As we reflect on the month of June, we want to take a moment to uplift the celebration of Pride. Pride is a joyful celebration of the lived possibility of being our full selves out loud and the grief at what – and who - it has cost us to get even this far. Hopefulness in the radical imagined futures offered by queer and trans folks of color; anger and despair as they continue to be targeted for giving voice and hands to the changes that so many - often except them - benefit from.
We must never forget that Pride was born out of resistance and protest. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March, held in New York City on June 28, 1970, on the first anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising was led in part by transgender women of color in protest of state-sanctioned violence by police toward LGBTQ people and sparked the modern LGBTQ movement. Despite the progress made in the years since Stonewall, this year's Pride Month comes at an explosive time.
This Pride Month, as we stood in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, we also stand with and for Black LGBTQ folks, whose health and lives are most at risk. To dismantle systemic racism, homophobia, and transphobia, we stand in solidarity demanding change –no matter what.
This year we saw some particularly hard blows to LGBTQ rights. The Trump administration removed health care protections for gender identity in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) non-discrimination provision (Section 1557) in a way that scales back protections, not only for transgender people but for immigrants and people who have had an abortion. The fact that the rule change was enacted on the 4th anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting adds insult to injury.
This decision is one of many that have targeted transgender and gender non-conforming people on federal and state levels. So far in 2020, 22 states have considered anti-trans legislation, including public accommodation, health care related encoded discrimination, general discrimination carve-outs and even an anti-trans marriage bill. Kentucky stands out, having considered eleven separate anti-trans legislation pieces, almost twice as many as any other state this year. Other states that have entertained anti-trans legislation include Washington, Idaho, Indiana and Alaska.
The struggle to achieve equity and justice is ongoing, but it's not without hope. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark win for LGBTQ people in this country, ruled June 15th that it is a violation of federal law to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Supreme Court held that “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” This historic 6-3 decision was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Trump and generally considered among the conservative block on the court.
This is an incredible win, especially during Pride Month.
We may not be able to show up in the ways we normally would while supporting inclusion, equity and change for the better this Pride season, but we can still show up through our words and actions.
Why does Planned Parenthood strive to ally with and lift up the LGBTQ community?
It has been scientifically proven that discrimination is bad for your health – not only emotionally and socially, but on a physical level. As a health care organization that cares for our whole patient, we oppose discrimination and are committed to dismantling systemic oppression.
Planned Parenthood’s mission today is to build a world in which every person — regardless of their race, income, insurance, gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities, or immigration status — can access expert, compassionate sexual and reproductive health care, information, and education without shame or judgement.
“Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, where you’re from, the language you speak, or whether you’ve had an abortion — every person deserves to access health care, free from judgment and discrimination.” – Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
What do LGBTQ rights have to do with reproductive freedom?
Our opponents believe that abortion should be illegal, that birth control should be restricted, and that sex education should not be taught in schools.
Our opponents wish to code these beliefs into law in order to punish all those who stray outside of them.
These beliefs, as well as the discrimination, stigma, shame and misinformation used to enforce them, are antithetical to Planned Parenthood’s mission. Time and again, when we fight for reproductive freedom, we are fighting the same opponents as those fighting for LGBTQ rights.
Planned Parenthood is committed to providing health care to all people without discrimination or stigma.
It’s simply what everyone deserves.
How does Planned Parenthood serve LGBTQ peoples’ health care needs?
Serving the LGBTQ community as a health care organization goes beyond putting up a “safe space” rainbow sticker at the front desk and asking patients for their pronouns.
Studies show that members of the LGBTQ community often mistrust the medical system due to past experiences of systemic harassment and discrimination. The intimate nature of sexual and reproductive health care can also mean increased anxiety when coming in for an exam. Planned Parenthood clinicians and staff are informed and educated about diverse sexualities and gender identities and are trained on ways to make our patients feel accepted, comfortable and respected. As health care providers, we are committing to doing no harm, and providing the most positive and beneficial experience to all patients.
This means that when patients come to see us for birth control prescriptions, cancer screenings, STI testing's or other health care services, we won’t assume their sexuality or gender identity. As of May we expanded services in Indiana and Kentucky. We are also working to expand the number of health centers offering gender affirming hormone care.
It means we offer HIV prevention tools like PrEP, a daily drug regimen to help prevent HIV, and that we are networked to link patients with HIV treatment and care.
And it means that in our educational programming and curriculum, we ensure that our language is inclusive, non-judgmental and welcoming to all.
What is Pride and why is it important to the LGBTQ community?
June marks the annual observance of LGBTQ Pride Month. We know that Pride isn't just about parties and parades. Pride was born out of resistance and protest. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March, held in New York City on June 28,1970 on the first anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was led in part by transgender women of color and sparked the modern LGBTQ movement.
Stonewall was not the first event of its kind. Other significant gay bar uprisings include the Cooper Do-Nuts Cafe uprising of 1959 in Los Angeles, and the Compton’s Cafeteria uprising in 1966 in San Francisco, but Stonewall was the first that drew national attention, and it spearheaded a movement.
What followed the next week is considered by many to be a turning point. The Mattachine society, an early gay rights organization, had a tradition of picketing the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Hall each July 4th in formal suits and ties. The intent was to show that “homosexuals could be respectable and just like everyone else.”
On July 4, 1969, in a break with the club’s directives of “respectability,” many couples who showed up to the picketing event held hands. It was reported that as many as ten couples held hands with one another throughout the event, and the subsequent press attention to this was galvanizing for the movement.
The next year, the first Pride parades were held in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; The next year these were joined by Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm. The parades were a public celebration of the marchers’ relationships and sexualities – a declaration of being “proud” to be yourself instead of being ashamed of what you are not. As less conservative organizations rose to the forefront of LGBTQ activism, such as the Gay Liberation Front, this public respect and acknowledgment for LGBTQ individuals, and their relationships and families – Pride – became core to the movement.
Despite progress made in the years since Stonewall, this year’s Pride Month comes at an explosive time. As Black communities face continued discrimination and violence by the police, there is a tremendous wave of protest, grief and rage across the country.
How does Planned Parenthood recognize Pride?
Nathan Engebretson, Director of Brand and Marketing at PPGNHI, noted that in years past, Planned Parenthood has participated heavily in Pride, having had a large staff contingent march in the parade for multiple consecutive years as well as having a popular tabling at Pride outdoor festivals.
This year, due to canceled events and social distancing, we are moving to online observation. Please check out our social media to follow along, learn and participate.
You can find PPGNHI’s Facebook and Twitter, as well as PPINK’s Facebook and Twitter to discover our latest updates.
Throughout the year, Planned Parenthood will continue to stand with the LGBTQ community as a health care provider, and as an ally.
How can I support the LGBTQ community?
One of the best ways to support the LGBTQ community – whether you’re a part of it yourself, have a loved one who is, or you just want to learn more – is to educate yourself. There are lots of resources on Planned Parenthood’s website.
You can donate to Planned Parenthood to support LGBTQ-inclusive health care and top-notch sex education programs (be sure to select “specific giving” and choose your affiliate, PPINK or PPGNHI), and you can donate to local LGBTQ organizations in your area.
If you feel moved to, please support the protests happening right now in support of Black Lives.
Planned Parenthood recognizes that Black LGBTQ people face violence and oppression at the intersections of racism, homophobia and transphobia. The fights for LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and racial justice are linked.
- Planned Parenthood stands in solidarity with protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement, including Black LGBTQ people, whose health and lives are most at risk. To dismantle systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia, we must stand in solidarity with those demanding change through uprisings and protests.
- There are many guides to protesting safely, and for providing support for protestors.
- However, you choose to support the current movement for racial justice, be sure to take care of yourself, one another, and keep to Black voices centered in the movement.
Thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood as we stand in support of equity, justice, and love this Pride season, and throughout the year.