On Being Well

Once a month, Mazzoni Center brings you “On Being Well,” a column that aims to address a broad range of health and wellness issues that impact LGBT communities. Mazzoni Center recognizes that wellness means more than just an annual visit to the doctor: It’s about having access to health insurance,and a culturally competent provider who understands your unique health concerns, as well as counseling/mental health and recovery support. It’s about making smart, informed decisions about your body. And it’s also about your social environment, and feeling safe, confident and empowered in your identity and within your community. For more about Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia’s home for LGBT health and well-being, visit www.mazzonicenter.org.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s hard to imagine there are many people not aware of this fact. Thanks to some incredibly successful awareness-raising efforts in recent years, we have become accustomed to seeing pink ribbons in all kinds of places — from ballpoint pens to water bottles, running shoes to NFL jerseys — even drill bits.

In last month’s column (“The Real Impact: Being black, gay and wanting change”), we asked, “What’s it like being a young black gay man in a big metropolitan city like Philadelphia?” We touched on some of the challenges that face black gay culture, especially the HIV epidemic. While black people make up 12.2 percent of the American population, the black community makes up 44.2 percent of people living with HIV in America. And young men of color who have sex with men are the group at highest risk of HIV infection. That’s just one aspect of our world, but it’s a reality we are working to change.

I’ve been involved in Philly’s queer and trans* communities for a long time, and over the years I have noticed there are particular needs that are very specific to people who were born female and later came into their masculinity.

“Recovery: a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their full potential.

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