Diverse & Resilient LGBTQ anti-violence programs serve survivors of all violence: intimate partner, sexual, and hate- or community-based violence.
We work directly with survivors of violence by listening, helping safety plan, and referring to inclusive shelters and programs within their communities in Wisconsin. This is facilitated through our statewide LGBTQ Anti-Violence Resource Line: (414) 856-LGBT (5428).
Our Room to Be Safe and Safe Dates programs are violence-prevention programs designed for schools and community visibility.
Leadership is necessary.
A core function of leadership is that a leader is thinking about the group as a whole, and not only about one’s membership in the group.
In LGBTQ communities and elsewhere there is sometimes significant resistance to leadership and to leading. Some associate leadership with authority, arrogance, or oppression. These associations can sometimes arise from past negative experiences with leadership and result in the attitude that we will “agree to disagree” or “just do your own thing.” But even when people cite examples where a group seemed to function just fine without leadership, one can usually find that behind the scenes there are people who quietly, persistently, steered the group toward success.
In LGBTQ communities, the resistance to lead can also stem from a fear of being attacked or marginalized by heterosexual people or by other LGBTQ people. Widespread homophobia and internalized homophobia have both ended up targeting LGBTQ people who put forth their ideas and seek to garner support from others in enacting them. In the Midwest, the urge to lead is sometimes also thwarted by regional biases that suggest real leadership is found on the East Coast and West Coast of the US; some of us have been made to feel small by this huge social limit.
But there’s a real advantage in having the leadership responsibility clearly designated. Leadership is necessary, and the leadership function must be filled. The more people who consider leading, the better.
To think about LGBTQ communities effectively, we have to be able consider the group as a big thing and the members of the group need to be viewed simultaneously as individuals. Leaders must be able to hold both of these perspectives while considering where we’ve come from, what is happening now, and what is likely to happen in the future with or without planned action.
While some argue that great leaders are just born that way, it is also widely agreed that solid leadership is also developed, supported, and cultivated.
At Diverse & Resilient, we have worked hard to develop leaders to find their power and exercise it on behalf of LGBTQ communities. From our program advisory committees and health promoters to our staff and Board of Directors, we work to make big things happen in Wisconsin’s LGBTQ communities.
Our sexuality is part of our being human. Intimacy, passion, and commitment are all part of our sexual lives from infancy through old age. Healthy relationships, reproduction, and disease prevention are all connected to our sexuality as well.
For LGBTQ people, it’s important to be aware of how anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination can complicate achieving and maintaining our sexual health. Embarrassment that stems from stigma can challenge our bringing up concerns or asking questions to physicians or other health care providers. Further, few LGBTQ people are raised in environments that have adequate information or healthy attitudes about same-sex relationships or about the wide variation of possible gender expression.
There are many areas of interest for LGBTQ in sexual health: reproductive justice, sexuality education, healthy relationships, sexually transmitted disease prevention, HIV prevention, sex and aging, use of erotic materials, sexual obsessions and compulsions, and more.
Men, women, and transgender people all have concerns about sexuality.
- How best to get pregnant or how best to avoid it
- Low sex drive or sex overdrive
- How to find a sexually-fulfilling relationship
- Worries about sexual functioning
- Understanding common changes in sexual health during aging
- How normal are my sexual organs
- How to maintain a healthy and enjoyable sex life at any age
- Maintaining exclusive sexual relationships
- Talking to our children about sex and our sexual orientation
- Addressing sexually transmitted infections
While it is normal to have concerns about sexuality and sexual functioning, these issues are further complicated by bias and discrimination in society and in our health care and educational institutions. But we know that LGBTQ people in Wisconsin want to have healthy sex lives that they can discuss with health professionals who are trained and competent.
Substance use and abuse in LGBTQ communities of Wisconsin is a complex issue and often prompts an array of feelings.
Surveys indicate that youth and adults in Wisconsin, in general, have very high rates of alcohol use and abuse in contrast to the rest of the United States. While the rates of alcohol use in Wisconsin are high, the rates of alcohol use among LGBTQ people do not differ greatly. Among LGBTQ youth in Wisconsin, there is an earlier onset of alcohol use and a greater likelihood of binge drinking, as well as significantly higher rates of use of tobacco, cocaine, inhalants, ecstasy, and heroin.
Historically in the United States, bars and clubs have played and continue to play a vital part in the development of LGBTQ communities. Especially in smaller and less-developed communities, the importance of bars to the LGBTQ community cannot be overstated. This reality greatly complicates the mechanisms to address substance use.
For some LGBTQ people, addressing substance use is challenged by a limited number of culturally-competent Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) providers and / or a lack of insurance coverage for such services. For others, substance use is viewed as a rite of passage, a factor associated with community membership, or a method of coping with the stressors associated with homophobia.
When it comes to addressing substance use and abuse among adults in Wisconsin, prevention includes providing safe zones or healthy venues where alcohol and other drug use is not encouraged, as well as informing community members about tobacco and other drug use, corporate targeting of LGBTQ people, and the lack of healthy venues. For addressing substance use and abuse among LGBTQ youth, prevention includes the use of evidence-based approaches that provide clear information on refusal skills, peer supports, and fun alternatives.
Whether addressing adult or youth substance use or abuse, all of the listed strategies play a part in eliminating the dangerous health disparities in substance use that limit the length and quality of our lives. Diverse & Resilient is also a member of the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, State Council on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse, and the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance.