Gay Today: Health
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The Mautner Project's Beds,
Breakfasts and Breasts

Compiled by GayToday

Washington, DC- Beds, Breakfasts and Breasts is an innovative new program to promote lesbian breast health through partnerships with inns and bed and breakfast facilities (B&B's) that cater to a lesbian clientele.

"Lesbian-friendly B&B's provide a welcoming and safe place for lesbians to relax and be themselves," says Kathleen DeBold, Executive Director of the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer. "That makes them the perfect environment for delivering breast health messages geared toward our community."

Throughout the month of May, the Mautner Project is furnishing lesbian-friendly inns around the country with free Beds, Breakfasts and Breasts ("3-B") kits to share with their guests. The "3-B" kits include "Dykes to Watch Out For" breast self-exam shower cards - specially designed by popular cartoonist Alison Bechdel - and brochures describing the breast health and other services available through the Mautner Project.

Because B&B's are such an integral part of the lesbian community, Beds, Breakfasts and Breasts will also help the Mautner Project reach a wider segment of the lesbian population, especially those who are older or closeted. "Older lesbians are at a higher risk for cancer and closeted women are the hardest to reach with lesbian-oriented health messages," says DeBold. "Many lesbians wouldn't dream of visiting an LGBT community center or attending a gay pride event in their own towns, for fear of being outed," says DeBold, "but they will visit an out-of-town B&B, so that's where we'll reach them."

In addition to educating lesbians about breast cancer risk reduction and screening, Beds, Breakfasts and Breasts highlights the services and support available to lesbians with cancer, their partners and caregivers. These range from phone and email support for women who are homebound or geographically isolated, to referrals to lesbian-friendly providers and agencies in local communities. "The Mautner Project exists so that no lesbian has to face the challenges of cancer alone," says DeBold. "The more women we can reach through the 3-B program, the closer we'll be to making that a reality."

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If the Bed, Breakfasts and Breasts program is successful, the Mautner Project will launch the second phase of their B&B outreach, Beds, Breakfasts and Butts, later this summer. The goal of Beds, Breakfasts and Butts will be to increase the number of smoke-free, lgbt-friendly venues and to get smoking cessation information into the hands of as many smokers, their lovers and friends as possible.

Founded in 1990, the non-profit Mautner Project is the nation's leading lesbian health organization. The Mautner Project provides direct services to lesbians with cancer, educates lesbians about cancer; trains healthcare providers about the needs and concerns of women who partner with women; and is the leading advocate on lesbian health issues nationwide.

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