Things That Matter

Queer Latinas: California Is Considering Funding for Lesbian, Bisexual, And Queer Health

If you’re a Lesbian, Bisexual or Queer (LBQ) Latina woman, you might not have given our invisibility in health equity much thought. As in every civil rights movement, women always come second to men, and people of color take the tail end of achieving meaningful justice. The facts are that LBQ women are facing challenges in getting healthcare, receiving nondiscriminatory healthcare and adequate mental health services that straight women do not face.

California is set to become the very first state in the nation to balance the scales as it consider the Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women’s Health Equity Fund in a budget proposal to be decided on by June 1.

If this makes you angry, it’s time to speak out.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

We only have a couple weeks until Governor Newsom signs off on California’s budgetary proposal for the next year. He, and other deciding members of California Congress need to know that Californians care about LBQ women.

An estimated 2 million of Californians identify as LBQ women.

@vanessadearest / Instagram

And our population is suffering. How many of your queer Latina friends can you think of that aren’t abusing drugs or alcohol, haven’t faced discrimination by a healthcare provider, or can actually afford health insurance? How many of us are suffering from untreated depression or anxiety as a result of a lifetime of discrimination?

Full disclosure: I’m the one holding the husky plushy.

LA LGBT Center

I started volunteering with “The Resistance Squad” at the Los Angeles LGBT Center while I was still closeted, on an obvious search for self discovery. Today, mi gente are still teaching me about myself.

When the Center first started lobbying for this project, I couldn’t believe the statistics I was reading. I could put a face to every single statistic. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Compared to straight women, LBQ women are half as likely to get pap smears and mammograms.

@pride / Instagram

At the Center, we delved deep into our own stories and shared. I heard Latina women sharing horror stories. After one woman disclosed her orientation to their OB/GYN, the doctor became immediately uncomfortable and refused to give her a breast exam.

That means that when breast and ovarian cancers are caught, they’re much more likely to be more advanced than straight women.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

This one story and others like it, compounded, have led to higher predicted rates of breast and ovarian cancer for LBQ women compared to straight women. People are dying.

Latina LBQ women are at even higher risk.

@outmagazine / Instagram

According to the National Institutes of Health, Latina LBQ women have higher rates of smoking, acute drinking, disability and poorer general health than straight Latina women. On top of that, we’re more likely to report frequent mental distress, which the researchers concluded were a result from “the cumulative risk of doubly disadvantaged statuses.”

There are 135% higher rates of psychological distress in older LBQ women than older straight women.

@68BEARS / Twitter

Every gay Latina I know, including myself, is screaming this at their Catholic parents on the regular. The NIH study also reports that Latina women who “violate conventional feminine norms” in our culture experience additional stressors. Preach.

LBQ women are also 150 percent more likely to binge drink than straight women.

@thewifeyadventures / Instagram

While that is certainly dangerous for our physical health, it also reflects on the mental health of our community. I think of the vast majority of people I love who are in recovery or still suffering from addiction, and can’t understand why nobody is paying attention.

Oh, and why can’t any doctor tell the lesbians, bisexuals and queeros how to practice safe sex?

@crazyexgalpal / Instagram

It’s infuriating to go to an OB/GYN and ask questions like: Can I spread this yeast infection to my partner? Can she spread it to me? How do I protect myself? The doctor almost always is thinking on the spot the answer to these questions for the first time, with no real answer.

The LBQ Health Equity Fund would provide training to healthcare providers to provide culturally appropriate healthcare for millions of marginalized Californians.

@outmagazine / Instagram

It’s partially not their fault. There is little to no research on LBQ sexual health. A percentage of the LBQ Health Equity Fund would address the gaps in research targeting LBQ women’s health needs and to inventory existing programs.

1 in 2 LBQ women have experienced discrimination in a healthcare setting, myself included.

Danielli Marzouca

A few years back, I took off work and hauled my nalga over to an expensive specialist to get to the bottom of my illness. Today, I know I have an immune deficiency disorder. Back then, when the doctor was reading her questionnaire and I outed myself, all diagnostics stopped. She assumed I was HIV positive and spent 45 minutes educating me on what my life would be like, what medications I would take, and that she didn’t really know how I would practice safe sex.

If I were a straight woman, I wouldn’t have spent the next few years avoiding doctors, staying constantly sick and calling out of work.

Danielli Marzouca

I had an incredible opportunity to tell my story to California legislators. I was two weeks into a bad cold, and as I write this, I’m still sick. I had a lapse in health insurance, and as grateful to have insurance now, I still can’t afford the treatment I need to stay reasonably healthy. I am not unique. These statistics are reflected in the entire LBQ women community.

All of these issues are nuanced, and difficult to understand how to treat.

MafeMel / Facebook

The problem is systemic. Our community is invisible to the California Department of Public Health. So what’s the solution? Get visible. Get loud.

The LGBT Center organized our voices and hand delivered hundreds of personal letters to California legislators this month.

LGBT Center / Facebook

It was an empowering day to sit down and truly reflect on all how I had been impacted by the statistics I was reading. It became so clear to all of us that our community is barely scraping by. We need help.

A few of us flew up to Sacramento to share our stories with legislators.

Danielli Marzouca

Meet Joey Hernández (left), the LA LGBT Center’s Policy and Mobilization Manager and the Leslie Knope of all things to do with this issue. Like any good mami, they randomly had Zicam and tissues on hand.

But they need to hear your stories.

Danielli Marzouca

Almost every single legislator I spoke with was shocked to hear that our community’s literal health was struggling. Please, if you have a story you wan’t heard, only you can do that.

Call Senator Holly Mitchell at (916) 651-4030.

@hollyjmitchell / Twitter

She is the chair on the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and her vote is crucial in the next few days. You can also email her here.

Most likely, you’ll only need to leave a voicemail or talk to one of her staffers. You can simply state that you want the Senator to vote in favor of the Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Equity Fund, or also share your story.

Okay, now, call Assembly Member Phil Ting at (916) 319-2019.

@philting / Instagram

He’s on the Assembly Committee on Budget, and we think his vote may sway this thing. Remember, these guys work for us, but they’re so far removed from our community, they need us to tell them why they should care.

Remember, we already have a model for success with both gay men’s health and trans health in California.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

After the government started making systemic changes to address the HIV crisis as an issue of public health, we’ve seen incredible strides in both research and culturally appropriate healthcare for gay men. LBQ women deserve a thoughtful eye into the issues that are truly shortening our lives.

Live in Los Angeles and like this feeling? Join the Resistance Squad!

Los Angeles LGBT Center / Facebook

There’s so much you can do to get involved. Ask your comadre to call Senator Mitchell and Assembly Member Ting, too. Share this page with your crew and get the conversation going. The only way out of these issues is through them. Pa’lante!

READ: Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Studies Say Women Are Struggling To Breastfeed For As Long As They Should, Fortunately, Latinas Are Sharing Their Best Tips

Fierce

Studies Say Women Are Struggling To Breastfeed For As Long As They Should, Fortunately, Latinas Are Sharing Their Best Tips

Jeff Topping / Getty

If there’s one thing mothers know to be true it’s that the difficulty of motherhood doesn’t end with childbirth. When it comes to motherhood, breastfeeding in particular often proves to be one of the most difficult early steps. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 57 percent of women who breastfeed continue to do so six months after giving birth. It’s a surprising number considering the fact that the CDC also recommends that women pursue the act of breastfeeding for six months at least and that the benefits of breastfeeding are extensive. Breastfeeding has long proven to aid in the prevention of diabetes in both mothers and children, as well as the prevention of childhood obesity, allergies, SIDS, and serious infections.

Still, the process can be trying and hard.

Fortunately, Latinas are sharing their tips and techniques for keeping up with breastfeeding.

If you’re at the start of your early breastfeeding days, check out some of the tips to help you make it through below.

“Don’t give up! It gets better! Seek out help from a lactation consultant at your OB/GYN’s office or hospital — some insurance plans cover the visit at no cost. Or contact your local La Leche League for free support from other nursing moms.” –mami.guevara

“Breastfed 5 babies…best advice is relax…and every baby is different…it’s okay to ask for help…” –mommy_dee55

“Breastfed for 2 1/2 years; first 5 months were the hardest! Take your time and be patient but MOST OF ALL do what’s best for you and your baby!!” –vida_de_maddrre

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are a great mom. No matter how your breastfeeding journey goes, your child will be loved. That is the best you can do for your child.” –noramia1

“I say just relax it takes time for some babies to latch on. But do what’s best for you, if you can’t breastfeed DON’T be ashamed, (and others need to stop the Mommy shaming!) you can use formula, it’s not the end of the world. I have two daughters the first one breastfeed til 19 months and my 9 month old is still breastfeeding. It’s not easy but all you new mom’s out there, just know you are great.” –angie17_lo

“Keep pumping and try milkmakers lactation cookies. They are delicious and helped me so much along with fenugreek vitamins. Be patient use formula when you need to. Do what works for you mama you know best for your baby, if it’s boob great if it’s formula great. Good luck.” –rosebuds00

“One👏🏽Day👏🏽At👏🏽A👏🏽Time… Breastfeeding is NOT easy! Do what best works for you.. Even if you can only pump….but don’t give up!”nursesandy_83

“Bruh yes I’m barely on 3 WEEKS and wondering how I’m going to make it to atleast my birthday (May).” –gabrielagnunez

“Don’t hesitate to switch to formula. I was unable to produce enough to feed my baby. Formula is a safe and nutritious alternative.” –partunicorn

“If you and your baby are not thriving, switch feeding tactics. You’re not a bad mom if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you.” –alexandriatrece

“Pump when needed. The bottle and formula are fine too. As long as your baby is getting nourishment. My kid was too lazy to take the boob. I ended up pumping and giving her a bottle. She got breast milk and I had so much milk for back up. It all works out. She ended up being weened of the bottle quickly. Sipping cups were her fave. She’s 28 and very healthy!” –mrsclny

“Patience is everything. If you plan on breastfeeding you must know it won’t be easy (or it will) but every baby is different. You’ll be nursing around the clock sometimes for hours on the couch or bed. But it’s doable and for me the best decision for my kids. Sometimes I wanted to stop, but I saw their little faces and bodies growing. It was empowering that I was nourishing them. Hang in their moms, again every journey is different. Some have to go back to work, pump.. other are at home. Whatever you decided is your choice. I nursed both my kids until 3 1/2.” –glendamurakami

“Hang in there mamis! It is so worth it. The pain, scabs, and unexpected let downs go away over a few weeks/months. It’s will be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.” –chicadel77

“this is why i pumped for a year, instead of direct nursing. there was a lot going on in my life and latching a baby to the breast at all hours of the day just seemed like too much. i’m still super happy that i was able to provide breastmilk for a year.” –damarysocana

“Every mom & every baby is different. Do what works for you & your baby. Ignore any & all negativity that goes your way. You brought a little human to this world; that’s your priority. Focus on your precious baby & enjoy your time with him/her, the time goes by so fast!” –glass.of.oj

“It’s hard. I tried and tried. My baby wouldn’t latch on and would not stop crying. Eventually I tried pumping but my supply gave out. My son is now 17 and he is a healthy, strong, kind young man. I’ll say this, try as hard as you can but if it doesn’t work, you know you did your best. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Normalize trying but finding a solution that works.” –adris_world220

“Value your own mental health too and switch to formula if you want to. It’s a safe, nutritious alternative.” –vivrami

“Seek a lactation consultant! Also, keep at it! More challenging than giving birth, according to my SO.” –sints.slrzno

“One day at a time. I breastfed all of my three children so I know how difficult and anxiety provoking it can sometimes be. No shame in fórmula at all. Do what works for you and be good to yourself.” –belkise.elena

“Just don’t give up! Keep offering it to baby and pump so you don’t get clogs. It takes a while to get into a rhythm but it will happen just have faith!5d1 likeReply

“Do whatever works for you. If it isn’t working that’s fine. No shame in formula and no shame in whipping your tittys out in public. Do whatever the fuck is best for you and your baby.” – stuffonstuff

“If you have the resources, seeing a lactation consultant is helpful. Pumping so you don’t become engorged if the baby is skipping feedings. I would say it took about three months to get a rhythm with my babies. Good luck.”- clarissava


“Nipple shield! Turns boob into bottle! Also pump the milk if they don’t latch and just bottle feed the breast milk. But mostly… Don’t sweat it! Sometimes babies just ween themselves off the booby, it’s natural!”- queen_of_my_castle_xx

“Keep pumping and try milkmakers lactation cookies. They are delicious and helped me so much along with fenugreek vitamins. Be patient use formula when you need to. Do what works for you mama you know best for your baby, if it’s boob great if it’s formula great. Good luck.”-rosebuds00

“Be patient and enjoy the moment. It seems like a long time but, time flies and you’ll miss it.” –galvanizestem


“Nursed each of my 4 kids for 2 years. Patience and perseverance are key. Listen to your body and your baby. There is no right or wing way to do it, only your way. What works for your family is it. Be open minded and flexible. Best of luck.” –dianapatricia_66


“I’ve breastfed 4 babies. One Set of Twins, one baby exclusively breastfed until 2yo and my last baby until 3.5yo. Each baby is different. They latch differently and your body will respond differently to each one. Best advice is to relax. I know it’s hard to hear, especially if you have so many other things to tend to. They feel it when you are tense. and find their favorite nursing position …try them all. You’ll find a sweet spot eventually. And feel free to allow yourself the option to supplement when needed.”-crdguzman

“I breastfeed exclusively for 2 years (no bottle, no formula, no pacifier)! Breastfeeding is the best you can do for yourself and your baby! There are so many resources out there and honestly misinformation is what causes a lot of women to never breastfeed or give up. If anyone needs help let me know!”- niraarin

“Yes, as many moms have said before don’t give up. I am currently breastfeeding exclusively to my 10month old son. I have breastfed my 2 children prior. He has definitely been the hardest! The first 5 months was filled with feelings of self doubt, guilt and pain. Now that he is 10 months, I can say i am more than glad to still be breastfeeding. It is so much easier to not worry about formula, bottles or anything. All I do is whip out my breast and that’s it. He is a happy happy baby! First few months you do have to be next to baby all day because of constant feedings and keep in mind your baby has been used to being in your womb for 9 months, it takes time lose that attachment. But keep going and you won’t regret it! Take time for yourself every once in a while and remember you created a little human who you have the ability to nourish. Our bodies have been blessed with that ability.”- vivalayumyums

“Pump when needed. The bottle and formula are fine too. As long as your baby is getting nourishment. My kid was too lazy to take the boob. I ended up pumping and giving her a bottle. She got breast milk and I had so much milk for back up. It all works out. She ended up being weened of the bottle quickly. Sipping cups were her fave. She’s 28 and very healthy!”- mrsclny



Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Long Beach Street Vendor Was Attacked And The Community Is Showing Up To Help Him

Things That Matter

A Long Beach Street Vendor Was Attacked And The Community Is Showing Up To Help Him

GoFundMe

In 2020, we saw several street vendors attacked while trying to make ends meet. As the pandemic drags on and people are desperate, the attacks on street vendors have not abated and a Long Beach street vendor is the latest victim.

A street vendor in Long Beach was brutally attacked while working.

@moisesthechosen1

please spread awareness and Hispanic Lives Matter 😭😭😭. It happened on LB Blvd and Burnett today. #vendor #mexican #awarness #hispanictiktok #help

♬ original sound – Moises Rodriguez

Gerardo Iván Olmeda Del Pilar, 22, was working as a street vendor in Long Beach when he was attacked by two people. The vendor, according to LA Taco, was later than usual in setting up after dropping of fellow street vendors on his way.

Del Pilar was at the intersection of Burnett Street and Long Beach Boulevard on Saturday Jan. 16 when it happened. The street vendor was approached by two men who seemed to be regular customers when they attacked.

“Everything was calm, then I want to say four hours passed when two men came towards me and like any other customer they asked me for an order of fruit,” Del Pilar told LA Taco

Del Pilar is not letting this stop him from what he has to do to survive.

Del Pilar has been a street vendor for a while. The man, who is from Veracruz, Mexico, was suckerpunched and attacked. According to LA Taco, Del Pilar was giving the men their order when one punched him in the chin to knock him down. They then both started to attack him until they got his wallet and ran away. The men stole $500 from him.

Del Pilar told the Long Beach Post that there was not much he could do while being attacked. He was left with a swollen face and horrific bumps on his face from the vicious attack.

Two friends have set up GoFundMe accounts to help Del Pilar out.

Both Alex Diaz and Marissa Gomez have set up GoFundMe pages to help the young man. Combined, the two GoFundMe pages have raised more than $10,000 and are still accepting donations to help Del Pilar.

“While he was cutting up their fruit, one man reached into his backpack and took out an object and used it to punch him in the face. They broke his nose and lumped up his face and then dragged and kicked him while he was on the floor,” reads Gomez’s GoFundMe. “This man was an innocent victim just trying to provide for his family. All donations will go to replace this man’s lost income. There is no such thing as a donation too small anything is appreciated.”

READ: Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com