Takeaways from It’s Ok to Not Be Ok: Part 3 – Sexual Health

Thank you to Our Sponsors - North Shore Pride Community Forum It's Ok to Not Be Ok - Dr. Helena Santos-Martinez and Right at Home In Home Homecare

It’s Ok to Not Be Ok was sponsored by Right at Home In Home Care and Dr. Helena Santos-Martins. Technical support was provided by Creative Collective and interpretive services by Partners Healthcare.

Content Warning: This video and post content may not be suitable for young viewers and readers as it is a frank discussion of healthcare issues within the LGBTQ+ community.

On October 22 we hosted our community forum: It’s Ok to Not Be Ok. The discussion centered on health and health policy for the LGBT community in light of October being health awareness month. Syd Sennett, peer leader for NAGLY and board member of North Shore Pride, moderated the panel.

Important note: this panel is a part of North Shore Pride’s educational mission and any health concerns that you may personally have, you should always go talk with your doctor.


Because a lot of information was discussed during the event, we’ll break it up into four “takeaways” posts in the coming weeks. 

Sexual Health Takeaways from It’s Ok to Not Be Ok

What is sexual health? What are the unique sexual health questions/concerns specific to our Community?

Fonda Feeling (they/them) led the discussion on sexual health for the panel, answering the questions above and giving examples.

“Sexual health encompasses your physical health, of course, but it also encompasses your emotional health, including your relationship with sex, your mental health, and your social health in a lot of ways, because, you know, sex with other people is a social interaction.”

Other takeaways listed by Fonda Feeling:

  • Specific needs of queer communities: “Queer communities have a lot of very specific needs when it comes to sexual health that is often swept under the rug. And that can range from STI protection to being able to navigate dysphoria and sexual interaction, especially gender dysphoria.”
  • Relationships with pleasure: “Having a good relationship with pleasure. not always easy when you’re used to either not feeling at home in your body or not feeling safe in general.”
  • The importance of consent: “I think that consent is not nearly emphasized enough in more traditional heterosexual sex health spaces. But particularly in queer communities, where sometimes the communication lines can be blurred, in a lot of ways due to just different social interactions.”

After Fonda’s introduction, Adrian Shanker (he/him) discussed vaccines available for two common STI’s, resources that weren’t readily available until recently.

“HPV is a leading cause of both cervical and anal cancer, as well as some oral cancers. And there’s a vaccine and the vaccine didn’t exist when some of us were were younger.”

Relevant Links and Articles

It’s Ok to Not Be Ok was sponsored by Right at Home In Home Care and Dr. Helena Santos-Martins. Technical support was provided by Creative Collective and interpretive services by Partners Healthcare.

Panelists Included:

  • Myozen Joan Amaral: Founder and Guiding Teacher, Zen Center North Shore
  • Fonda Feeling: Aerialist and Burlesque Performer and Sex Educator with Good Vibrations, Cambridge and Brookline
  • Adrian Shanker: Editor, Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health and Executive Director Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Allentown, PA
  • Dr. Karen Vautour: Clinical Director, North Shore Counseling Center, Beverly, MA
  • Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, Senior Outreach Manager of Fenway Community Health, Aids Action and the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center
  • Syd Sennett, Board Member, North Shore Pride, Inc. and Peer leader at NAGLY


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