During the month of June, the Women’s Health Team is hosting the Queer Women’s Empowerment Series, a workshop series that supports the health of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women. In collaboration with BAGLY, Good Vibrations, and the Network/La Red, the series will connect the community to resources around sexual health, healthy relationships, and resiliency building.
What was the inspiration behind the Queer Women’s Health Empowerment Series?
- Tanekwah Hinds, Women’s Health Program Coordinator: I was scrolling through queer social media and seeing that so many events are targeted toward MSM, so I wanted to create an event series centering queer women. In talking with other community organizers, there’s always this question of how to attract queer women to our events, and I think it’s important to create intentional spaces. I wanted to host events that reflected my identities as well as others’.
- Mollie Welch, Women’s Health New Sector Fellow: Many of the health disparities observed among LGBTQ populations stem from minority stress – the concept that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination create a hostile and stressful social environment that causes health problems. Queer women, in particular, face so many health disparities; building resilience can function almost like an antidote to this. We thought it would be great to host an event series devoted empowering queer women emotionally, physically, and sexually.
Why is an event like this important during Pride Month?
- TH: Oftentimes, there has been an erasure of Pride’s history as a political movement led by the most marginalized folks – Trans women, bi women, people of color. It’s ironic that Pride festivities now center cisgender, white, gay men, given Pride’s origin. It’s important that folks who have been historically involved and recently underrepresented get the tools and resources they need to empower themselves and their communities.
- MW: We wanted to host skill-building events where queer women could express themselves, learn, and form connections in a small-group environment. The Queer Women’s Empowerment Series will leave participants with new or enhanced skills, and it’s free!
What is the Boundless Series Grant?
- TH: The Boundless Grant helps to fund outreach events for the Women’s Health Team at Fenway Health. These events support the holistic health of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women. Recently, we’ve been using these funds to center the most marginalized voices within these communities.
- MW: This year, we’ve partnered with several communities organizations to host a yoga series, a film screening of “Herstory” about the second-wave feminist movement in Boston, a panel on Queer Women of Color and HIV, and two Queer Women’s Health Roundtables, where female-identified representatives from queer organizations around the city have come together to network, strategize, and share resources.
What other services does the Women’s Health Team provide to support to the community?
- TH: We offer routine physical exams, preventative health counseling, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and preventative health counseling, among many other services you can read about here.
- MW: Some services to highlight are our Obstetrics and Gynecology programs, which provide sexual health check-ups, and the Violence Recovery Program. We offer walk-in STI testing every week in the Ansin Building at the following times as well:
- Monday 12 pm to 4 pm, 8th Floor
- Tuesday 12 pm to 4 pm, 8th Floor
- Wednesday 4 pm to 7 pm, 2nd Floor