Empowering Queer People of Color Through Health and Wellness

allgo holds its second annual health fair

In its efforts to expand health care access to queer people of color, allgo is putting on their second annual Community Healing & Queer People of Color Health Fair at the Ground Floor Theatre on Saturday, March 24.

Scenes from 2017's Community Healing and QPOC Health Fair (Photo by Priscilla Hale)

The Austin-based nonprofit is well-known for its efforts to support and connect queer people of color across Texas. Jae Lin, allgo's health and wellness advocate, tells "Gay Place" that the organization operates on three pillars: social justice, arts and culture, and health and wellness. Every other week, allgo holds health and wellness meetings at its East Austin location in an attempt to better understand and solve issues queer people of color face. In addition to these meetings, a city grant paved the way for allgo to also create a community health fair.

“The health disparities that we see in our communities – they cross income lines,” says Lin. “That says there’s something preventing our folks from accessing care.”

According to Lin, those barriers can range from feeling dismissed by health care providers to feeling unwelcome in the waiting room – be that due to patrons, front room staff, even the magazines available. As for places that promote themselves as being queer and POC-friendly, Lin notes that if the staff and leaders are not QTPOC themselves, the environment can often still feel unwelcoming.

“It’s this whole ecosystem of health care that, at every point, has shut us out,” Lin says. They add, it doesn’t help that more often than not conversations surrounding QPOC access don't include the very people being discussed. Enter allgo's community health fair, where queer people of color can not only connect to QTPOC healers but also where those healers can be spotlighted and given a platform.

“What we really like to do is show not just our community, but also the rest of the world, that we have a lot of solutions for ourselves in our community,” Lin says.

The health fair will feature a variety of health care providers that attendees can speak with and learn about in the hopes of figuring out who they connect with best. Because, as Lin stresses, it's important for everyone, but especially QPOC folks, to have a health care provider they trust. Saturday's event will also offer free health screenings – from blood pressure to HIV testing – and giveaways. For providers who were invited but could not attend, brochures will be available to browse and take home. The fair will focus on spiritual and mental health as well. A spiritual healer will be attending and yoga and mindfulness sessions are scheduled throughout the day.

“Our big goal is that we want people to feel less afraid of stigma, and more hopeful to find access points to services that will enhance, boost, heal, and promote vitality in Austin,” says Lin. “We want everyone who comes out to feel like this is a community space that has been created by people who are like them, for people who are like them.”

The Community Healing & QPOC Health Fair takes place Saturday, March 24, at Ground Floor Theatre from 12:30 to 4:30pm. It's free to attend and open to the public.

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allgo, community health fair, Jae Lin, Community Healing & Queer People of Color Health Fair

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