they2ze: SoCal Tour

In February, the YTH Team had the opportunity to present their 2017-2018 ACIOP trans health mobile app, they2ze, at the Southern California Sexual Health Summit in Downtown Los Angeles. Along the way, YTH Director of Programs Cara Silva and Program Coordinator Chris Bannister seized the opportunity to visit and connect with some truly amazing folks and share more about they2ze. The following is a quick look back at YTH’s SoCal adventure.

Day 1
Santa Barbara -> Ventura -> Los Angeles

Planes, Trains, and Lyft Ride Mobiles. The first leg of YTH’s they2e SoCal trip consisted of a couple of quick stops along the coastal US 101.

YTH Director of Programs Cara Silva met with several community engagement leaders at the Public Health Department of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN), Diversity Collective, Rainbow Umbrella, and Coalition for

ACIOP 1

YTH Director of Programs, Cara Silva, meets with the Coalition for Family Harmony and Rainbow Umbrella. Ventura, California

Family Harmony (CFH). These organizations have been a huge help in connecting YTH to all of the neighboring trans services around the Santa Barbara and Ventura area; proving the need for services that go beyond the greater SF Bay Area.

While Cara was in Santa Barbara County, our Programs Coordinator, Chris Bannister, had the opportunity to meet up with some folks at the LA LBGT Center and LA County Department of Public Health in Los Angeles. Located in the heart of West Hollywood, The LA LGBT Center, needless to say, is quite an impressive feat. The Center functions more of a campus than a center, really; requiring most folks to use a map in order to navigate their way around. There are multiple theaters, conference rooms, libraries, resource rooms, social hangouts galleries, activity centers, and youth spaces situated all throughout the LA LGBT Center. The Center is also located across the street from a huge construction site: the future home of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus.

ACIOP 2

The Los Angeles LGBT Center

“It’s going to be an affordable housing unit for LGBT seniors and youth alike,” beams Gina Bigham, the Program Manager and Founder of the LA LGBT Center’s Trans* Lounge. This new campus will include 100 units of housing for LGBT seniors, 100 shelter beds for homeless youth, and 35 permanent beds for LGBT youth and young adults. The site takes up a whole city block and will be open for business in 2019: a true and magnificent sight to see.

 

 

Day 2
The Southern California Sexual Health Summit. Los Angeles, CA

Cara and Chris reunited in Los Angeles for the Southern California Sexual Health Summit, where they presented they they2ze mobile app as an inclusive tool for providing inclusive HIV and health services to transgender spectrum youth and their providers in California.

There were many familiar faces in the audience at the SoCal Summit. Folks from all over the state came to present their findings on LGBT health, HIV and STI prevention, healthy relationships, and so on. Many of these familiar faces, in addition, had several questions about they2ze:

ACIOP 3

YTH Director of Programs Cara Silva and Program Coordinator Chris Bannister at the 2018 Southern California Sexual Health Summit  

How does it get vetted? What happens when you get a bad review? Is there an emergency button for PEP? How do you encourage folks to download the app? Is it just for trans youth? Have you gotten any negative feedback from providers? Is there a way to redeem a bad review?”

These questions aren’t necessarily new to YTH; since expanding they2ze statewide, the answers have been more challenging to come by. And as the app continues to grow we’ll learn as much as we can and make changes along the way.

 

Day 3
Riverside

Cara and Chris reunited in Los Angeles for the Southern California Sexual Health Summit, where they presented they they2ze mobile app as an inclusive tool for providing inclusive HIV and health services to transgender spectrum youth and their providers in California.

There were many familiar faces in the audience at the SoCal Summit. Folks from all over the state came to present their findings on LGBT health, HIV and STI prevention, healthy relationships, and so on. Many of these familiar faces, in addition, had several questions about they2ze:

How does it get vetted? What happens when you get a bad review? Is there an emergency button for PEP? How do you encourage folks to download the app? Is it just for trans youth? Have you gotten any negative feedback from providers? Is there a way to redeem a bad review?”

These questions aren’t necessarily new to YTH; since expanding they2ze statewide, the answers have been more challenging to come by. And as the app continues to grow we’ll learn as much as we can and make changes along the way.

The last day of our trip consisted of a small visit to the Riverside Public County Health Department and to TruEvolution, both of which offer a tremendous amount of support to the transgender spectrum community.

An inquiry that we were posed during our time in Los Angeles, was whether or not YTH had paid a visit to some of the college campuses in Irvine and in Riverside. This inquiry was also got brought up during our trip to TruEvolution. “Have any of you had a chance to visit any of the college campuses?” We hadn’t.

We had asked Community Organizer, Jorge Delos Santos, of TruEvolution why it was that a lot of people were recommending college campuses; our approach had always been to visit local LGBT Centers and NPOs. Jorge explained, that for some counties, Riverside included, resources can be scarce and college campuses are the only place to go.

ACIOP 4

California is a huge state and not every county is going to be the same and offer the same type of services. TruEvolution sticks out as an outlier in the county of Riverside as they offer a tremendous amount of medical and housing services and linkage to care and have been involved in providing research focusing on trans health disparities and like the rest of the folks we met, prove that the need for these services exists everywhere.

For more information about they2ze or help finding it in the app store of your choice, visit the they2ze project page.



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