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In This Issue:
In Massachusetts, 18 percent of same-sex couples are raising children under the age of 16. There are certain moments that are unique to gay and lesbian parents, beginning with the pre-conception or adoption process.
“As a lesbian couple, we faced numerous challenges—financial, emotional and logistical—in the process of conceiving our first child,” said Carrie Braverman, LICSW, whose son was born in April 2010, three years after she and her wife began trying to conceive.
Braverman and three others participated in a panel, “Two Mommies/Daddies and Me: Creating LGBT Families,” during BWH’s celebration of National LGBT Health Awareness Week March 28-April 1. Other activities during the week included attending a local screening of “Gen Silent,” a film about LGBT aging, and a presentation about the role of gender in youth bullying. All events were hosted by BWH’s LGBT & Friends Group, for which Braverman serves as chairperson.
“We began as a group of about 70 people, but grew very quickly,” Braverman said. “We now have about 130 people on our email list, which we use to send information about events and pertinent issues both internally and in the community.”
The group also holds monthly meetings, each one featuring a discussion or educational component, ranging from conversations about being out in the workplace to local researchers presenting on topics such as LGBT health disparities or mental health needs.
In addition to the Health Awareness Week activities, the LGBT & Friends Group hosts a number of events throughout the year: they march annually in the Boston Pride Parade—held on June 11 this year—and host a series of events during National Coming Out Week in October. They also organize a winter social networking event every January. Last year, the group also co-sponsored the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event reception with AMMP.
“We are always seeking opportunities to partner around common interests,” Braverman said. “As our title implies, we are a LGBT and friends group—anybody who is an ally and believes that this is an important area on which to focus is welcome at our meetings and events.”
For the past three years, BWH has participated in the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a national survey of health care organizations that looks at policies and procedures related to LGBT health care equality.
“We are proud to participate in the annual HEI survey,” said Michael Gustafson, MD, MBA, senior vice president for Clinical Excellence. “Each year, we strive to continue to improve our care policies and practices for both LGBT patients and our LGBT staff.”
The 2011 HEI scores will be released in June.
LGBT & Friends Group
For more information about BWH’s LGBT & Friends Group, visit www.brighamandwomens.org/about_bwh/humanresources/lgbt.aspx or email firstname.lastname@example.org