHC's position in the community may well be strengthened by the amount of financial support it receives but it will also be closely scrutinized. Yet, it is possible that this crisis marks a new approach to thinking about the health care needs of a community marked by differences in economic access as much as by race and ethnicity. Daniel-McCarter points out that HBHC's strengths in working with trans people, for instance, could be actively taken to places like Cook County and that "ultimately what needs to happen is that we need to have a shift in medicine where the status quo is not transphobic, racist, classist, homophobic medicine. How can we have an anti-oppression framework for medical care?"


This article shared 3695 times since Sat Jan 1, 2011
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PPIA to feature Lauren Underwood on March 5 2021-03-02
- Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) has announced a special Activist University Extra Credit session featuring Congresswoman Lauren Underwood on Friday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. Kicking off Women's History Month ...


Gay News

COVID Lightfoot: Bars, restaurants can be at 50%, stay open until 1 a.m. 2021-03-02
- On March 2, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city will allow bars and restaurants to boost indoor capacity to 50% and remain open until 1 a.m., The Chicago Tribune reported. Lightfoot also will allow ...


Gay News

APA adopts resolution opposing efforts to change people's gender identity 2021-03-02
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association has adopted a resolution opposing efforts to change people's gender identity, citing scientific research showing that such actions may be harmful. The resolution, adopted ...


Gay News

United Center vaccination appointments open Thursday for Illinois seniors 2021-03-02
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Beginning Thursday, March 4 at 8:30 a.m., Illinois seniors can schedule their first COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the United Center vaccine site, which will begin to administer a limited number of vaccines on March ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health expands access to medical care of sexual-assault survivors 2021-03-02
- Howard Brown Health is now providing access to medical forensic exams and evidence collection for survivors of sexual assault on the North and South sides of Chicago through its In Power program. Together with local rape-crisis ...


Gay News

COVID Vaccinations at United Center starting March 10 2021-02-26
- On Feb. 26, the Biden administration, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, and U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced that eligible Illinoisans from every part ...


Gay News

Vaccine eligibility opens to Illinoisans with serious medical conditions 2021-02-25
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Building on efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Health today announced that Illinoisans with serious medical conditions can be vaccinated ...


Gay News

Dr. Rachel Levine confirmation hearing today, to be first trans Senate-confirmed appointee 2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today Dr. Rachel Levine will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about her experience and qualifications to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health. If moved ...


Gay News

One-third of gay, bisexual men who take PrEP discontinue within three years 2021-02-25
--From a press release - Familiarity and favorable attitudes towards PrEP have increased over time, though use remains low A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds a significant increase in familiarity with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth 2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


Gay News

COVID Howard Brown Health COO talks vaccine rollout and race 2021-02-18
- On Feb. 13, Howard Brown Health hosted a citywide vaccination blitz at five community partner locations (New Beginnings Church of Chicago; 6620 S. King Dr.; Trinity United Church of Christ/TUCC; 400 W. 95th St.; Rising Sun ...


Gay News

COVID Chicago expands indoor dining capacity 2021-02-17
- The city of Chicago plans to reduce indoor dining restrictions for a second consecutive week, allowing bars and restaurants to offer service at either 40% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail Covid 19 Pioneer 2021-02-13
- Now that President Biden and Vice President Harris are in office, I've been able to have my first Covid 19 vaccine shot. It was no big deal. I went to our county fairgrounds expecting to be injected through my car window, ...


Gay News

CDC establishes school-reopening guidelines 2021-02-13
- On Feb. 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that teachers and students should return to the classroom and can do so safely—even in areas with high rates of viral transmission—if certain mitigation ...


Gay News

COVID Pritzker announces expansion of Phase 1B eligibility on Feb. 25 2021-02-10
- In light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on Thursday, Feb. 25, to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.