As a Queer Black woman, I know that Black women are at a greater risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. We are also more likely to die of cervical cancer compared to women of other races.

Due to racial and economic inequalities, I know that it is not easy for Black women to receive the necessary health screening/care that we need. The systemic issues that plague my community are major contributors to the health problems we face and I am determined to dedicate my life to working to undo those issues…

I believe that it is important that all folks who have a cervix take the personal initiative to get a Pap smear to help with early detection. I know personally, it is not always easy speaking about genital health, and no matter how much we think society has progressed; many issues pertaining to genital health are still considered taboo to publicly talk about…

I have realized taking the initiative to schedule my own tests and screenings was one way I could take my power back and put my health and wellness first.

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After reading Killing the Black body by Dorothy Roberts and Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington I knew it was time to take my health and wellness more seriously. This meant me taking the initiative to schedule routine tests, screenings, ask questions, as well as doing my own research. — As a Queer Black woman, I know that Black women are at a greater risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. We are also more likely to die of cervical cancer compared to women of other races. Previously, researchers estimated that 5.7 Black women per 100,000 would die of cervical cancer. But, more recent research has found that 10.1 per 100,000 Black women will die of cervical cancer each year. — This is devastating to me because while cervical cancer is likely to drastically affect my community, it is absolutely preventable. Due to racial and economic inequalities, I know that it is not easy for Black women to receive the necessary health screening/care that we need. The systemic issues that plague my community are major contributors to the health problems we face and I am determined to dedicate my life to working to undo those issues. But, when @protectthepap reached out to me I knew I needed to take part in at least raising awareness around this issue. While many of the problems my community face are systemic, I know that it can be helpful to at least begin a conversation around issues that are often ignored. — I believe that it is important that all folks who have a cervix take the personal initiative to get a Pap smear to help with early detection. I know personally, it is not always easy speaking about genital health, and no matter how much we think society has progressed; many issues pertaining to genital health are still considered taboo to publicly talk about. — I personally struggle with speaking to doctors, asking for help, and being vulnerable with doctors because of my mistrust and nervousness around how I have been previously treated by medical professionals. I had an internal exam a few months ago and I must admit that I was nervous and uncomfortable but I knew that it was important for my health that I get the exam done. —

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