Rainbow Health Initiative (RHI) partnered with Rare Productions this year to host the second annual Photo Contest focused on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) impressions of personal and professional healthy lifestyles.
GLBTQ people living in Minnesota have myriad ways to be healthy, vibrant, active members of the community. For GLBTQ youth and young adults, it is often hard to find healthy GLBTQ adult role models.
This is in part because of societal discrimination against and stigmatization of homosexuality, and legal discrimination against same-sex relationships. Yet, it is also in part because of the closeted lifestyles these folks often live, fearing discovery, loss of employment or housing, and isolation from friends or family. This high stress level often can lead to risk-taking behaviors that may result in negative health consequences.
In order to combat this, RHI is utilizing a fun and fabulous method of collecting healthy, engaging, and storytelling images of GLBTQ people living in Minnesota to project a different version of health to the public.
When asked about her partnership with RHI, Rare Productions Cofounder Roxanne Anderson says, “RHI empowers the community to look at itself, and reflect the healthiness that is all around us. All too often, GLBTQ communities are bombarded by risk. We are reminded over and over that we are more at risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, obesity, tobacco, drugs, and alcohol use, and that our youth have the highest suicide rates. This contest asks folks to reflect the images of health that intersect everyday life. People begin to look within, identify what is good, and ponder what can be better. It stimulates people to think about healthy living, and define what that means to them.”
RHI Executive Director Loretta Worthington adds, “Having healthy queer images seen by the general population is important, but having these images to reflect healthy living back to our own communities is essential for our own mental and emotional health. Internalized homophobia is often due to one’s personal view that GLBTQ lifestyles are somehow bad. These images show clearly that GLBTQ people have healthy, loving, joy-filled lives that include family, friends, community connections, and often a wide variety of engaging hobbies and fun-filled relationships.”
Select winning entries will be used on the organization’s website, and in an annual calendar, along with other products and publications. Winners will be announced at a gallery opening on June 4, 7 PM, at South City Café, 3405 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis.
For more information, visit www.rainbowhealth.org/photocontest.
Click here to view a PDF of this article which contains the Photo Contest entries.