On February 22nd, A Very Queer Health Fair was held in the MAC from 10 AM to 4 PM. It was founded by iDENTity, the UW School of Dentistry’s LGBTQTSIA+ Organization. The fair was an opportunity for the members of the queer community to gain insight into the many different aspects of health, as well as celebrate their unique identities. It promoted inclusive healthcare for the queer community with queer health professional students. It also cultivated a space for queer people from diverse backgrounds to gather and exchange information about things they want and need.
A variety of booths greeted the guests as they arrived, which set up and engaged in lively conversations with participants. They were arranged in such a way that one would not have trouble navigating their way across the area while looking over a booth. Among them, a photo booth was set up accompanied by a range of fun props to spice up your photoshoot. But that’s not all! If one were to wander out of the area and to a section to the right of the room, you would be welcomed with another area filled with more informative booths, including a space to get your hair cut for free. The fair had also organized a free raffle, which you had to complete by visiting all the booths, with multiple prizes from queer-owned, run, and allied businesses. The dynamic atmosphere was enhanced by the live music being performed.
People dispersed across the two sections to meet with the vendors, including the sponsors of the event. Among the sponsors were iDENTity, Seattle Pride, UW School of Public Health, UNIcoRN from UW School of Nursing, Medical Teams International, Bastyr University, ADEA (American Dental Education Association), and OEPD (Office of Educational Partnerships and Diversity). When asked to give her thoughts on the theme of the event, a vendor from Gay City smiled fondly. “Smash patriarchy,” she said. In addition to the sponsors, participants were also soon conversing with raffle donors at their respective booths. The fair’s raffle donors included Northwest Film Forum, Jessica Henry, Homoco, Pride Flag SD, Mighty-O Donuts, Halsa, Rebirth Garments, Wildfang, Unicorn Narwhal, Kaladi Brothers Coffee, University Book Store, Flavnt Streetwear, Fluide, and The Well on Beacon.
The booths provided a variety of services as well. IDENTity provided dental care to six pre-scheduled participants in a mobile dental van. Dental screenings, including head and neck exams, fluoride varnish for cavity prevention, free toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss were also available at their booth.
LGBTQ medical students and Naturopathic Doctors from Bastyr University and the Bastyr Center for Natural Health were thrilled to offer blood pressure screenings and heart and lung exams for fairgoers. In addition, they provided participants with mini nutrition consults and a kitchen medicine quiz. Information about their clinic and the different services they offer could also be obtained.
Participants could also head over to UNIcoRN for blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, heart and lung exams, safe injection techniques, inclusive sex education, information on routine health screenings based on your organs, and LGBTQ+ friendly health provider lists.
Entre Hermanos, Seattle’s Latinx LGBTQ+ organization, offered free HIV testing in both English and Spanish as well as information for PrEP Navigation.
Tiny Bean Healing provided free tarot card readings in the afternoon. They were informative about their healing services that are a blend of therapeutic techniques, astrology and tarot practices.
One could obtain a free and transformational haircut at Bishops Haircuts. “It’s not just about haircuts and hair color,” said the hairstylist from Bishops, “it’s about being yourself and finding community.”
In addition to the great services the booths provided, the fair also consisted of a pop-up queer artist market from local and student LGBTQ+ artists, with pool tables and interactive art. All in all, it was a fun and informative experience for everyone who attended.
The event closed off with announcing the winners of the raffles and giving them the prizes, which included ticket bundles and gift cards. The vendors and sponsors expressed their gratitude for coming to the event and bid a good evening to everyone heading home.