POST B: Happy New Smear

Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths amongst women globally, with approximately 530,000 new cases every year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016) In Australia, numerous cervical cancer initiatives have appeared over the past two decades via a diverse range of media, encouraging women to receive regular check ups and the often “uncomfortable” Pap test. In December 2017, the two-yearly Pap test was removed and reintroduced with the five-yearly National Cervical Screening Program; a more effective and accurate technology used to detect potentially problematic signs. (Medianet, 2018) As a result of the change, in 2018 The Aids Council of New South Wales introduced a ground-breaking campaign titled ‘The Inner Circle’, that aimed to not only educate the importance and increase participation in cervical screening, but build awareness amongst all members of the LGBTIQ+ community with a cervix. (JOY 94.9, 2018)

‘The Inner Circle’ campaign is one funded through a grant from the Cancer Institute NSW and is the first large-scale, multi-platform effort to introduce the changes to screening to any community across Australia. They incorporate digital, social and direct community engagement approaches, as well as public placements in key locations across Sydney (Medianet, 2018) to reduce stigma and promote the health service, specifically targeting the LGBTIQ+ community who are often left out of ‘mainstream’ conversation on the topic. President of ACON, Dr Justin Koonin states “it was crucial the campaign reached not just ‘lesbians’ but the full spectrum of LGBTIQ people with a cervix. It had to reflect the diversity and address the misconceptions faced by this group.” (Koonin, 2018)

Inner Circle- Happy New Smear, Aids Council of New South Wales, 2018

The Inner Circle launched on New Years Day, 2018 with a video posted to Facebook called ‘Happy New Smear’, which would be the first of many successful projects designed under the initiative. Its success is measured in numbers, with this video shared internationally and viewed more than 14,000 times. The following videos that recognised individual experiences generated close to 100,000 views while its website engaged with 2500 visitors per month. (Goodwork Agency, 2018)

“A 2014 survey found that 20 per cent of lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Sydney had never had a Pap test. People with trans experience face significant issues relating to cervical screening, such as trans men who report avoiding screening out of fear of discrimination.” (Price, 2018, para. 8) Partnering with Family Planning NSW, the campaign introduced the CheckOut clinic located in Surry Hills, Sydney, “delivering high quality services in a community-based setting.” (Bassil, 2018, para. 14)

In 2018, the initiative won the Australian Good Design Award in the Communication Design category, in recognition for outstanding design and innovation. The Inner Circle campaign continues to achieve their goals of raising awareness and interacting with LGBTIQ+ people, demonstrating a “progressive way of cervical screening.” (McGregor, 2018)

ACON Health 2018, Inner Circle – Happy New Smear, video recording, Youtube, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTBztS4IQs&feature=emb_title>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2018, Check OUT The Inner Circle: Promoting Regular Cervical Screening For LGBTIQ People, Science and Medical Media Release, Medianet, Australian Associated Press, NSW, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.medianet.com.au/releases/153308/>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, About ACON, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.acon.org.au/about-acon/>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, New Campaign To Answer Your Questions About LGBTIQ Cervical Screening, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.aconhealth.org.au/new_campaign_to_answer_your_questions_about_lgbtiq_cervical_screening>

Good Work 2018, don’t just make it look and sound good. Make it save lives., viewed 19 November 2019, <https://www.goodwork.agency/acon-theinnercircleau/>

Good Work 2018, goodwork wins 2018 Good Design Award® for The Inner Circle, viewed 19 November 2019, <https://www.goodwork.agency/goodwork-wins-2018-good-design-award-for-the-inner-circle/>

McGregor, V. 2018, ‘The Informer’, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, radio broadcast, JOY 94.9, Melbourne, 6 February, viewed 19 November 2019, <https://joy.org.au/theinformer/2018/02/06/inner-circle-provide-care-support-anyone-nsws-lgbtiq-community-cervix/>

PHHA 2018, Top 10 public health successes over the last 20 years, PHAA Monograph Series no. 2, Canberra: Public Health Association of Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.phaa.net.au/documents/item/3241>

The Inner Circle AU, About the Project, The Inner Circle, ACON, Sydney, viewed 18 November 2019, <https://www.theinnercircle.org.au/about-the-inner-circle>

William Small Jr, M.D., Monica, A., Linus, T., 2017, ‘Cervival Cancer: A Global Health Crisis’, Cancer, vol. 123, no. 13, viewed 19 November 2019, <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.30667>

Tobacco in LGBT communities: #SmokeFreeStillFierce

(ACON Health, 2016)

Tobacco advertising capitalises on the constructed perception that smoking is empowering and glamorous. These connotations are reinforced and recontextualised to sell their product across different demographics, including counter-culture groups. The mystery and glamour associated with cigarette consumption is reworked into ideals such as independence and emancipation through advertising imagery and language, which makes its way into popular culture film, music and other consumable content. (Quinlan, 2016) For example, cigarettes were marketed as ‘torches of freedom’ to women amidst the popularity of the women’s rights movement. (Lee, 2008) For the LGBTQ demographic, smoking was advertised as a liberating choice and became a pervasive part of queer party culture. (Agnew-Brune et al, 2014)

ACON’S #SmokeFreeStillFierce campaign video (ACON Health, 2016)

A 2016 NSW campaign discouraging smoking as a part of queer culture and its community is #SmokeFreeStillFierce, which is run by the NSW government LGBTI health organisation, ACON, and specifically targets lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. It was based on research conducted by ACON and the University of Sydney into the smoking habits of LGQ women and how they differed from straight current and ex-smokers. Tobacco use is generally not acknowledged as a major queer issue, even though statistics show that there is a disparity between LBGT smokers and non-LGBT smokers, especially among youth. (Malone et al, 2008)

Infographic on Tobacco use and awareness in the LGBT community (LGBT Health Equity, n.d.)

Today, American LGBT adults are smoking at a far higher percentage, at 20.6% compared to the 14.9% of heterosexuals. (Truth Initiative, 2017) There is also the possibility of increased health risks for this demographic as HIV-positive people are more susceptible to thrush and pneumonia infections, and trans women undergoing hormone therapy are at greater risk of developing heart and lung cancer if they smoke during the treatment. (Quinlan, 2016)

Personal interviews establish a supportive network surrounding the campaign (ACON Health, 2016)

The campaign is largely run through social media and the sharing of digital content, including short videos, personal interviews and downloadable resources to assist with quitting. They also organise events and online interventions, which focus on the sharing of stories and community driven aspect of the organisation.  It takes much more of a positive, light-hearted approach than is typical for anti-tobacco campaigns, which reflects the demographic they are speaking to. It is also designed to make cessation a more open, supportive experience by encouraging conversation and the sharing of personal journeys, as their research showed that most were well aware of the health risks of smoking but found little motivation and support in the heavy imagery and shock-tactics of most anti-smoking campaigns. (Wade, 2016)

 

REFERENCES

ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, graphic, viewed 15 December 2017, <https://www.acon.org.au/who-we-are-here-for/women/smoke-free-still-fierce-project/&gt;.

ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yRTLpOqzTk&gt;.

ACON Health, 2016, Watch Michelle’s Story, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M2qlxJquj4&gt;.

Agnew-Brune, C. B., Blosnich, J. R., Clapp, J. A., Lee, J. G. L., 2014, ‘Out smoking on the big screen: tobacco use in LGBT movies, 2000-2011, Tobacco Control, vol. 23, no. 2.

Lee, J. 8., 2008, ‘Big tobacco’s spin on women’s liberation’, The New York Times, October 10, viewed 14 December 2017, <https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/big-tobaccos-spin-on-womens-liberation/&gt;.

LGBT Health Equity, n.d., infographic, viewed 16 December 2017, <http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/2014/01/lgbt-people-spend-7-9-billionyear-on-our-biggest-health-problem/&gt;.

Malone, R. E., Offen, N., Smith, E., 2008, ‘Tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community: A white paper’, IDEAS Working Paper Series from RePEc.

Quinlan, C. 2016, ‘How the tobacco industry exploits LGBTQ people’, The Establishment, November 11, viewed 15 Decmber 2017, <https://theestablishment.co/how-the-tobacco-industry-exploits-lgbtq-people-15c58364f2bc&gt;.

Truth Initiative, 2017, Tobacco is a social justice issue: LGBT communities, viewed 15 December 2017,  <https://truthinitiative.org/news/tobacco-social-justice-issue-smoking-and-lgbt-communities&gt;.

Wade, M., 2016, ‘Fierce campaign targets queer women’, Star Observer, May 10, viewed 16 December 2017, <http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/fierce-campaign-targets-queer-women/149102&gt;.

 

(POST D) Unveiling the Waria: Transgender Indonesia

The Waria of Indonesia are one of the country’s most marginalized fringe groups. As journalist, Hannah Brooks explains, the word ‘Waria’ is a combination of the words for ‘woman’ and ‘man’ in Bahasa (Vice 2016). Due to the country’s Muslim majority and strictness of Sharia law in certain regions, hatred towards those who cross dress is common. However in spite of the face of intolerance and societal rejection, a school for Warias has been set up by Maryani, a 50 year old transsexual, in Jogyakarta in order to teach Islam, due to mainstream Islam institutions’ rejection of transsexual identities.

“even though Javanese culture is known for its openness, Islamic law does not approve of deviation” (Vice 2016) 

Warias have always been an accepted part of Indonesian culture. Before the arrival of Islam in Indonesia, there were always two main genders. Each gender would have certain gods and qualities assigned to them by religion however there was definitely more fluidity and tolerance towards anything that was not purely heterosexual behaviour. Gender roles were more flexible and Waria were even honoured as having deity status as it was believed they had the ability to spiritually transcend the norm and undertake other gender roles. This was significant due to pre-Islamic religions striving for balance in the world and they were the embodied form of this idea (Zwaan 2012).

waria2.jpg

Image sourced from Vice article

The arrival of the Islamic faith in the 1300’s was relatively easy to integrate with Indigenous mythology and tribes adapted to their presence. However intolerance towards Waria had been growing over time and anti-Waria sentiment is at its peak. One of Indonesia’s biggest issues is the intolerance towards minority groups, that which is mostly fuelled by Islam fundamentalists. Ever since, Waria have been pushed further into the margins of society ever since forcing many to earn money through prostitution or other means (Vice 2016).

waria_video_4

Image sourced from SBS News article

What is unique about the Waria is that unlike many transsexuals worldwide, many are not interested in sex-reassignment surgeries due to religious reasons. Even more intriguing is that in spite of their mainstream rejection; a lot of them still strive to be devout Muslims. It appears that Waria have still retained the notions of spirituality surrounding the transgression of gender roles. As a result a lot of them tend to stand out, with bold personal expressions of false eyelashes, dramatic makeup and skimpy clothing. Islam notions of modesty and Sharia law fuel hatred towards this particular minority group and Maryani often holds funerals for peers who were victims of violence.

‘”In one month, usually four people need to be buried,” she says. “Even when we die we need money.”’ (Vice 2016) 

In a country where topics such as LGBT issues and drugs are either dealt with by ignoring them outright or are punishable by harsh laws, goes to show the government’s preference to ignore rather than address (Post 2016). The Waria make huge efforts through engaging with their local community to demystify any negativity surrounding their lifestyles. It is this strength and positivity that is compelling to others in their community and to those who read about them, that dwarfs the implied adversity of any laws or threat from any larger bodies.

 

REFERENCES

Post, T. (2016). Difficult for Indonesia to legalize gay marriage: Minister. The Jakarta Post. <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/07/02/difficult-indonesia-legalize-gay-marriage-minister.html > [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].

SBS News. (2016). High Heels and Hijabs: Transgender rights in Indonesia. <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/high-heels-and-hijabs-transgender-rights-indonesia&gt; [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].

VICE (2016). The Warias | VICE | United States. <http://www.vice.com/video/the-warias-full-length&gt; [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].

Zwaan, L (2012) Waria of Yogyakarta: Islam, Gender, and National Identity