Friday, May 31, 2013

15th Annual Rainbow Women's Health Fair!

Rainbow Women’s Health Fair to be held June 29

Free massage? Free yoga? Free mammograms, pap tests, acupuncture, and more – all in an LBTQ-friendly setting? Sign me up!

Actually, for most of these services, no sign-up is necessary. Just come by All Pilgrims Church at Republican and Broadway between noon and 4pm on Saturday, June 29, the day of the Capitol Hill Pride Festival. That’s where the Rainbow Women’s Health Fair will be taking place. The goal of the health fair is to provide holistic and traditional health services and education from culturally competent providers to lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and genderqueer and transgender people, especially those with limited access to care. “It’s about empowering the community to take care of their health,” says Ingrid Berkhout, women’s health outreach coordinator at the YWCA. Since 2000, she has coordinated a team of volunteers to make the health fair happen each Pride.

Research shows that lesbian and bisexual women are less likely to get the preventive screenings they need, like mammograms and pap tests, and are more likely to experience some health issues, such as depression. Trans people of all genders face even more barriers to getting the health care they need. Yet there are very few health services in Seattle geared toward LBTQ women and trans people. The Rainbow Women’s Health Fair attempts to fill this gap, at least for one day each year.

Why attend the health fair? Ingrid offers a lot of reasons: “To experience alternative healthcare you might not know about. To get your vitals checked. To have fun, meet women, maybe find a provider, and get lots of information about LBT community organizations. To be proud of your health! Because if you’re not healthy, nothing really works.” All providers that participate in the fair volunteer their time and resources, and the planning committee focuses on recruiting LBTQ providers (or people with a long history of serving our community) to ensure that all services are culturally competent, as well as free, for all participants.

The Rainbow Women’s Health Fair was started in 1995 by the Seattle Lesbian Cancer Project. In later years, the fair was sponsored by Verbena Health, and after their premature demise, Ingrid and the fair moved over to the YWCA. Despite the many changes in our community, the fair is still going strong. This year’s fair will be the 15th (a few years have been skipped), and will include free yoga, massage, acupuncture, HIV tests, vitals checks, mammograms, pap smears, raffle prizes, and more, as well as interactive workshops throughout the day on topics like nutrition. Check out the YWCA’s LBTQ health blog at for updates.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Nina Cole at 206.461.4482 or To schedule a mammogram appointment or for general information, contact Ingrid at or 206.461.4493. See you there!

-Sara Jaye Sanford, MPH (Rainbow Women’s Health Fair Volunteer)  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Get Inspired and join YWCA WALKS at the Komen Race for the Cure, Sun. June 2nd.

Angelina Jolie recently revealed her choice to have a preventive double mastectomy, she spoke powerfully about the need for all women to have access to lifesaving early detection and preventative treatment, addressing that cost can be an obstacle.

Unfortunately, there over 60,000 women in our community who cannot pay for breast cancer early detection procedures due to low income and lack of health insurance.

Here is where Komen Puget Sound comes in.

We are proud to announce, Komen Puget Sound will award $1.6 million to fight breast cancer locally. The majority, $953,000, will go to the Washington State Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program (BCCHP) to provide lifesaving breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services to nearly 10,000 women living in our region. Komen Puget Sound is Washington State’s largest private provider of free mammograms to low income and uninsured women.

Our ability to provide these women with lifesaving early breast cancer detection and treatment support comes largely from the funds we raise at the Race for the Cure.

 Here is where you come in!

YWCA Women’s Health Outreach depends on these funds for the work we do in helping to erase health disparities in low-income and LBTQ communities.

It is not too late to join or donate to YWCA WALKS, you will receive a YWCA visor and a Komen Inspire t-shirt.

In less than one week, we will be celebrating our 20th Annual Race for the Cure. If you have not already signed up or donate, here is your chance:  If you have already registered, thank you. Now, please reach out and encourage your friends, family and co-workers to register as well.

I look forward to seeing you at the Race!
Be well, Ingrid