BLAQ OUT is a united community of individual advocates, community activists and healthcare professionals who work to address the psychosocial and environmental challenges faced by Black MSM in the Greater Kansas City Area.
Our vision is one of a community where young Black men who have sex with men are
connected and supported, have access to safe spaces and sufficient resources that will help them thrive.
We believe that to turn the tide against the HIV epidemic, grassroots and indigenously-led efforts originating from those most-affected must be given the opportunity to succeed. We recognize how stigma, discrimination and medical mistrust act as tremendous barriers to good health for many Black gay men.
And we want to do something about it.
It is essential that we begin to deploy revolutionary, evidenced- based, and out-of-the-box
models to effectively support young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM), especially those living with HIV. BlaqOut’s logic model is designed to do just that.
TO CREATE CHANGE, WE MUST COME TOGETHER.
When YBMSM aren’t visible in the community they have little reason to expect community acceptance. To offset this lack of inclusion, BlaqOut shifts this paradigm by centering YBMSM at the forefront of our efforts.
Indigenous leadership matters.
BlaqOut provides YBMSM a chance to empower themselves to lead, feel safe being who they are, feel affirmed in their identities, and grow to become happy, healthy, and productive adults.
Already, dozens of YBMSM have joined our movement to be visible and vocal. By asserting ourselves in this way, we have the best hope of beating HIV.
Working in close cooperation with our partners, BlaqOut is leading an in- depth exploration of the impact of the social determinants of health among area YBMSM.
This research study will assess the overall health and wellness needs of YBMSM in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. We will thoughtfully examine and better understand how the social determinants of health play a role in the daily lives of this area’s YBMSM, and make recommendations that will begin to address them.
In terms of its scope and depth, this long-overdue and groundbreaking study is unlike any other previously attempted or currently underway.
BlaqOut has adopted a holistic approach that aims to look at all aspects of the lives of YBMSM.
In all of our activities a conscious effort is made not to problematize YBMSM by having a singular focus on disease (HIV/ AIDS). We approach YBMSM and their lives with a solution- oriented focus that raises awareness of the myriad health issues impacting our community and offers participants the opportunity to begin developing realistic strategies to combat these issues effectively.
BlaqOut places strong emphasis on advocacy through mobilizing HIV-positive persons to achieve health equity.
Social Engagement (Block Party + BlaqOut Ball)
An avenue and outlet for youth in the Ballroom community to have a safe space to express themselves freely, while also being a part of a community that promotes safe sexual health.
YBMSM Program-Specific Outreach + Recruitment
Assistance for entities conducting community assessments for research and intervention recruitment, retention and outreach services.
HIV Testing (Incl. Condom Distribution)
Free and confidential HIV testing, condoms, and lubricants to at-risk populations through a partnership with existing providers.
Training (Leadership Development, Cultural Competency)
Train providers on enhanced communication skills for use with HIV+ individuals, MSM’s, and LGBTQ patients.
Community Resource Navigation
Client referrals to culturally-competent medical and non-medical linkage for HIV/AIDS care in including assistance in scheduling and document gathering.
Bayard Rusting Leadership Academy Fellowships
An 18-month leadership development program featuring a structured educational curriculum, individual development plan, executive coaching, facilitated mentoring, and peer learning.
YBMSM Empowerment Summit
An annual 1.5 day conference focused on healthy living and seeking viral suppression for BMSMS featuring roundtable discussions, workshops and plenary sessions on relevant topics.
Positive Images HIV+ Support Group
A support group with guided discussions on issues HIV+ men are experiencing and how to find support.