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With #MyPrideStory, DAP Talks Joins Appl …

With #MyPrideStory, DAP Talks Joins Apple Podcasts

(Palm Springs, CA) November 4, 2020 -- DAP Health is calling on everyone to share their personal Pride story on social media with the hashtag #MyPrideStory, in a move to harness the power of life-affirming stories as 2020 celebrations go virtual. DAP CEO David Brinkman shared his personal Pride story in a first-ever DAP Talks on Apple Podcasts. Also available on RSS feed, this format change will allow DAP Health to reach the largest audience possible. Click here to listen to David’s DAP Talks on Apple Podcasts or RSS feed

“Reaching more people who need us by using the platforms they prefer is helping us ease LGBTQ+ isolation caused by COVID,” says David Brinkman, CEO. “DAP Talks on Apple Podcasts will engage listeners in their own health and well-being on the world's largest platform for podcast discovery and listening.”

Going virtual for Pride this year is best for the public health, but it also means many LGBTQ+ people are losing an important annual tradition for self-affirmation, publicly celebrating a holiday created to champion LGBTQ+ self-acceptance, social progress and history.

“We can still enjoy and share stories of hope and resilience, keeping the spirit of Pride alive this year for ourselves and others,” Brinkman said. “I started by sharing my personal story of my first Pride celebration, and it brought back a lot of other special memories that remind me of why I am so committed to this work.”

Improving LGBTQ+ Self-Acceptance

For LGBTQ+ people, COVID has increased depression and anxiety in a population already disproportionately suffering compared to heterosexuals (NAMI). This year they cannot go to a Pride parade or festival, but they still need affirmation and connection. Using digital tools, DAP Health wants to help everyone to champion LGBTQ+ self-acceptance, social progress, and history.

According to The TREVOR Project, as a result of family rejection, discrimination, criminalization and a host of other factors, LGBTQ+ youth represent as much as 40% of the homeless youth population. Of that population, studies indicate that as many as 60% are likely to attempt suicide.

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.

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DAP Talks: My Pride Story with DAP CEO D …

DAP Talks

Welcome to DAP Talks, our weekly podcast program featuring all things DAP Health. Tune in to hear from our clinicians, public health team, and DAP leadership.

DAP Talks Season 1, Episode 1 #MyPrideStory with DAP CEO David Brinkman 

Transcript

Steven Henke:
We're talking with David Brinkman. David is the CEO of Desert AIDS Project located in Palm Springs, California. DAP Health is a humanitarian healthcare organization that has been maximizing human potential for 36 years and playing a larger role in LGBTQ+ health equality.

LGBTQ+ Pride in Palm Springs happens each November and like its counterparts in other cities around the world, the celebration is an important self-affirmation for LGBTQ+ individuals in the sense of dignity, and value. It also reminds our community of the important equity work that remains to be accomplished.

You know, we normally gather for a festival and a parade, meeting friends and listening to each other's stories of hope and resilience, but COVID has taken this year's event in a more virtual direction. And we've wondered what the absence of affirming storytelling might be having in our LGBTQ+ community.

So, we thought we would share one story and invite listeners to share theirs, to keep the conversation going. After this conversation use the hashtag #MyPrideStory and share yours on social media to inspire someone who needs to hear it.

David, thanks for agreeing to share your personal story and this special PrideCast edition of DAP Talks. Would you like to begin the conversation with your preferred pronouns?

David Brinkman:
Sure. Thank you, Steven. My pronouns are he, him, his.

Steven Henke: Thank you. So this is Palm Springs Pride's 34th year. It started in 1986. Can you remember your first pride celebration and how it made you feel?

David Brinkman:
My first pride celebration was in Portland, Oregon. When I left the Midwest and moved out to the West coast for an undergrad, the college I went to was full of activists. And you had a great LGBT student organization and we celebrated Pride throughout campus each year. I had never been in an environment that embraced the LGBT community that's celebrated dry. And for me it was almost like being on another planet. I just can't explain how freeing and joyful it felt to be in a community finally that embraced me.

Steven Henke:
We know what LGBTQ+ people have always been a major part of the Coachella Valley, and they've always rolled up their sleeves during tough times to help the greater good. What have you seen from the community during COVID that's made you feel especially proud of the LGBTQ+ community?

David Brinkman:
The Coachella Valley has come together to support efforts to care for all people, especially the most marginalized members of our community during COVID. I have seen this come through with countless donations from donors; with countless hours of time through volunteers; and with the extremely hard work of our staff. It’s been a beautiful thing. This year, we anticipated caring for 7,000 members of our community, and we have added another 4,000 on top of that already this year. And it's because of the support of this incredible community and caring about others.

Steven Henke:
That's amazing. You know, we talk a lot about the power of storytelling and how someone sharing their authentic self can empower others. Can you tell us a little bit about what your experience was growing up?

David Brinkman:
I grew up in a rural part of the United States, where the values were values that were portrayed on the Beaver Cleaver show from the 1950s. And it really did not embrace the LGBTQ+ movement at all. I can remember in high school, one of my girlfriends’ fathers was a gay man and, he and his lover lived in another part of the country, and she lived with her mom and just knowing that there was another gay man out there and that he was having a fulfilled life with a partner, gave me endless opportunity to daydream about what life could be like as an adult.

But short of that experience, my growing up was very isolated and filled with fears and stories that I created about what it was going to be like as an LGBTQ+ adult. I knew one thing, and that was as soon as I could, I needed to get out of my small town and find my community.

Steven Henke:
And you had an interesting first job after college. Tell me about that and what that experience taught you.

David Brinkman:
So my first job after college was that of a condom fairy. And it was just an extraordinary experience. It was at Cascades Project in Portland, Oregon. And my job was to go to all the parks that gay men were meeting at to connect in Portland, the gay bars, and the one bath house in town—wearing a fanny pack filled with condoms and lubes. It was the early 1990s and we didn't have good HIV medications then. And my role was to educate people about the importance of condom use, encourage people to use condoms. I used my youth and I used my personality to engage people who otherwise were wondering what I was doing, showing up next to them as they were having a beer and engaging them as a health educator. It taught me an awful lot that I still apply in my work at DAP Health today.

Steven Henke:
So, you know, I think when, uh, when I was growing up, I was always looking for examples and I don't think I really knew what was going to happen in my life. But what did your life experience, how did it guide you to the work you're doing today? And I guess what I'm wondering about for someone who's listening to this is how far into your own coming out story were you before you could visualize the impact you wanted to make in the world?

David Brinkman:
The work I do today is really based on the values that my mother and father gave me as a young person. They were always stressing the importance of giving back. We didn't use the word ‘privilege’ then, but my parents really recognized how fortunate we were to be living in the United States, having access to education, my parents having good and stable jobs.

And my mom always said to me, “It doesn't really matter how much you earn in life; that's not what's important,” she said. “What is important is your ability to give back to others who do not have … what you have.”

I always knew that giving back equated to happiness and fulfillment, and that I would choose a career path that was aligned with that. I didn't know that I would work in the LGBTQ+ community, or in the HIV community. That all unfolded as I got a little bit older and HIV, um, became a global pandemic and then the LGBTQ+ human rights movement spilled out of it.

Steven Henke:
So talking about human rights, we're in a COVID pandemic and I think equality and equity is on the top of everyone's mind right now. Health equality means everyone having the same opportunities, but health equity means everyone having the opportunity to be as healthy as they can be according to each individual's needs. Can you share about how far we've come in addressing the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community at DAP? And can you share about what ignoring those needs has caused in other communities that you see around us?

David Brinkman:
I think everybody can remember a time when they went to a doctor's office and this person with a lot of power in our culture was not culturally competent to serve you as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. And in fact, chances are, if you had an experience like mine, it was a very fearful power dynamic for you.

And you certainly, at least I certainly wasn't, going to share my status as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in that office. And for that, that is a really, uh, sterile experience of feeling like other and dab. It has done such a beautiful job because it was created by the LGBT community to become culturally competent, particularly in serving gay and bisexual men and his time to his past of the transgender community we have work to do in our lesbian sisters. As we all know, the lesbian community was the community that saved gay men who were dying of HIV. They were the people who were feeding us and caring for us in the eighties. But as somebody who experienced that scenario, I described, I can only assume that other communities who live on the margin who do not have cultural competence in their healthcare provider, feel like the other and are suffering their physical health and mental health is suffering because of it. Um, and DAP has such an opportunity to pay that forward. Yeah,

Steven Henke:
We sometimes need to look back to lean forward when you consider DAP’s and the LGBTQ+ community's history. How do you see the organization leaning forward to play a role in health justice for other underserved communities?

David Brinkman:
I always say to members of our community, if you survive the AIDS crisis and you made it through the LGBTQ+ human rights movement, you have your finger on the pulse of very recent human rights work and healthcare justice work. And that needs to be paid forward immediately in this world.

There are so many people who are suffering in our world today who could benefit from the lessons that we learned in the last several decades of our lives, as well what we learn today. The privilege that we have gained, it needs to be paid forward.

Steven Henke:
So, a parting pride thought. This is why we wanted to have this conversation. You know, there's people listening to this who may be at a different place with struggling to express their authentic selves. If they're listening to this, instead of being able to go to a pride parade or a pride festival, what would you want them to know?

David Brinkman:
Number one; I know exactly what it feels like. I grew up in a small Midwestern, rural community where it was not safe to be myself. Number two; find somebody that you love and trust to come out to. As soon as you start that process of being your authentic self, you will find the doors starting to open for you.

You will find a sense of self-worth and sense of love that you don't even know exists in the closet of the LGBTQ+ community. Start that process where you can be your authentic self. Start it slowly and safely, and watch the world unfold for you. Thank you.

Steven Henke:

We've been talking to David Brickman, the CEO of Desert AIDS Project. Do you want to learn more about the vital work being done at Desert AIDS Project? You can go to desertaidsproject.org and explore all of the social media spaces around this vital organization in greater Palm Springs. Happy Pride everybody.

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