Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-09-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: History panel looks at healthcare and identity issues
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2012-01-18

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The American Historical Association ( AHA ) 's Committee on LGBT History continued its conference programming Jan. 7 with a panel discussion on the relationship between identity and LGBT-related healthcare.

Judith Houck ( University of Wisconsin-Madison ) kicked things off with a look back at Lyon-Martin's complicated history. Founded in San Francisco in 1979 "by lesbians, for lesbians," and named after Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, feminists and well-known lesbian-rights activists, the famed healthcare clinic was originally designed to cater solely to needs of queer women. But as cultural dynamics shifted and the AIDS epidemic hit, Lyon-Martin's clientele changed dramatically.

"By donating their time and money to the clinic, lesbians believed they were taking care of their own," Houck said. "As AIDS hit, however, a new set of women desperately needed affordable and culturally sensitive healthcare. Many people associated with Lyon-Martin eagerly shifted their focus … . Others, however, resented and resisted the turn away from lesbian services."

Fairly rapidly, Lyon-Martin moved from serving predominantly white lesbians to splitting its attention with lower-income, straight women of color. Many traditional donors felt isolated, and fundraising suffered.

"They did not embrace HIV/AIDS treatment as their own cause," Houck said. "Women who had thought they'd built [ a space ] for their own community found 12 years a later a facility they no longer felt connected to or responsible for."

Ironically enough, that very shift helped Lyon-Martin expand its operations. HIV grants paid for the clinic's first full-time doctor, and today, HIV/AIDS and homelessness grants account for half the organization's budget.

The question of identity continues to be problematic for Lyon-Martin, which has faced possible closure several times. But for one reason or another, Houck said, the queer community continually mobilizes to keep the clinic, now known as Lyon-Martin Health Services, afloat.

While identity politics have been a source of strife for Lyon-Martin in San Francisco, they helped bring together Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center in the 1970s.

Catherine Batza from the University of Illinois at Chicago presented a paper titled "'I Want You for a Free VD Test': Making Sexual Health Part of Gay Identity in Chicago, 1974-81." Batza illustrated how identity served as a catalyst for positive sexual health practices among Chicago's LGBT community.

In 1973, then-medical student David Ostrow founded the Gay Medical Students Group as a response to the largely insensitive, overcrowded and incompetent care people were often subjected to in clinics. Ostrow realized many LGBT Chicagoans weren't visiting clinics, so he brought clinical care to the community.

With the help of social services organization Gay Horizons, the fledgling group provided HIV testing and other medical services in a local coffee shop. Ostrow and his team also partnered with local bars and bathhouses to disseminate information and provide testing.

"Howard Brown Memorial Clinic's interest in outreach contributed to the bars and baths of Chicago becoming visible, if somewhat improbable, venues for gay sexual health in the 1970s," Batza said.

Howard Brown soon started a 'VD van' that traveled to LGBT hot spots and offered free testing. But on its first run, only four people agreed to be tested.

"The lackluster turnout reflected the distrust that the gay community had for mainstream medicine based on decades of persecution and mistreatment," Batza said.

Realizing that looking like mainstream medical providers would continue to be a detriment, Howard Brown hired popular local drag queen Wanda Lust as a spokesperson. Armed with campy humor and an Uncle Sam-inspired "I Want You … for a Free VD Test" poster, Wanda Lust enticed record numbers of people to the van.

"She really symbolizes gay liberation," Batza said. "There is no shame here: I am out here doing what I'm doing, having a great time … . It's a fun thing. We're all going to acknowledge that this is a problem within our community."

As participation increased, VD rates in the city dropped, illustrating how effective a tool identity can be in addressing medical issues.

John Goins from the University of Houston also presented his paper "Politiking the Gay Cancer: Electoral Intransigence and the AIDS Response in Houston." Goins detailed gay activism in Houston during Louie Welch's reign as mayor. Welch famously suggested that one way to curb the AIDS epidemic would be to "shoot the queers."

Leisa Meyer from the College of William and Mary emceed the panel and presented commentary. Houck's paper was titled "Treating Men at a Lesbian Clinic: Identity Politics, Feminist Organizing, and Health Care Provision, 1979 to the Present."

The 126th meeting of the American Historical Conference convened Jan. 5-8 in the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 N. Michigan Ave.

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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

Pink Hat Run to benefit women's organizations Nov. 4 2017-09-23
Pink Hat Run to benefit women's organizations Nov. 4 2017-09-23
Michael Johnson bypasses trial, is sentenced to 10 years for hiding HIV status 2017-09-22
Dance for Life raises $233,000+ for dancers with critical health and life issues 2017-09-22
Indie film raises awareness of dangers of sex trafficking 2017-09-20
Chicago Academy of the Arts' AIDS benefit 2017-09-20
South Side Help Center to mark 30 years, honor leaders, support hurricane recovery 2017-09-20
Meet AIDS Run & Walk Chicago ambassadors 2017-09-20
Center Chief Program Officer addresses LGBT suicide risks in current climate 2017-09-20
TPAN to celebrate '30 Years of Hope' 2017-09-20
Lake County raises cigarette buying age to 21 2017-09-20
Trans Disaster Relief Fund site launched 2017-09-18
HRC urges 'no' vote on Cassidy-Graham health care bill 2017-09-18
The Care Plan hosts 'Swell' networking event 2017-09-18
Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium registration remains open 2017-09-15
TPAN: Our story is your story 2017-09-15
Center on Halsted calls for American Academy of Pediatrics to consider intersex kids 2017-09-15
CFW releases update on status of women in Chicago region 2017-09-15
Survey: Diarrhea important but under-reported complaint of HIV/AIDS patients 2017-09-15
AIDS Benefit to be hosted by the Chicago Academy for the Arts 2017-09-15
South Side Help Center to honor leaders for AIDS, youth, give to hurricane recovery 2017-09-15
Local researchers seek subjects in "smart-PrEP" study 2017-09-13
Bernie Brommel looks back at early years of TPAN 2017-09-13
Howard Brown open house Sept. 27 2017-09-13
Elton John AIDS Foundation to commemorate 25th year, honor founder 2017-09-12
Rauner signs opioid order 2017-09-11
$1 million to HIV groups impacted by Harvey, Irma announced at conference 2017-09-08
Medical associations asked for moratorium on unnecessary surgery on intersex infants 2017-09-08
AIDS activist Louise Hay dies 2017-09-06
Howard Brown elects new board leadership 2017-08-30
AIDS researcher alleges false arrest and mistreatment from CPD 2017-08-25
Messinger to give ISGMH talk Sept. 7 2017-08-23
Fighting Back: Resources to fight racism, and more 2017-08-23
LGBTQ seniors sought for study 2017-08-23
Illinois part of $465M EpiPen settlement 2017-08-23
Governor Vetoes Protections for People With Disabilities; Home Services Rationed 2017-08-23
Center on Halsted Awarded $200,000 Grant to Improve Lives of Youth Living with HIV 2017-08-23
National roundup: Military group, Black AIDS Institute, cruising sting 2017-08-23
World news: Montreal mayor, HIV-test machine, interfaith wedding 2017-08-23
TPAN 30th-anniversary event Sept. 28 2017-08-16
 



Copyright © 2017 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

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.