CHICAGO— The University of Illinois at Chicago's IMPACT Program has released a new educational campaign titled "I Heart My Sexuality" with a series of videos exploring relationships, being single and the importance of family and community.
"We created these videos because our research with LGBT young people shows that they want to learn more about healthy same-sex relationships," says Dr. Brian Mustanski, clinical psychologist and director of UIC's IMPACT Program. "Our program focuses on promoting sexual health in young people, which is more than just the absence of diseases like HIV. Being healthy also means having positive romantic relationships and accepting one's sexuality."
The I Heart My Sexuality campaign is a series of videos gathered from interviews in the community that "highlight the strengths of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, instill pride in the community, and tell stories of healthy relationships," Mustanski said.
The IMPACT team captured the personal interviews during the 2010 Chicago Pride Festival and Dyke March. The videos were created in partnership with BeyondMedia Education, an award winning non-profit organization dedicated to using media for social change.
In addition to videos, the IMPACT team collected nearly two hundred post cards on which people wrote positive and encouraging notes regarding why they love their sexual orientation. The post cards will be shown on the IMPACT website, allowing users to review the cards and read the inspiring and sometimes funny messages.
Later stages of the campaign will include interviews with same-sex couples.
IMPACT, a program of the Institute for Juvenile Research at UIC, conducts LGTB research to identify health issues, understand factors that put people at risk or protect them, and develop programs that advance the health of LGBT people and communities.
IMPACT Program's internet-based education and outreach programs are funded in part by the William T. Grant Foundation.
UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 27,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.