A Morning with the Drug Czar and an Exciting Finale for the Sexual Health Series

A Grateful Advocate

A few weeks ago, I posed for a photo as I was leaving the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, on my way to meet with leaders at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). It was a blip. The quickest of moments. But I’m glad it was captured because now it is a permanent source of gratitude – a reminder of how blessed I am to be able to advocate for improving drug and alcohol treatment services for LGBTQ people throughout the United States. I have written a piece about my trip here, and I hope you will take a moment to read it.

Buster Ross

Sexual Health Series Finale

This month, on April 29, the Sexual Health Series will conclude with an exciting final event, featuring some of the most amazing voices in LGBTQ health from Oregon and throughout the country. The event is free, and the speaker lineup includes too many to name individually. You won’t want to miss it!

Buster Ross - Schedule

Reflections on the Sexual Health Series

Last April, I was thrilled to announce the launch of the 12-month Sexual Health Series through a piece on QBlog, and I’m just as thrilled now to report what a great year it has been.

During the first three months, we featured local presentations on Sexual Health (as opposed to “Healthy Sexuality”), The Relationship Continuum and Sacred Sexuality.

In July, I contributed a piece on Queer Voice on normativity and sex to begin the dialogue leading up a presentation that month with Dr. Russell J. Stambaugh. When Dr. Stambaugh’s health required him to cancel his trip, author and award-winning educator Dr. Paul Joannides was able to fill in.

Buster Ross - Photo2

August brought the presentation that I feel honored the intention of the series more than any other, giving equal platform to our existing community and a new group of voices empowered to share their vital lived experiences. I’m talking about the presentation on Neurodiversity and Sex.

Dr. Marty Klein’s visit the following month included presentations on “Sexual Intelligence” and “America’s War on Sex: Why All Orientations Are at Risk.” In September, we were able to also feature a presentation on “Sex, Shame, and Love” with the truly amazing Dr. Charlie Glickman. And, by October, our events with Janet Hardy were filling up so fast that we had to move her evening talk to Alberta Rose Theatre. And even then, we had to close registration for the event with over 430 people signing up!

Buster Ross - Photo3

In December, we discussed the certification process with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Over the year, community members and professionals attending the series had begun to pursue certification in the field of human sexuality, and we began to field so many questions that we decided to host a panel presentation to help attendees better understand the process.

In January, Nash and Neola from Bridge 13 presented a 3-hour training for community members and providers on improving competency in serving the Trans* community. Similar presentations were also brought to our inpatient and outpatient clinics at Hazelden here in Oregon, with the presenters generating some of the most positive feedback of the entire series.

In our penultimate month of February, we had a fabulous presentation from Kelly Rees on “Recovering Boundaries.” And now, with the big final event coming up on April 29, I just want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended one or more of the events this past year.

Among the many gifts of hosting this series was my recent nomination for the AASECT Board of Directors, something that would never have been possible without the wonderful people (you!) who supported this series. The series also gave me the opportunity to blog on Queer Voices and find my own voice. A highlight was the piece I wrote calling on Basic Rights of Oregon to push for legislation to protect queer youth in Oregon from the harmful practices referred to as “conversion therapy,” which then led me to testify in support of HB 2307. Again, I am beyond grateful for such opportunities.

The series has given education to members of our community at no cost and provided CE credits to professional members at low cost (and no cost over the second half of the series!). We realized our vision with this hybrid approach, recognizing that our community members need the education just as much as our professionals; that the information can be relevant, accessible and entertaining; and that the content itself can be delivered by community members, not just professionals. To all, once again, thank you. And I’ll see you on April 29!