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Logo of La Différence en Question
Breast and Uterus Cancer Prevention

in FRANCE, 16/11/2007

La Différence en Question involved in awareness raising

Early 2007, ILGA launched the “Breast and Uterus Cancer” prevention leaflet in English and Spanish, which was originally coordinated in French and in Dutch by ILGA with the Belgian Foundation against Cancer and local Belgian organizations. ILGA encouraged local organizations to use the text, the pictures and the layout.

Organizations from Switzerland, Greece, Mexico, Sweden and Sri Lanka are considering adapting the brochure locally, while the Italian Arcilesbica translated it into Italian and the Filippino Can’t Live in the Closet changed some of the pictures.

The French organization “La Différence en Question” decided to adapt the leaflet to their needs by adding a paragraph and changing some pictures. They opted for an easily printable version from internet and a paper version. ILGA wanted to know how they carried out this project, hoping that this will inspire other organizations in the world.
We have interviewed one of their members, Marie-Paule Lolo*.

Can you, please, introduce the organization “La Différence en Question”?
The organization was created at the end of 2005, a year marked by particularly troubling events for the LGBT community in France. The “Provence” region was not spared from this wave of violence, so a group of people got together to think about our role and our potential ties with the community at large.

Fighting against sexism and homo-lesbo-trans-phobia is not a new concept, but in order to do so we must put our heads together and share our ideas, reflections, abilities, opinions, so as to take into account and benefit from our differences!

Our ethic is to work towards the advancement of LGBT rights and the recognition of our relationships, our families and our special health needs.

The organization’s objective is to value and appreciate the expression of our differences.

Racism, sexism, and homo-lesbo-trans-phobia are the ideas against which we get together to counteract.

Why did you decide to adapt the ILGA “Breast and Uterus Cancer” prevention leaflet and not use it as it is, since it was already available in French?
The Women’s Health Commission representative of the organization, Isabelle Bouvier, saw the ILGA “Breast and Uterus Cancer” prevention leaflet at the EuroMediterranean Universities of Marseille (UEEH) in 2006. At that moment she decided to carry out a similar project in France. Each region has traditions and cultures which are being transmitted also by the language, but not only. For this reason, we have adapted the leaflet to our needs with other photos and by adapting some of the text.

Compared to the initial ILGA leaflet, you have added a paragraph on trans health. Why did you believe it was important to add this?
The paragraph concerning trans persons is very important, because she and he are more exposed to cancers due to hormonotherapy. In addition, Female to Male trans believe that they are not concerned anymore about specific cancers related to the biological female bodies. We are an LGBT organization, and not including the specificities of trans people would have been denying our identity. We asked the trans organization Sans Contrefaçon to write this paragraph on trans health.

Which are the partners with whom you worked, and how did you obtain financial support to print this beautiful leaflet?
We looked for local partner organizations which also work on health related issues. We found three organizations: SOS Homophobie, Centre Gay Lesbien et Trans d´île de France, Les UEEH.

This partnership with other local French organizations allowed us to finance the leaflet. In addition to that, we looked for partners that would ensure a larger dissemination, namely, via their websites. That way any person who wishes to do so could download the leaflet and print it in a simple A4 format.

You decided to print the leaflet on non-whitened recycled paper. Why such a decision which, most of the time, is also more expensive ?
For us health issues need to be treated in a broader way. Our organization is attached to what is called sustained development. Using non-whitened recycled paper means to preserve our forests and water supplies, but also means not exposing employees of the printing company to long term dangerous products. The printing company that we selected is committed to respecting environmental and safe working conditions, and they use non dangerous products, such as vegetal ink. The causes of about 50% of cancers are still unknown, and the environmental impact on cancers is underlined by various researchers. It seemed to be logical for us to work taking into consideration this perspective.

Do you intend to disseminate this leaflet to health care providers?
We work in partnership with the French Family Planning, which is raising awareness on breast and uterus cancers to their gynecologists. They will also disseminate this leaflet to their doctors, the general practitioners, as we specifically wish to target those women who do not go to gynecologists.

Would you authorise French-speaking organizations and others to use your text and the layout of the leaflet?
This text and the whole leaflet can be used freely by other organizations. We ourselves benefitted from the work carried out by ILGA in conjunction with other Belgian organizations. We have updated it with our vision, and we hope that this leaflet will continue to be upgraded thanks to the input from other organizations.

Based on this experience, I can say that organizations can only benefit in sharing their know-how. Lesbian and trans health projects still get very little attention or financial support; it is not a priority for most governments. As a consequence, it is even more important to work together and share experience, just like ILGA and like our organization, La Différence en Question, did.

Your can download the leaflet by clicking on the PDF file on the top of this page.

* Marie-Paule is a psychoanalyst. She is a member of the organizations “La Différence en Question”and “Libre Expression et Différence”. She is also co-representative of the LGBT National Commission of the French Green party. On behalf of the French organization “Sans Contrefaçon” she contributed to ILGA’s “Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health” report by writing an article on Women’s Body and Pleasure.
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