Welcome to the RAI Consumers Online Educaton Program. This program is for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities. Much of the course prepared under a grant from the New York State Department of Health by the members of the founding board of Rainbow Access Inititaive, under the guidance of the organization's first Director, Arlene ("Ari") Istar Lev of Choices Counseling and Consulting located in Albany, New York.
Before proceeding, please take a moment to do the following:
- Check to make sure you have the necessary computer requirements.
- Consider making a donation of $25 to RAI and becoming one of our sponsors by filling out the sponsorship form and mailing it to us. Although the course is free, this donation will provide you with membership in RAI which allows continued access to the course, the Bulletin Board, and periodic LGBT-Related health updates and news.
- Read the "Hold Harmless" statement below and when you have finished click on the "I Understand" button. (This assumes, of course, that you DO understand it. If you don't, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about it.)
Rainbow Access Initiative (RAI) provides the information in this program for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or professional services and the information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a physical or mental health problem or a disease.
Trained coaches are available to assist you if you have questions or need any help as you go through the program. If you would like to make contact with a coach now, go to the Coaches page and select one.
Rainbow Access Initiative is committed to ensuring that all information provided by persons participating in this program is maintained as confidential. Any information collected by RAI in the course of the program, including biographical information, medical data, and any other disclosure of a personal nature will never be released to an individual, governmental agency, or other petitioner without the express written consent of the individual participant.
Furthermore, all communication between participants and RAI coaches will be retained by those parties and controlled under the same policy. Information obtained from the participant or other sources shall be considered confidential. Documents created by RAI and/or the participant will not be released to an outside third party without the written consent of the participant.
THE COURSE MODULES
There are eight modules in this course. Each deals with an area of health that is pertinent to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people.
Module 1: Barriers to Quality Health Care Services
This introductory module describes the additional unique health care concerns of members of the LGBT community. The barriers that compound those unique concerns and how they put LGBT people at greater risk are explored.
Module 2: Gender and Identity: Understanding Cross-Gender Expression
This module identifies the various health and human service needs of those who are transgendered; this includes those who are coping with cross-gender identity and/or gender dysphoria, as well as those defined as transsexual and intersexed. A newly emerging area for health and human service providers, transgender medicine, which challenges the traditional dimorphic gender system is explored.
Module 3: Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Bias-Related Violence and other Trauma Issues
LGBT people seeking assistance from the medical and mental health communities for trauma-related issues have special needs. This module explains how to recognize trauma-related behavior, how to conduct sensitive interviewing, and how to assist in the recovery issues facing LGBT people who have been the victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and bias-related violence.
Module 4: Relationships and Parenting in the LGBT Community
Many LGBT people develop long-term domestic relationships and become parents through donor insemination, adoption, surrogacy, foster parenting, and step-parenting. In this module, the knowledge and skills essential for asssisting LGBT people in healthy family building are provided.
Module 5: Substance Abuse, Addictions, and Recovery Issues in the LGBT Community
LGBT people experience difficulty with substance use and addictions in numbers higher than the population at large, but the recovery resources available to them are limited. This module details the unique needs impacting their reasons for abusing substances, their relationship to the bars as a social outlet, issues of stress and stigma-management, as well as barriers to obtaining quality treatment services.
Module 6: Sexual and Gender Development--Children and Youth Issues
The development of sexual orinetation and gender identity is a normal part of the life-cycle of all children, but those who are gender variant, or express same-sex desires are often taunted, abused, and ostracized. This module describes the social services needed to address the families of these children, as well as the services which should be offered to the youth themselves. Compassionate psychotherapeutic services can help them develop ego strengths and healthy self-concepts.
Module 7: Aging Issues in the LGBT Communities
Older LGBT persons may face discrimination based on their age and sexual orientation. Consequently, they may not feel comfortable either in organizations serving older people or in LGBT community organizations, and thus may not receive useful services from either of these groups.
Module 8: Suicide Prevention
It is especially important that LGBT folk be able to recognize when someone is at risk. In the New York Capital District almost TWO PEOPLE PER WEEK kill themselves. Those of us who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered are at higher risk for suicidal ideation and for suicide attempts. The number of Gay and Bisexual men reporting an attempt is 11.9%. And an estimated 30% of youth who die by suicide identify as GLBT or Q. These LGBT teens, in addition to the usual stressors associated with growing up, must deal with the added emotional distress of stigmatization, victimization, and antigay hostility.
Module 9: Other Important LGBT Health Issues
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ten-year federal plan for improving the nation's health (Healthy People 2010) recognized the health disparities experienced by LGBT people. This module addresses seven remaining areas covered in that report: Immunization and Infectious Diseases, Mental Health and Mental Disorders,
Nutrition and Weight, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Infections), Tobacco Use, HIV/AIDS, and Cancer.
You might be tempted to skip some of these, but we encourage you to work through all of them. In many instances there are elements in a module that even thogh you are not a member of that particular community are helpful for you to know about. For example, Module Two, though it deals with Gender Identity, also talks about the confusion people have between that and Sexual Orientation. Understanding the difference is important to Lesbians and Gays as well as the Transgendered.
THE COURSE TOOLS
To better understand the basis for these modules and the course as a whole, you need to be familiar with RAI's Vision and Mission. One of the tools you will use during this program is the links. Links like the one in the first sentence of this paragraph appear throughout the course. When you click on them, a second window opens containing a supplemental document. Always read it, before continuing through the module and if you have any questions, contact your coach before proceeding.
There are other tools you will use to work with others in the program and with your coach. An important tool is our Discussion Board. You will be asked to post reactions and comments to this bulletin board and read the reactions and comments of others in the program. (If you aren't familiar with online Bulletin/Discussion Boards, CLICK HERE to read about how ours works.)
Another tool you will be asked to use is AOL's Instant Messaging system. This is a free program you will need to install before you continue. We will be using it to conduct 'real time' discussions. If you don't have the program you can get it from the AOL/IM Site.
You will also be asked to complete a number of exercises. Here's the first one. It's just for practice, but you need to complete it before beginning the first module.
If you are ready to begin the course, send an e-mail to your coach, and in your own words, explain RAI's Mission and Vision, including any thoughts and ideas you might have with regard to the things YOU can do to help us reach these goals. Also, make sure you have read the Hold Harmless statement and please consider making a donation .
||EXERCISE: RAI's MISSION & VISION