a.l.p.h.a. to Offer HIV Testing at the College of Southern Idaho

a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) will be offering rapid oral HIV testing on the CSI campus in Twin Falls on Wednesday, April 4th, from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., room 247 inside the Student Union Building.

There is no charge for the test and clients can know their results in 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary and the event is open to the public.

Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS opened its doors on September 1st, 2003, located in a tiny space above the Flying M Coffeehouse in downtown Boise. a.l.p.h.a. became a comfortable referral center for HIV testing and counseling, STD/STI screening, support groups, workshops, and training. a.l.p.h.a. developed an educational outreach program approved by the Idaho Department of Education, and has helped thousands of people in Idaho “Know Their Status.”

In late 2009, a.l.p.h.a. opened its first satellite office in Twin Falls. Since opening its doors, it has grown from a small storefront on Main Street to its current multi-room office located at 213 3rd Ave East.

Besides HIV testing, the all volunteer led organization also offers free education classes regarding HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), support programs and free prevention materials.

Over the past three years a.l.p.h.a. has participated in several events on the CSI campus including World AIDS Day activities and testing, an AIDS walk and volunteers have made several classroom presentations regarding HIV and AIDS.

Wednesday’s event will mark a new partnership between CSI’s Community Service Council and a.l.p.h.a. in order to provide once-a-month on campus testing at the college and its satellite locations.

To set up an appointment or to find out more call 734-3842.

Speaking of a.l.p.h.a., you might have noticed all the dust flying at its Boise location. Recently the decision was made to combine the Exposure thrift shop with the a.l.p.h.a. office, located at 1009 W. Bannock St.

According to a recent newsletter, the move is a win-win for  the organization,”We not only save a money, but now 100% of Exposure sales revenues will directly benefit a.l.p.h.a. programs. Plus, Exposure has already introduced a.l.p.h.a.’s mission to new supporters whom may otherwise not have heard of us. Really, any way you look at it – this is a GREAT move!”

There will be a open house on Thursday, April 5th, from 5-8pm to celebrate the changes. No RSVP necessary!

Besides the thrift store, a.l.p.h.a. also operates a food bank for HIV+ individuals in the Treasure Valley. a.l.p.h.a. is a safe place for those who are HIV+ to gather and collect weekly nutritional items as well as socialize.

Monetary donations  to help support a.l.p.h.a. and its mission are always welcome.

For more information call 208-424-7799 or visit the a.l.p.h.a. website by clicking HERE.

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Top Five ways to have a Happy LGBTQIA Thanksgiving Weekend!

Let’s start off  with Thanksgiving Day itself.  If  discussions connected to your sexuality or gender identity tend to be limited to “this is my roommate Jake” while the extended cousins, aunts and uncles are around, Glaad ( Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is asking you to go ahead and let Aunt Betty feel a bit awkward this holiday.

According to the Glaad website,”The LGBT community has a ton to be thankful for from the past year.  But we also have a long way to go. And believe it or not, putting down that fork full of stuffing for a minute and just talking about yourself (if you can) this Thanksgiving can make a huge difference.

We’ve all had those Thanksgiving dinners where Aunt Betty decides this is the perfect time to discuss a year’s worth of ailments and medical treatments. Well, you know what?  If she can talk about her podiatrist, you can talk about your partner.

The fact is, while you’re scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you’re missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about.  It’s okay if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward at first, it’s important for her to know that someone she loves cares deeply about LGBT equality.  And the more we all talk about what’s important to us, the less awkward those conversations will become.”

You can click HERE to learn more about the campaign.

Once you’re done explaining how you and your partner are “kinda like Cam and Mitchell”  on that one TV show your Aunt Betty, ” just loves to watch”, you might also mention that unlike the fictional gay couple, here in Idaho you and your partner can still be fired, loose your housing, be denied a hotel room and face a lot of other discrimination because of your sexuality or gender orientation.

Instead of playing Janga with the cousins this year, why not spend some time with your loved writing a few sticky notes asking state lawmakers to help protect the rights of all of Idaho’s citizens by adding the words, “gender identity and sexual orientation”  to Idaho’s human rights law?

If you’re unfamiliar with the campaign click here.

To find out who their state lawmakers are click here.

(In the Magic valley area we’ll be out with the  big “ADD the Words, Idaho” sign on the corner of Pole Line and Blue Lakes in Twin Falls from 12:00-3:00 pm on Friday, November 25th.  Feel free to bring the family down and join us.)

Once you’ve stuffed your envelopes with stickys and stuffed your belly with stuffing, it’s time to start thinking about shopping. If you’re in the Boise area, rather than wandering around Walmart looking for that perfect cheap cologne gift basket for Uncle Ray all weekend, why not check out the eclectic wares at Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange? All proceeds from the store go to help out the prevention of HIV and AIDS in Idaho and their merchandise is,  “rad, reused, and affordable.”  From art to the unusual if you’re looking for something unique they’ll have it. They also offer free gift wrapping. (The store is located at 213 N 10th. in Boise. It’s open from  11:00 am – 7:00 pm on Friday,  10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and 12:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday.)

Be sure to check out the store’s “A Night of Improvisation and Fun!”,  Sunday night November 27th, according to a facebook invite, “One of our Boise State students has put together a performance for his Service Learning project and we are opening the office for this creative project. Robert Tombari and his group of performers (11 Minute Pause: Julia Bennett, John Buffington, Jared Hallock, and Katie Preston) will be performing in our office for you, your friends, and family. Help us kick off the week of World AIDS Day. A $5 suggested donation is asked, and all proceeds will go directly to a.l.p.h.a.”

Finally, rather than drop your hard-earned change into some anti-gay church’s red kettle this year why not put your money to good use by helping out Idaho’s LGBTQIA community?  Whether it’s a.l.p.h.a. founder and executive director Duane Quintana’s Holiday Wish,  The Treasure Valley Community Center, The Pride Foundation, or some other LGBTQIA charity, most if not all get lost in the glitz and glam of the media’s cameras this time of year so save those pennies and put them where they count!

No matter what you do this Thanksgiving, remember to tip your bartender even if it is just your Uncle Fred and have a happy holiday from us here at the Idaho Agenda!

Help spread the word! Hit the “Like” button on our facebook page, follow us on twitter at @Idahoagenda and find us on google+!  Submit your LGBTQIA related events, press releases or written submissions to idahoagenda@gmail.com

Boise Loves: Discussion On Recent Hate Crimes Focuses on Positive Action

About 30 people looking to do something about hate crime in Idaho gathered at the a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) office in Boise on Sunday afternoon to search for solutions.

One of the most frustrating issues for Boise law enforcement has been the fact that though there is plenty of anecdotalevidence that hate crimes are on the rise, so far this year no hate crimes related to sexual orientation have been officially reported.

Victims in attendance were also able to share some of their  own frustrations with Boise Police Department LGBTQ Liaison officer Janet Folwler.

Duane Quintana, a.l.p.h.a.’s Executive Director, says that Fowler had not realized the connection between the lack of protection in Idaho’s Human Right’s act for the LGBTQIA community and the lack of reporting a hate crime.

“I think she was able to see why a person might not want to file a police report in fear of outing themselves.” Says Quintana.

Reports to law enforcement are kept confidential but community organizers say the concern underscores the need for adding the words, “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the Act.

The group also discussed the need for a campaign to get the word out to Idaho’s LGBTQIA community that it’s important to report the crimes when they occur.

Also discussed during the meeting was the new Boise Loves facebook page, which not only focuses on supporting the LGBTQ community in the area of hate crimes but in other areas as well.

“We want it to be a page where people can share their positive action ideas as well as get inspired by others.” Says Quintina.

Quintana says he and others will be scheduling a meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s office and others to talk about the hate crime problem. He is also hoping for a followup meeting with the Mayor’s office, the first of which took place a few weeks ago.

“It’s really about educating everybody involved”, Quintana says. “From getting the LGBTQIA community to report the crimes to getting law renouncement to act on the reports, to making sure there are protections in place to create a safe enviorment for everybody.

Sunday’s meeting featured Donna Harwood from Lion’s Pride Cubs, Cody Hafer from Add the Words, Idaho!, the ACLU of Idaho and others.

The event was presented as part of Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange‘s “Social Justice Sunday” series.

You can report a hate crime in Boise by contacting Janet Lawler. Her number is 208 570 6224.

Outside of Boise you are encouraged to contact your local law enforcement office. You can also contact the Idaho State Police Department as well as the regional office of the FBI with any questions or concerns you might have regarding filing a hate crime report:

FBI Salt Lake City
Suite 1200, 257 Towers Bldg.
257 East, 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-2048
saltlakecity.fbi.gov
(801) 579-1400

“Attack WAS A Hate Crime!” Boise Assault Victim Shares Story and Frustration

The alleged attack left her with a broken nose, cut lips, bruised ribs and a partially dislocated shoulder.  The aftermath has left 25-year-old Kyann Negaard wondering why authorities and the media aren’t doing more.

The incident happened October 5th at round 10:15 pm at an apartment complex in Ada County.  Negaard,who is an open lesbian along with her male roommate, who is also openly gay, returned home from grocery shopping to find their normal parking spot taken. Negaard says they parked across the street from their apartment complex, unloaded the groceries, and were just about to cross the street when she saw a vehicle coming at her at a high rate of speed.

She says if she had tried to cross a few seconds before she would have been hit.    The speeding car lurched into the apartment complex parking lot and Negaard says she called out to the vehicle’s occupants to slow down.  The passengers of the car, now identified  as 24-year- old Nicole Raymond and 30-year-old Robert Elam, allegedly got out and started yelling at her. “It was crazy”, says Negaard. “I told her to slow down and the next thing I knew she was in my face yelling homosexual slurs and asking me if I ‘didn’t like the way she drove'”.

It was then that Raymond allegedly started to attack her.  Negaard says it begin with several punches and then once she was on the ground, Raymond started kicking her. Meanwhile, says Negaard, Elam threw her roommate over a green power box and started hitting him as well.  He then allegedly went over and stood on Negaard while she was being kicked. “The whole time this was happening they were yelling things like “faggot” and “dyke” and anti-gay slurs so horrible that I don’t even want to repeat them.”

It was only after Negaard’s roommate was able to dial police on his cell phone, that the alleged beating stopped.  While Negaard laid on the ground, writhing in pain, her alleged attackers took and and went into one of the apartments.

Once sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrived, Raymond and Elam were placed under arrest and charged with aggravated battery. Negaard was taken to the hospital.  Her roommate suffered minor injuries.

Negaard says neither her or her roommate had ever seen the pair before. She only later learned later that one of the alleged attackers has a relative living in the apartment complex.

A week later, as Negaard tries to recover from her injuries, she says even more painful is the way law enforcement and the media has handled the attack. She says a report of the incident doesn’t include any trace of the anti-gay slurs that both her and her roommate say they recounted to deputies.

“When we were telling the deputy about the names they were calling us, it was almost as if we were aggravating him. He didn’t want to hear it.”

She also says she’s frustrated at the media because so far not only have they too failed to mention the anti-gay slurs in order to warn others but they have also made it sound like her and her roommate were “just another couple”, which Negaard says couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We are both very open about our sexuality”, says Naagard. “It’s not any secret to anybody. It’s just frustrating because people need to know what’s going on.”

Neegard isn’t alone in her frustration.  She says she herself has at least five friends who have been attacked in alleged hate crimes this year, many of whom didn’t call the police because she says “they just don’t think it will do any good.”

Earlier this week, State Senator Nichole LeFavour (D-Boise) cited Neggard’s case in a tweet warning about a recent rash of hate crimes in Idaho’s capital city, “Sad: Man hit with golf club in Balcony club garage. Man and woman beaten outside pie hole. Woman beaten by couple screaming anti-gay slurs.” she tweeted.

The rise of the crimes hasn’t gone unnoticed by LGBTQIA community leaders either.  A few weeks ago a.l.p.h.a. executive director Duane Quintana and others met with the city of Boise to discuss what they say is an unreported problem.

According to the Idaho State Police website, “Idaho was one of the first twelve states to pass legislation regarding malicious harassment. Hate crime incidents are identified on the subjective motivation of the offender(s).”

However, “Law enforcement investigations solely determine the sufficient objective facts to lead to a reasonable and prudent conclusion that the offender’s actions were motivated by bias against a racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, mental/physical disability, or sexual-orientation group.”

That means the law is only as good as the training of the law enforcement involved.

Quintana told the Idaho Agenda following the meeting that there is still a lot of education that needs to take place among the police department and city council members regarding the LGBTQIA community.

“Often times members of the LGBTQIA community don’t call police out of fear of outing themselves or fear that the police aren’t going to take hate crime seriously,” said Quintana.

Still, he says it’s important to call the police so that the incident can not only be dealt with, but so that authorities have a better picture of the hate crime situation in Idaho.

Neegard and others will be participating in a panel discussion which will feature survivors, witnesses, activists, and other stake holders dealing with hate crimes in Boise and Idaho. The discussion will take place  this Sunday afternoon, October 16th, starting at 2:00 pm at Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange located at 213 N. 10th St. in Boise.  The event is being presented as part of Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange‘s “Social Justice Sunday” series.

Social Justice Sunday: Event To Focus on Hate Crimes in Idaho

Thanks to the lack of Idaho’s protections for openly Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons, anecdotally speaking, there’s a good chance that you will never hear about most hate crimes committed in Idaho.

There are no LGBTQIA hate crime legislation at the state level and a lot of  law enforcement agencies in the state are either untrained or unequipped to deal with hate crimes committed against the LGBTQIA community.  When you add to that these facts the thought that by merely reporting a LGBTQIA hate crime a person may be outing himself or herself, it’s safe to say most crimes are going unreported.

During a recent meeting with the City of Boise to discuss the issue, one person in the group shared an extremely disturbing incident that occurred down the street from Boise’s popular Balcony night club. The incident started with the victim being called a “faggot” and other names and escalated into a full blown physical attack. The victim says he did not report the incident to police because of a previous similar incident in which police were called, but did little to help.

An event taking place in Boise this weekend hopes to educate both the LGBTQIA community, as well as members of the larger community, on the problem of hate crimes in Idaho.

The event, which is part of Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange‘s “Social Justice Sunday” series will feature a panel of survivors, witness, activists, and other stake holders.

If you are at all concerned about hate crimes in Idaho or if you just want more information, you need to attend this meeting. The event is free and open to the public.

Organizers are also looking for groups and or panelists to get involved. Call 208 424 8158 for more information.

What: Social Justice Sunday: Hate Crimes in Boise and Across the State

When: This Sunday, October 16th from 2pm – 3pm. The store will also be open to groups to table from 11-3pm that day.

Where: Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange 213 N 10th St Boise Idaho 83702

Social Justice Sundays is a series of 3rd Sundays of the month that the store gives a local group a platform in which to share their story.

About Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange:  Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange is a store with a twist! All proceeds benefit Allies Linked for the Prevention HIV and AIDS or a.l.p.h.a. an Idaho based non-profit organization strongly run and led by volunteers. retail store with a twist. All proceeds will benefit Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS or a.l.p.h.a. an Idaho based non-profit organization strongly run and led by volunteers.

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