Resource Center arranges meeting between ICE and LGBT community leaders

ICEOn July 28, Resource Center organized a meeting between members of the LGBT community and the Dallas field office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Among those involved were Nell Gaither from Trans Pride Initiative and Juan Contreras and other members of Rainbow LULAC as well as Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell.

Gaither called the meeting a good first step. She said one goal is to let people in custody with ICE know there are resources if they are victims of violence. She said a goal is to let more people know that if they are unsafe in their home country because of their sexual orientation or gender identity may be a reason to claim asylum or withholding of removal.

Last month, the federal government announced new policies on how the agency will treat LGBT detainees. ICE will also collect data on how many people flee their home countries because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Resource Center has a long history of working together with partner organizations and governmental agencies, and the meeting was the first step towards establishing an ongoing dialogue on LGBT issues at the local level with ICE.

—  David Taffet

Trans Pride Initiative’s going to DC but needs your help


Trans Pride Initiative’s Nell Gaither.

Thanks to Out2Enroll, Trans Pride’s Nell Gaither will join other LGBT advocates from around the country in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 10, to share stories and successes of LGBT people under the Affordable Care Act.

She’s going to D.C. with her personal stories and wants to hear yours, too. She’ll be talking about how, before the Affordable Care Act, she was denied coverage by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for being trans.

If you have a health care story, comment or suggestion to share, you have a few options. You can share anonymously via this online form, e-mail it to or call Nell at 214-394-9835. She will record your story over the phone.

She’d prefer to receive comments by Wednesday, April 9.

—  James Russell

Trans Pride Initiative expands 2nd annual health fair on Saturday

outHealthyFair2013_flyerAfter focusing on the health needs of the trans and gender non-conforming communities  last year, Trans Pride Initiative is adding health screenings for the entire LGBT community at a health fair Saturday.

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said she planned a Chest & Breast Wellness Day at UT Southwestern Medical Center last year so gender non-conforming individuals would have access to healthcare without feeling uncomfortable or facing discrimination at a doctor’s office.

This year’s event on Saturday is called the Out Healthy Fair. It will again feature chest/breast screenings, diagnostic exams and same-day results, and informative presentations will be offered throughout the day on various topics like skin cancer, lung cancer and smoking cessation. A transgender Affordable Care Act coordinator will also be in attendance.

“We’re trying to expand our audience and we’re expanding the types of things we’re offering,” Gaither said.

Last year, UT Southwestern saw about 15 people, but Gaither said the response from people who attended and the training of the staff helped Trans Pride refer LGBT people to the hospital throughout the year for services because they knew they’d be comfortable.

“Our original idea was to expand it and grow it each year so that it became more of an LGBT community-wide health event for the entire LGBTQI community and something that the trans community could say this is us, this is our work for the entire community as a way of instilling trans pride,” she said.

Screening costs are covered by sponsors for persons who don’t have insurance or whose insurance won’t cover them. While people can call to schedule an appointment, Gaither said walk-ins are encouraged on Saturday.

Dallas Voice’s coverage of the event last year sparked interest in other departments at UT Southwestern. Gaither said she expects more departments to participate in future years to again grow the event.

Vendor booths will include participation from UTSW Community Prevention and Intervention Unit, AIDS Arms, LULAC Rainbow Council 4871, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Black Transmen Inc., Black Transwomen Inc., Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, AmeriDoc, University of North Texas Center for Psychosocial Health Research, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Transgender Education Network of Texas and Lambda Legal.

The Out Healthy Fair is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s  Seay Biomedical Building, 2201 Inwood Road. To schedule an appointment, call 214-645-2526. For more information, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

UT Southwestern to hold chest wellness day for trans community next week

A Chest & Breast Wellness Day next Saturday at UT Southwestern will provide transgender men and women and masculine women an opportunity to have a comfortable environment for breast cancer screenings.

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said she planned the event so gender non-conforming individuals could have good access to healthcare without feeling uncomfortable or facing discrimination at a doctor’s office.

The event is from 7:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 20 at UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2201 Inwood Road on the third floor.  Screenings will remain open until 5 p.m. if there are enough appointments or people waiting.

Appointments can be made by calling 214-645-2526, but walk-ins will also be accepted. Gaither said people can even call the morning of the event to schedule an appointment.

Screening costs are covered for Dallas and Tarrant County residents if someone’s insurance won’t cover the cost or if someone doesn’t have insurance. Residents of other counties should call first.

We’ll have more information about Trans Pride Initiative and upcoming healthcare plans in next week’s Dallas Voice, but we wanted to get the information about the appointments out early.

—  Dallasvoice