A Healthy, Inclusive Community with IDENTITYinc!
Written by Judy Palier
President, Identity inc.
This article is part of a project of the local Community Health Improvement Council (CHIC). Health Councils were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) with the goal of getting local citizens and count governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The local CHIC is conducting an ongoing awareness campaign addressing the various areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. May has been devoted to efforts to build a healthier, more inclusive community through community services.
Identity Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at 218 West Main Street in Farmington We support the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning) community and allies in San Juan County NM by providing a safe space and opportunities for growth through education training, self expression, and links to community resources.
As a result of homophobia and the resulting marginalization they experience, LGBTQ people manifest alcohol and drug abuse, depression and suicide at rates that are higher than those found in most heterosexual populations. This does not mean that gay people are mentally ill. It means that they are under a great deal of stress from living in a homophobic society. By offering a safe space where people can be themselves, and can spend time with other people like them, we believe we improve the mental health of the community.
We offer support groups for trans/gender nonconforming individuals (first and third Saturdays 11:00), young adults (last Saturday of each month at 2:00), and have plans to start a women’s group in the near future. Our teen support group (Wednesdays 4:30-5:30) is facilitated by a licensed counselor, and we host a Narcotics Anonymous group that meets on Sunday afternoons at 1:00 p.m.
Our mission to build a healthier, more inclusive community involves our reaching out to individuals and institutions in the community. We have worked with the Farmington Police Department and with the Farmington Municipal Schools to help make Farmington a safer, more welcoming place for sexual and gender minorities who are marginalized in the broader community. We also offer creative outlets such as poetry readings and drag shows, and serve as a venue for local bands and artists. We have hosted symposia on LGBT health, and have served as the site for a training about LGBTQ individuals that was recently offered to area agency employees.
We are open 5:00-7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and for scheduled events. We would like to stress that everyone is welcome at Identity Inc; our only requirement is that people accept and value one another when they come together in our facility. Our space is available to rent for a nominal fee; we have hosted birthday parties and baby showers. Identity Inc. is an alcohol- and drug-free environment where people can be themselves. Our website is identity-inc.org and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We pay a portion of our bills through donations from our community; if you would like to donate, please go to identity-inc.org and use our PayPal link.