Liz Bradbury's Fall Appeal Page
Once again, I’ve been asked to be part of the Fall Appeal effort here at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, I know money is tight for everyone…but I still have to ask, so thanks in advance for listening while I tell you about all the great work we’re doing!
We’re still fighting COVID at the Center. Trish and I lost 4 close friends and family members during COVID and I’m really pleased that the Center is still taking COVID very seriously. At the Center we do vaccinations right here, and over the last two years we’ve provided free COVID vaccinations, boosters, and flu shots to over one thousand people, many of whom have told us they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a vaccination facility that might have been unsupportive of their identities.
This year we’ve continued to add diverse support groups, fun community building cultural programs, groundbreaking research, youth and family outreach and support, legal action for legislated LGBT equality, and fair reaching health programs.
And just one of our essential projects we did in 2022 was contacting thousands of folks through our outreach media and in-person to encourage them in a non-partisan way, to register and vote in the important swing state of Pennsylvania, to help them register to vote, apply for mail-in ballots, and get their votes filed in time. As you may know Pennsylvania flipped a Senate seat to an elected official who has always been fully supportive of LGBTQ+ and other progressive rights, from a Senator who voted against us in nearly every situation.
We also elected a Governor who is fully committed to maintain and further efforts to support all people’s rights, regardless of being part of a historically marginalized population and including LGBTQ+ people. We are doing terrific things at the Center. We now have 25 employees with living wage salaries and full benefits when just 6 1/2 years ago we had only two people working here!
I’m still here as the Director of the Center’s Training Institute (I did 49 unique and different trainings and presentations in 2022 on LGBTQ+ issues). My beloved Trish Sullivan is still volunteering for the Center constantly, and we’re about to welcome a new dynamic Executive Director, very soon.
And all our programs are FREE and many are available as hybrid programs that run live in the Center and live on Zoom concurrently so the people all over the world (really - see below) can participate!
Check out the amazing list below of just some of our wonderful and crucial work our departments at the Center are doing.
Our 4000 square foot youth program space underwent a terrific revitalization this year with the help of painting volunteers from Giant and Glamazon the LGBTQ employee group at Amazon) led by Kiir Prokopowitz. A brand new daily youth program will be opening next year. Kim Ketterer, our Youth and Family Programs Manager has been presenting terrific programs for children of all ages and their parents including the very popular Drag Queen Story Hours — with our Major Events Manager, Eric Yoak.
We believe in a brave space model where our Center is an affirming space for LGBTQ+ youth to be themselves. We also take great responsibility in promoting healthy youth decision making, including regular HIV testing, wellness, tobacco cessation, and non-partisan voter registration. If the only thing our LGBT Center did was provide our youth program, we would be fulfilling an important mission, but we do so much more!
Our Monthly or Twice Monthly Support Groups which are usually hybrid with in-person and on-line on Zoom access which are organized and promoted by Robin Gow, our Associate Director of Community Programs and Gabby Hochfeld, they include:
- Prism - An LGBTQ Neurodivergent Community Group
- Transfeminine Support Group
- Transmasculine Support Group
- Parents of Trans Kids (of any age). This program is so well attended it meets on-line twice a month *Monthly programs for Parents and Younger LGBTQ+ Kids
- Including Queer Story Hour! (In person, for families)
- A Space for Aces - A Community Group for Asexual and Aromantic People
- SHADEZ - A BIPOC Queer Community Group*Lehigh Valley Lesbians - a Social and Support Group *Breathe - A Queer Spirituality Support Group
- Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer Community Group
- Visit and Vibe - A drop-in community building day each month for crafts, reading, chatting, and making friends. In person only
- Bereavement Group - For LGBTQ people who have experienced loss. (Professionally led by a bereavement counselor)
- And Coming Soon: Coming Out Group — (Professionally led by a mental health counselor)
Cultural, Fun, Community Building events and groups are overseen by Robin Gow and led by Gabby Hochfeld, our Arts and Culture Programs Coordinator. They include:
- Board Gayme Group in the Center
- Queer Novel Reading Group - In Person and on Zoom*Poetry Book Reading Group - In person and on Zoom*Monthly Queer Author Talks - monthly - In person and on Zoom
- Queer Threads — A knitting, crocheting, crafting, and stitching circle - In person and on Zoom
- Poetry Book Reading Group
- Reel Queer Film Series: Presenting free screenings of LGBT-themed independent, arthouse, and documentary films in person and on Zoom.
- Native Plant Foraging - led by our Grants Manager Rain Black Spirituality Mini Series - An annual event
- Gabby Hochfeld also coordinates our library, that now has over 2500 LGBTQ books that are cataloged on-line and free to borrow
Art and History from a Queer Perspective - This is a program I’ve been doing for 5 years - and we are currently in the middle of the 8th - ‘four presentation’ Series”. They are funny, interesting and one the the most popular events at the Center, not the least of reasons is because Trish makes great food for them! The one we did on December 2nd — Queer Heroes and Icons Throughout History - was attended by a very diverse and intergenerational group of 76 people — 50 in the Center and 26 people on-line from all over the US, including Florida, Nevada, Washington DC, and Connecticut. On January 5th, I’ll be showing slides and talking about 19th Century Queer Portrait Painters, and on January 12th I’ll be talking about Transmasculine Gender Bending Icon Peter Pan and the LGBTQ+ people who created Pan beginning in 1911. These will be on-line and in person — You can watch some on the Center’s Youtube Channel, here’s one I like very much - it’s at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-L_lYNhMCU&t=2s
Health Programs include:
- Get Tested Tuesdays on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month for free testing on - COVID, HIV, HEP-C, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia.
- Healthcare Insurance Enrollment with skilled staff through Pennie, that has helped save many folks a lot of money on their healthcare insurance.
- Tobacco Awareness and Cessation information — Because Tobacco is the biggest killer of the LGBT community.
Our promotion of many key health screenings including:
- Promoting the Hepatitis A Vaccination campaign to promote Hep A Vaccinations for the LGBT community
- Cervical Cancer Screenings: If you've got it, Pap it: promoting cervical cancer screenings for LGBT people assigned female at birth
- Anal Cancer Screenings: That Ass Tho!: promoting anal cancer screenings for gay & bisexual men
- Colorectal Cancer Screenings: Promoting colorectal cancer screenings for LGBT people aged 50 and above
- Breast Cancer Screenings: A Mammogram Can Be A Lifesaver: promoting breast cancer screenings for all
- Ending Conversion Therapy: Protecting Lehigh Valley's LGBT youth from harmful and unscientific "Conversion Therapy"
- Sexual Health & HIV Prevention: Free & non-judgy HIV/STI testing and access to free safer-sex materials
- We also help with Affordable Care Act enrollment, and help with Medical Marijuana enrollment. All of these are non-judgy.
- COVID-19 Outreach & Education: Addressing the impacts of COVID on the LGBT community
We’ve also had a terrific credit-granting nursing educational program, that helps nurses develop expertise in the health needs of LGBTQ people. I’ve been able to do some of the trainings for that. Every summer we’ve funded many Pride festivals throughout Pennsylvania to be tobacco free, because showing youth that you can be part of the LGBTQ community and NOT SMOKE has been proven to help keep LGBTQ beginning smoking at an early age.
The entire health team also includes:
- Katie Suppes, Director of Programs, Research, and EvaluationChristina Graham, Data and Evaluation Manager
- Chrystina Obleschuk, MPH, Health Equity Programs Manager
- Mary Frasier, Health Education Coordinator
- Owen Pudliner | Community Health Advocate
- Deirdre Van Walters | Healthcare Enrollment Coordinator
- Ramona Flores | Healthcare Enrollment CoordinatorDavid Celli, Healthcare Enrollment Coordinator
- Meaghan Lawlor | Community Health Worker
The LGBT Community Archive is a program of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center: It’s focus is preserving our local LGBT history for our future - The Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archives exists to collect, preserve, and provide access to the rich LGBT community history of the Lehigh Valley. The archive is offered to the community in partnership with the library at Muhlenberg College. This collection documents local and regional LGBT life and activism. It includes publications, organizational records, personal papers, oral histories, and artifacts. Trish and I were really glad that we could donate and have cataloged the 27 years of papers, print materials, and artifacts we had amassed from all the years we’ve been doing local activism. Professor Mary Foltz of Lehigh University, Collaborating Scholar.
We feature, celebrate, partner on, and honor many important community events including World AIDS Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance. the Women’s 5k Race Team to Fight Breast Cancer that we have participated in for 22 years.
And of course, our wonderful Lehigh Valley Pride Festival that was managed in 2022 by our former Development Director Matt Easterwood, was a fabulous triumph with over 120 booths, terrific entertainment, marching bands, speakers, artists, and community building. We are already looking forward to the 2023 Festival.
We are a primary organization to help in providing information that allows for filing discrimination cases. The cases can happen because every two years we have created and led a major health survey reaching out (this year is our 4rd survey) and gathering health information to thousands of self-identified LGBTQ folks state-wide. This information is formulated and carefully codified — and national healthcare organizations have let us know that this biannual effort in Pennsylvania to collect some of the most comprehensive LGBTQ community health data in the US, is nationally significant.
The statistics provide vital and significant data on LGBTQ+ health. No other agency in has been able to collect this kind of data in the US, and with this information. Bradbury-Sullivan is able to demonstrate the health needs of the LGBTQ population in PA, which, because of its rural, small city, and large city mix can be applied to a variety of health research concerns, and also can show the harm anti-LGBTQ government actions can do. This data is groundbreaking. Just one example as to how significant this data is, is that we were able to collect health information from over 100 Intersex people in our last Health Needs Assessment. This data is likely to be the largest sampling from this demographic ever collected in history.
The Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment measures the health disparities of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians with regard to HIV, cancer, tobacco, mental health, alcohol and other drug usage, healthy eating and active living, food and housing security, intimate partner violence, experiences with discrimination, access to healthcare, quality of healthcare, and other key metrics.
You can read some of this fascinating information and these interesting stats from a widely diverse age, race, and socioeconomic sampling of the LGBTQ community, at our website at https://www.livehealthypa.com/health-team/educational-toolkits/lgbt-provider-toolkit
Data collected through the PA LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment are used by public health professionals and LGBTQ organizations to develop programs designed to address health disparities in the LGBTQ community; mobilize support for such programs; and fuel advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels.
After 25 years of being on call 24/7, I’m still running our LGBTQ+ Infoline, that allows people to call in to ask for information and referrals on LGBTQ issues and concerns. But now, Peter Flood, our Community Center Specialist answers the infoline during the day. He also works constantly to bring our referral information up-to-date. I answer the line the rest of the time.
And finally - MY DEPARTMENT— The Training Institute of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, provides LGBTQ Cultural Awareness and Equity Trainings to businesses, organizations, and government institutions.
In the 7 years since the Center has been open, I’ve done over 300 uniquely crafted trainings to over 17,000 people. This year I trained the US Department of Labor staff of VETS - the Veterans Employment and Transition Services - the group that helps Veterans reenter the workforce, and I was able to explain to this group that under new guidelines from the Biden Administration, LGBT people who had been “less than honorably discharged” from the military because they were LGBT or HIV positive, could now convert those discharges to “honorable discharges”, which would help their employment potential.
I also trained in the Pennsylvania Department of Aging Summit on LGBTQ Older Adult issues. I trained the staff in 20 schools, I trained on Palliative Care for LGBTQ patients in a Grand Rounds at our very large local community hospital system, I trained the Office of Public Defenders of Delaware County (where Philadelphia is) and a large group of Court Appointed Advocates for Children in the Foster Child System. Those, along with 43 other trainings and presentations, brought information to colleges, faith-based organizations, mental health agencies, international corporations, and a host of others. I’m proud that our Training Institute at the
LGBT Center was able to help so many organizations support their staff and those they serve.
Please help us continue to do this important work by donating $100, that would be really great, but if you can’t manage that right now, and I know times are tough for everybody, any donation of any size will do, if possible. If you can donate more than $100, that would be really terrific! But if you can’t donate this year, I promise I won’t be mad…I’m glad you had a chance to read about what we’ve been doing, I’m really proud of the Center and all this stuff we are doing that really helps us and the community deal with adversity and stay
Happy Holidays, we really do have a lot of be thankful for — Here’s to sweet holidays and a Happier New Year with a big helping of hope, friendship, and joy!
Love, Liz (and Trish)
P.S. If your employer matches charitable donations, please don't forget to let them know about your gift as well!