July 2013 Queens Pride House newsletter
Dear Queens Pride House friends,
Queens Pride House mounted its most extensive Queens Pride outreach effort ever at the parade and multicultural festival this year. On June 2, the staff and volunteers worked from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. to make sure that we met and even exceeded the expectations we set for ourselves. Under the leadership of Carlos M. Cubas, our program coordinator, the Queens Pride House team distributed nearly 20,000 condoms and lubricants and over 1,000 of our brochures providing information about the services that we offer to the community at no charge — including our counseling program and support groups. And more than 500 individuals joined the Queens Pride House mailing list and will be receiving our monthly e-newsletter. On behalf of the board, staff and members of Queens Pride House, I would like to thank everyone who volunteered with us and participated in this wonderful effort.
Queens Pride House
Israel/Palestine forum on June 4
On June 4, Queens Pride House hosted “Israel/Palestine is an LGBT issue,” its first-ever forum on Israel and Palestine. The Queens Chronicle covered the event (“Pride House forum slams Israeli policies,” by Mark Lord, 6.6.13), which drew over 30 people to Pride House for a panel discussion with Pauline Park and Sarah Schulman, a renowned author and activist widely regarded as one of the leading figures in the LGBT community. As the very first public forum in the history of the borough to provide an opportunity for voices critical of Israeli occupation and apartheid to talk about the actual situation in Israel and the occupied territories from an LGBT perspective, the June 4 forum may be regarded as a historic event. In response to our forum, the Chronicle ran a rather misguided editorial (“An attack on Israel, here in Queens“) riddled with inaccuracies and misconceptions, to which Queens Pride House responded in a letter to the editor from (“It’s about free speech“); our letter to the editor explained the purpose of the forum and the need for LGBT community centers to host and sponsor public forums on controversial issues, including Israel/Palestine, in order to foster open discussion of those issues and their implications for the LGBT community, which at least some members of the community clearly understand (“Israel is no democracy“).
LGBT rights forum: what now after DOMA …?
Queens Pride House and the HIV/LGBT Advocacy Project of Queens Legal Services are proud to present a community workshop on the impact of United States v. Windsor on low-income and poor LGBT families. This workshop will explore the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Windsor decision striking down key provisions of the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ (DOMA) and its implications for federal benefits for immigrants and low-income and poor people. In the first half of this workshop, we will discuss how Windsor extends marriage-based immigration benefits to same sex spouses and their children. The workshop will include information on the general criteria and process for sponsoring an undocumented spouse for a green card. We will also provide an overview of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, which allow undocumented battered spouses of US citizens or green card holders to self-petition for a green card. Petitioners who obtain this special form of relief will also be eligible for work authorization and certain public benefits. In the second half of the workshop, we will discuss other changes in federal policy and regulations that impact LGBT individuals and families. Please join us at Queens Pride House from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30 for this important event~!
Aug. 13 PRANA training on condom possession & police harassment for translatinas
Queens Pride House will be holding the first in a series of trainings for LGBT people of color in the borough as part of the Popular Resistance and Non-Violent Action (PRANA) Project, funded by the North Star Fund. The series will kick off with a training in Spanish for LGBT Latinos/Latinas that will be specially geared to the concerns of transgendered Latinas. Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, esq., legal director of the Center for HIV Law & Policy, will facilitate the training, which will focus on the legal rights of those stopped by the police while carrying condoms and the NYPD’s use of condom possession as evidence of participation in sex work. The training will take place at Queens Pride House from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13.
Aug. 22 APICHA meningitis vaccinations & HIV testing
APICHA Community Health Center staff will be at Queens Pride House from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 22 to provide free HIV testing and meningitis vaccinations. While we often offer HIV testing, this will be the first time that Queens Pride House will be providing meningitis vaccinations, and we are happy to partner with our friends at APICHA to offer this free service to members of the LGBT community, especially given the nationwide outbreak of meningitis that began last year. Here in New York City, there have been over 20 cases of meningitis involving gay men and/or men who have sex with men (‘MSM’) in the last few years, including at least seven deaths, and meningitis is fatal in 10-14 percent of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. And unlike HIV, which cannot be spread through casual contact, the neisseria meningitides bacteria can be; those who are HIV-positive may be especially vulnerable to meningitis infection. The CDC recommends meningitis vaccination for everyone over the age of 11.
Julie Jimenez finishes her social work internship at Queens Pride House
Julie Jimenez finishes her social work internship at Queens Pride House this week. A student at Touro College, where she is pursuing her master’s degree in social work, Julie has been providing individual counseling to clients under the supervision of Dr. René Vázquez del Valle, director of programs and services at Queens Pride House, as well as co-facilitating our new women’s group. Julie has also helped out in numerous other ways, assisting with events and outreach as well as helping out around the office. Julie, thank you for all of your contributions to Queens Pride House~!
Queens Pride House has new public hours
Queens Pride House has new public hours. From now on, we’ll be open to the public from 1-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But while we will be closing to the public at 7 p.m., it will still be possible for groups to schedule meetings after 7 p.m. with staff approval, and clients may be able to schedule individual counseling sessions as well, pending availability of counseling staff. For specific inquiries, call Queens Pride House at (718) 429-5309.
Queens Pride House raffle winner
Sean Gian won the Queens Pride House raffle prize of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 at the multicultural festival following the Queens Pride Parade on June 2. Congratulations, Sean~!