5 Pride Pro-tips for Pride-Rookie Parents

by Polly Pagenhart, Communications & Director at Our Family Coalition

This piece was originally published on the OFC Blog on June 24, 2014. It is re-posted here with current links for Pride 2017.

Polly at Pride

Yours truly with kids at Pride, 2010 or something.

If this your first Pride with your family, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to get through the day with your good humor — and your wee charges – intact. And for good reason!

The downside of pride-as-a-parent: it’s not the same as when you were a footloose, fancy-free non-parent. The parade route covers nearly a mile and a half, which amounts to at least a half-hour walk on hard pavement even before you factor in the pre-parade wait and the stop-and-go of parading.

The pride-as-a-parent upside, especially if you march with the OFC contingent: it’s nothing short of transcendent, walking up Market Street with your whole family, watching your children be cheered on by rainbow flag-waving strangers like they’re astronauts returning from the moon.  The supply of pride from that s/hero’s welcome lasts a year, and is well worth what you go through to enable your kids to experience it.

If you make it to the Family Garden (or go there directly), you’ll be greeted by a veritable sea of our families, safely frolicking inside our very own playground.  We’ll have healthy snacks and beverages inside there, plus our own port-a-potties (not to be underestimated!). Also: balloon animals, face painting, story time, and play structure fun.

So! For all pride-rookie parents, here are five essential things to remember:

1. Bring food and water.

2. Bring wheels, if you can.

3. Remember sun protection.

4. Attach an ID to the little ones.

5. Create an exit strategy and end on a good note.

1. Bring food and water. This one’s close to a parental no-brainier: it’s a warm, sunny June day, and even in the most minimalist of scenarios you’ll be out in the elements for hours plural. We’ll be distributing some water at the contingent gathering spot, but even so, be sure to bring enough water to hydrate yourself and your little ones. Plus do bring easy-to-carry healthy snacks to curb the hunger pangs. There’s tons of food up in Civic Center (at the cost of lines & $$).

2. Bring wheels, if you can. The only thing nearly as important as food & water are wheels, any wheels, whatever wheels you’re able bring to the parade site & schlepp back home: stroller (no big kid is too big if they can jam into it!), wagon, scooter, tricycle, skateboard, roller blades, bikes: whatever conveyance you can bring that will ease the mile, bring it! I even saw a family with a custom rig once: they attached wheels to the bottom of a crib, and rolled that thing ’til it gave up the ghost half-way up the street.

3. Remember sun protection. It’ll be sunny, and sun protection of any & all sorts is in order: wide-brimmed hat; sunglasses; sunscreen. Again: it’s going to be hours in the sun on a fine June day. Don’t overheat or burn.

4. Attach an ID to the little ones. Whether you go low-tech and write your name (not the kids’ name) and cell phone number on the inside of their little forearms, or you affix one of those ID wristbands on ’em, or you somehow securely attach a laminated card to your kid’s person, be sure there is a super-clear way for someone to know to contact you in the unlikely yet very upsetting event you’re separated. You’ll probably not need it, but if you do, it will be a lifeline.

5. Create an exit strategy and end on a good note.  Talk together as a family about what to expect from Pride, and how much is going to feel like enough. Reading through Gayle Pitman’s fantastic new book This Day in June would be fantastic prep if your kids are little and haven’t been yet. Agree in advance how you’ll decide when it’s time to go, whether it’s the grown ups or the kids who are supersaturated. It’s a thrilling day, but for years, my own family simply marched up Market Street and then dropped down into BART at Civic Center, as full as we could manage. One of the key tenets of dog training is “End on a good note!” so that the most recent memory is a positive one. That goes for Pride, too.

A final note, as of 2016: SF Pride, post-Orlando, adopted very strict security measures and will be checking everyone who enters Civic Center on the level that you would expect at the airport. Please review their list of what to bring/ not bring, so you won’t be taken by surprise when you get to the entry gates.

Together we can make this the Best! Pride! Ever!


Now Is the Time for Love: A Joint Statement with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Así somos, by Tania Cataldo

Alongside our colleagues at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, we issued this statement today, in light of the recent anniversaries of the Pulse and Charleston massacres, each of which came during a week that also saw mass shootings at a San Francisco UPS facility and a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia. On the eve of the 47th Annual SF LGBTQ Pride Parade and the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s famed Summer of Love, now is the time to come together and proclaim our commitment to love, justice, and peace. (PDF here.)

 

Last week saw the one year anniversary of the massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando, FL on Latin Night. Some 49 people, most young, LGBTQ, and Latinx, lost their lives to hate. Just a few days later in San Francisco, a UPS driver opened fire at his workplace, killing four, including himself. That same day a gunman in Alexandria, VA opened fire on congressional representatives practicing on a baseball field: many were wounded; one remains in critical condition. And Saturday, June 17th brought the two-year anniversary of the Charleston Church Massacre in which nine African Americans worshipping at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were gunned down by a white supremacist who sought to incite a race war.

Regardless of motive, or weapon, or number of victims, all murders are reprehensible, and should continue to shock, even as they become less and less surprising.

On the eve of LGBTQ Pride weekend in San Francisco and the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, we call for all community members, across the spectrum of political belief and personal identity, to embrace what unites us with more passion than we are drawn to what divides us. And to act on that embrace of love to create equitable and just communities. Violence is never a solution. In almost every dilemma, love–whether of peace, of justice, of community, or of family–always is.

As organizations founded on the respect for human dignity and the value of equity, we know the power of communities, united. We invite you all to join us at the upcoming SF LGBT Pride gatherings for allies and LGBTQI community members of all backgrounds: come to pre-Trans March youth activities, an LGBTQ family brunch the morning of the Dyke March, or march with us at the San Francisco’s LGBTQ Pride Parade on Sunday. See ourfamily.org for event details or sf-hrc.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Renata Moreira

Executive Director, Our Family Coalition

 

Susan Belinda Christian

Commission Chair, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Baby Boy

Guest Post by Nicole Opper

Nicole and Kristan document their journey into the foster care system to adopt a child in their new comedic documentary web series The F Word: a Foster to Adopt Story. Our Family Coalition is proud to be a supporter of the film and a co-presenter of its screenings at Frameline Film Festival. Below, Nicole shares a morsel of their story. Come for more at the screenings June 18th at the Roxie in San Francisco, or June 20th at the Elmwood in Berkeley.


When my cell phone rang I thought it was going to be our social worker calling about two siblings we’d seen photos of earlier that day in her office. It’s a bizarre monthly ritual: showing up to leaf through the new collection of flyers featuring foster children awaiting homes. Some of these children reappear month after month. Others are new faces. Their descriptions say things like “Enjoys playing soccer” or “Has an infectious smile,” before divulging the inevitable traumas they’ve faced.

We had made the decision to build our family through fost-adoption two years earlier and signed up for parent training classes at a local agency. We were open to any child age 0-4 and were told that it would be about a two year wait because everyone wants little kids. For awhile we thought about taking on an older kid, but knew this was unrealistic for us – we live in a tiny rent-controlled apartment in Oakland, and to leave this apartment would mean to leave the Bay Area altogether. Many of our friends had already been priced out. So we decided to stick to our guns, and two years later, almost to the month, I was answering this phone call, expecting to hear about next steps for the two little girls who had captured our hearts that morning, a two year old and her six year old sister. Not only had we broken our age rule but we’d doubled our number to two, deciding we’d make up for our lack of space with boundless love and plenty of outdoor adventures.

But the call about the siblings never came. In the time it had taken us to see their flyer and inquire about them, another family had already been selected. This was the third potential match that we’d gotten our hopes up about but that ultimately fell through.

The call was, in fact, about a baby. “Baby Boy” was what they called him, because he hadn’t been given a name. When I think back to the day we were told about him, none of it seems real. For one thing, my wife and I were already starting to feel pretty cynical about the whole process. Either we’d see a kid and get excited but wouldn’t be picked by their social worker, or we’d be picked but then it would fall through for other reasons. We knew this was part of the deal; that adoptions through foster care were messy and hard, that there would be joy but also profound grief. We just didn’t expect it to take so long to even be considered. Was it the gay thing? Our small home? Our income level?

We were told it was a concurrent planning case, which means there was a chance Baby Boy would be reunified with birth family. Were we still interested?

“Yes,” we replied.

Well okay then, we’d hear by the end of the day if we were selected. We spent the day wondering if the Yentas of the child welfare system would deem us to be a match. Sure, Baby Boy’s social worker had a thirty page document cataloging most of our major life choices, but how do degrees, careers, hobbies and the cities we grew up in add up to any sense of whether we’d be the right parents for a particular kid? Most kids in the system aren’t there because of abuse or abandonment. Most are there due to neglect. Poverty is an indicator for neglect, and the idea that there are kids in foster care who wouldn’t be there to begin with if their parents had received the support they needed was not only unjust but completely heartbreaking. This system treats the symptom instead of the cause, yet we put our faith in the process, because a broken foster care system doesn’t get fixed by those who ignore it, but by those who engage with it.

And then the call came. At 5pm later that day we were told we’d been selected. We would have a disclosure meeting the following week where we’d receive information about the child’s history and his needs. We knew next to nothing about him, but we knew he had a story, one written onto his heart and his body if not his conscious mind. It was a story that included two months of doctors, nurses, social workers and even volunteer ‘cuddlers’, but began months earlier in his mother’s womb, and centuries before that with his ancestors. We knew so little, but one thing we were clear about: our task was as much to honor this child’s story as it would be to care for him.

The F Word: a Foster to Adopt Story screens at  Frameline June 18th and June 20th and streams on PBS Digital Studios in the Fall. On Twitter/Instagram/Facebook @thefwordseries.

Family-Friendly Pride Events, Extended Bay Area Edition!

Folks, it’s Pride-a-palooza time! A month filled with opportunities to connect with other LGBTQ families, as the (school-aged) kids finish off the school year and the summer busts into view.

Below are a dozen family-friendly events you can attend to get your pride on with your little ones. Have fun!


A’s Pride Night

June 6
Oakland Coliseum,
7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
7pm-9pm

More info / Register now!

 

 



San Mateo Pride

June 10
San Mateo Central Park,
50 East 5th Ave, San Mateo
12pm-4pm

More info / Register now!

 

 

 

LGBQIA Pride Storytime

June 10
Ortega Branch Library, 3223 Ortega St.,
San Francisco

12:00pm-1:30pm

Visit the library for a special family storytime and craft project celebrating LGBTQIA Pride and all kinds of families. The program will be aimed at kids and families from preschool to age 8, but everyone is welcome. No registration is necessary, just show up. Email maggie.frankel@sfpl.org if you have any questions.


Queer Women of Color Film Festival

June 10-11
Brava Theater Center,
2789 24th St, San Francisco

Childcare at closing night screening

More info / Register now!

 

 

 

City of El Cerrito Loving Day Celebration

June 11
El Cerrito City Hall Civic Plaza, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
12:00pm-3:00pm

Loving Day honors the anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, the case that overturned the ban on interracial marriage. This FREE event will have activities for the whole family, including music, arts and crafts, photo booth fun, and a free screening of the documentary “The Loving Story.” More info at el-cerrito.org/lovingday.

Drag Queen Story Hour!

June 17
Bernal Heights Branch Library, 500 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco
12:00pm

RADAR Productions and SFPL present Drag Queen Story Hour. Join us for a unique and unforgettable story hour with special guest Yves St. Croissant! Includes face painting, songs and more! For children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. Please call 415-355-5618 or email paula.heaney@sfpl.org  for more information.


Frameline Family Matinee: “The Lego Movie”

June 18
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St.,
San Francisco

10:30am

More info / Register now!

 

Frameline Family Interest
Movie: “The F Word”

June 18
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St.,
San Francisco

1:30pm

June 20
Elmwood Theater, 2966 College Ave,
Berkeley

7:00pm

More info / Register now!

 


Coming Up Queer

June 18
Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St.,
San Francisco

1:30pm

More info / Register now!


Trans March

June 23
Hellen Diller Playground,
Dolores Park, 19th St. at
Dolores St., San Francisco

Family Activities 2-5pm,
March 6pm

More info / Register now!

 
Dyke March
Playground Brunch

June 24
Hellen Diller Playground,
Dolores Park, 19th St. at
Dolores St., San Francisco

10am-12pm

More info / Register now!

 

 

 

Drag Queen Story Hour!

June 24
Dimond Recreation Center
3860 Hanly Rd., Oakland
10:30am

Celebrate Pride weekend at the Oakland debut of Drag Queen Story Hour, with face painting, cookies – and stories and songs led by Black Benatar! Black Benatar thinks kids are the best and loves reading books to them that celebrate lgbtq and multicultural families and identities.

More info / Register now!


SF LGBTQ Pride Parade & Family Garden

June 25

LOWER MARKET STREET AREA, STEP-OFF BLOCK TBA

March in the LGBTQ Family Contingent at the SF Pride Parade! Our precise gathering time and block are TBA; watch out website for details in mid-June.

CIVIC CENTER PLAZA PLAYGROUND,
CORNER OF POLK ST. AND McALLISTER RIGHT IN FRONT OF CITY HALL

Join in fun art activities, face painting, and more at the Family Garden, open from 11am – 4pm.

More info / Register now!


Celebrate Pride Month by Using Your Health Insurance

#Out2Enroll
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, Burbank

The Affordable Care Act has made a significant difference in the lives of millions of LGBTQ individuals and families. Millions of LGBTQ people across the country have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Many have gotten health insurance for the first time, gotten covered as a family for the first time, received financial help to make coverage more affordable, and accessed covered health services, including transition-related care, for the first time. Use Pride month to show that the Affordable Care Act is working for our communities and to push back against Congress’ efforts to repeal or weaken the law. Learn more at out2enroll.org.

 


Rainbow Storytime

June 25
Merced Branch Library, 155 Winston Dr.,
San Francisco

2:00pm – 2:30pm

Join the library for a special family storytime celebrating LGBTQIA Pride. Email kimberly.lauer@sfpl.org for more information.

 

 

Gender Odyssey Los Angeles

June 28-20
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, Burbank

Gender Odyssey Los Angeles is a two-day conference for Professionals seeking to advance their understanding of gender diversity and transgender identities in children, teens, and adults. Leading experts will offer sessions covering gender identity across the lifespan and life experience. Programming is targeted toward medical and behavioral health care providers, teachers and school administrators, social workers, care givers and guardians, attorneys, employers and recruiters, government employees, and students preparing for these professions. Offering CEUs for California Fiduciaries & Guardians and CMEs (pending approval). More info on the Gender Odyssey site.

 


Save the Date:
Family Pride Day at
Habitot

July 30
2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley
10am-1pm

 



Save the Date:
Oakland Pride & Family Garden

September 10

5 Reasons I Give to Our Family Coalition: Ali Cannon

Ali CannonWe recently spoke with Ali Canon, former OFC Board member, about why he supports Our Family Coalition, and why he urges others to as well.  What follows is an edited version of that conversation.

Ali will be at our upcoming Night Out gala fundraiser next Friday evening, May 12. Join us there, and continue this conversation with Ali in person!

1. OFC helps me and my family feel reflected. One of the biggest reasons that I’ve given to OFC all these years – my time, financially, as a family, my wife and I, with my own involvement – is that as a transgender dad, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to see myself reflected in the world. As a parent, and particularly as a transgender parent – even within the world of queer parents – it’s still a relatively small minority of folks that have a parallel identity to mine and our family. So knowing that OFC is supporting my family in concrete, programmatic ways makes all the difference.

2. OFC engages in powerful, transformative work in the schools.  I’m super passionate about the education work of OFC. I’m an educator, married to a principal. I came up through the public schools, and my family have been middle and high school teachers; I know the impact of OFC’s work in schools. And I think educational work is significantly about institutional change. Educators who are wanting to do LGBT-inclusive work need the kind of resources that OFC provides, so they can support schools and districts. The evidence shows that doing ‘welcoming and inclusive schools’ work in fact makes schools safer. Finally that data has arisen: when there are multiple interventions in place – the curriculum, the supportive staff, the outreach to parent communities – all those things make schools safer. The same goes for the presence of secondary-level things like GSAs, and student groups that are also engaged in supporting queer students and allies. To me, OFC is a leader in that work, and it still remains fairly dangerous and risky to do that work at the elementary school level. And that’s where OFC has located itself for years now, making significant inroads in the Bay Area and other parts of California. Thanks in part to OFC’s advocacy, we’re now seeing the arrival of the FAIR Education Act. OFC has been at the table helping determine what that curriculum looks like. It’s going to roll out in schools soon, and that’s huge. It will lead other states to consider what that could look like for them. And that’s good news.

3. OFC as an organization has grown and evolved along with our movement. In going on nine years of involvement with the organization, I’ve seen significant growth. And that makes me more excited to remain involved. Growth in the organization has increased capacity, which has turned into policy work that we now stand for. That engagement capacity, that collaboration capacity, increases the visibility of the work that we do. For instance: when we got involved with the marriage equality campaign, we worked to keep families visible, and at the table there. And now LGBTQ families are part of the national marriage equality conversation. That wasn’t so when marriage equality work got started, and it’s also under great threat with our current administration.

The work that OFC does can’t go away. Supporting OFC at Night Out is an amazing opportunity to celebrate that work, and to guarantee that it will keep going strong through the tough times ahead.

4. The backlash to all our gains is real, and OFC needs the support to counter it. We’ve made institutional change, which is great. But when institutional change occurs in the community, that’s when you see backlash. One of Trump’s first (successful) initiatives was removing Obama’s protections of transgender students in school. Now states can formally discriminate against transgender students, or gender nonconforming students, and jeopardize their safety. Students in the Bay Area are experiencing horrific racist and anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attacks; gender nonconforming and transgender students are experiencing microaggressions and more blatant forms of transphobia because of that action. The good news is that educators in many places, even the most conservative ones, want to make their schools safe. They’re invested in that. Are there are also people that are not there for all kids? Absolutely, and those are unsafe schools and districts. The Trump administration is giving people who harbor hatred, who function from a place of hatred and have been waiting for a “green light,” to go for it. Young people attacking one another; adults attacking young people; adults attacking other adults. That’s how I see it: a green light on violent response to institutional change. Which in a way is why we have the regime that we have: people are pissed about that change; they’re afraid, and they’re hateful.

5. OFC continues to show up for families who are at the margins.  I’m proud of the work that OFC does, and I’m proud of the kind of opportunities that OFC creates for individual families, unlike mine, who have less access to power and privilege. My privilege as a middle class white man is not lessened because of my transition. I’m aware that my family has a lot of access that other families who are much more marginalized don’t – whether they’re people of color, in low-income communities, or are immigrant families. I’m proud of the amount of ways that OFC is supporting families who don’t  have the ability to navigate different systems of support – whether those are education or health or neighborhood supports – and I think that’s really vital.  Now more than ever, we have to keep fighting and celebrating the institutional change that we, particularly in California, have achieved.  Organizations like OFC are the ones who have given us those wins.  We have to lead the way for the states that are going to be really vulnerable, we have to help protect the most at-risk people. That includes families, LGBT students and allies, everyone that wants to make communities and schools safe. The work that OFC does can’t go away. Supporting OFC at Night Out is an amazing opportunity to celebrate that work, and to guarantee that it will keep going strong through the tough times ahead.

Our Family Coalition Celebrates 21 Years Advocating for LGBTQ Families at Night Out Gala

SAN FRANCISCOOn Friday, May 12, 2017, Our Family Coalition (OFC), California’s premier LGBTQ family organization, brings together 400 attendees for a Night Out to celebrate the organization’s 21 years of advocacy, education, and community-building. The gala event includes elected officials, corporate sponsors, community partners and major donors, many of whom are LGBT people with children.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee will receive the Notable Ally Award at the gala.  Lee, long one of the Bay Area’s fiercest voices in Washington, serves as Vice-Chair and Founding Member of the LGBT Equality Caucus and Co-Founder & Co-Chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus.

President of AT&T California Ken McNeely will receive the Luminary Award. McNeely, who lives with his husband and two children in San Francisco, is leading the way in the private sector. He was the first openly gay officer of AT&T, and serves on the Officer Advisory Board for AT&T’s LGBT and allied Employee Resource Group, the oldest LGBT employee resource group in the nation.  

San Francisco attorney Charlie Spiegel will receive the Groundbreaker Award for his lifelong advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ families. Spiegel helped co-found Our Family Coalition as it formed from the merger of two Bay Area LGBTQ family organizations. He has also served as Board Member and Co-Chair for Lambda Legal, and as a longtime organizer of Gay Future Dads.

“At 21 years old this year, Our Family Coalition is all grown up,” says OFC’s first Executive Director of color Renata Moreira. “We’re more than ready to meet the challenges facing LGBT families under the Trump administration. This event gives us a chance to celebrate our resilience, take pride in where we’ve been, and generate energy for our next, bold, intersectional steps forward.”

“I am honored Congresswoman Barbara Lee will be there and honored as well–though I am more likely the ‘as well,’” jokes honoree Spiegel.  “Michelle Meow is the usually hilarious political comic MC.  The work I’m being recognized for has been about helping make sure LGBT couples are included fully in family law settings.  That work goes hand-in-hand with the number of LGBT families who OFC has supported in coming and being out, being legally protected, and thereby changing the political landscape for marriage equality.  That work is now redoubled by OFC and all of us.”

Now in its 9th year, Night Out has established itself as the only event exclusively supporting LGBT families with children in the Bay Area. The general public is warmly invited to this adults only event. Tickets are on sale now at ourfamily.org/give-back/night-out.

Press inquiries may be directed to Polly Pagenhart, Policy & Communications Director

California Congresswoman Barbara Lee will be honored at Our Family Coalition’s 9th Annual NIGHT OUT Gala on May 12th, 2017 at 6pm at the Intercontinental San Francisco. Lee will be awarded the Notable Ally Award for her work in Congress supporting pro-LGBTQ measures and those that promote equality and fairness for our families and our community. She has been hailed as one of the most pro-gay U.S Representatives in Congress, for good reason.

Congresswoman Lee was educated locally at Mills College, where she served as the president of the Black Student Union, all while raising her two sons. Her participation in the community–through small business and community organizing–propelled her political career. She served in the California State Assembly from 1990 to 1996, during which time she authored numerous bills, including the California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act in 1995.

In 1998 she was elected to serve California’s 9th Congressional District (which is now the13th). She has continued to use her position as a change maker and ally for the LGBTQ community. In Congress last year on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,  she said:

Unfortunately, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination against the LGBT community can still be found in communities across our nation and around the world. Whether it is in the form of hatred, exclusion, bigotry or violence, no form of discrimination should be acceptable in our society. No one should ever feel unsafe in their school, community or home because of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.  Ensuring the safety and health of our LGBT family, friends and neighbors should be our highest priority.

Just a few of the bills she has sponsored and co-sponsored bills include the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Act of 2011, the Respect for Marriage Act, Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2011, and the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011. These bills, among many others, show the outstanding commitment to justice that has marked her career.

Please join us on May 12th, 2017 in honoring Congresswoman Lee with the Notable Ally Award.

photo credit: Adam Bouska, 2012

What Are the LGBTQ Impacts of the New GOP ACA Repeal Proposal?

Guest post by Amanda Wallner, Director, California LGBT Health & Human Services Network

On March 6, House Republicans released their plan to deliver on campaign promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act and roll back decades of progress in health care. This proposal would undermine the Medi-Cal expansion and Covered California – two programs that expanded access to health care for over 6 million Californians. Not only that, but the proposal includes a cut of $15-20 billion for Medi-Cal and raises copays and deductibles while reducing financial help to pay for premiums and cost sharing for those who purchase their insurance through Covered California; both of these proposals hit low- and middle-income Californians hardest. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet analyzed the proposal– and Republicans in Congress are trying to rush a vote before they have a chance to – however, the likely result is that millions of Californians may go without health insurance once again, and those who maintain coverage could see a dramatic drop in quality.

Three of the top things to know for LGBTQ Californians are:

∙   This proposal disproportionately hurts LGBTQ Californians. The health care gains under the ACA were particularly impactful for LGBTQ people, who are more likely to live in poverty and were less likely to have health insurance or a regular provider. The proposed bill includes tens of billions of dollars in cuts to Medi-Cal and Covered California, making health insurance a luxury that may once again be out of reach for many LGBTQ people.

∙   Planned Parenthood is an important provider of health care for LGBTQ Californians, providing culturally competent sexual health, preventative, and transition-related care throughout the state. The current proposal singles out Planned Parenthood and eliminates reimbursements for care they provide – effectively preventing people from getting their care at Planned Parenthood (see more here).

∙   The proposal threatens to stop, and even reverse, the progress we’ve made at addressing LGBTQ health disparities. Thanks to the ACA, many more LGBTQ Californians have access to health care; including cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing, substance use treatment, and other preventative care that are helping to close LGBTQ health disparities. Losing coverage threatens the health equity gains that we’ve made over the past several decades.

For more updates, you can follow the California LGBT Health & Human Services Network on Facebook and Twitter, or visit the website at CaliforniaLGBTHealth.org/.

Resources:

∙   NCTE: Repealing Obamacare would be devastating for transgender Americans

∙   Health Access: The House Republican Proposal Costs More and Covers Less

∙   Planned Parenthood: The Impact of Defunding Planned Parenthood

∙   Families USA: Healthy and Wealthy Benefit under the House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act Repeal Plan

∙   Fenway Institute: LGBT People and Those Living with HIV Have Benefitted from ACA, Have Much at Stake in Reform Debate

∙   You can read the full bill here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/news-center/press-releases/energy-and-commerce-republicans-release-legislation-repeal-and-replace

Take Action:

∙   Call your member of Congress at (202) 224-3121 or visit a local district office and demand that health coverage be affordable and accessible to all.

∙   Share your story about how the ACA has helped you.

∙   Attend an event! If you would like assistance planning an event for your community, or to help with any of the events below, you can email me at awallner@health-access.org.

∙   Share a call to action on Facebook, Twitter, and with your email lists:

Tell Congress: Do not vote to repeal health care!

About the author: Amanda Wallner serves as Director of The California LGBT Health and Human Services Network, a statewide coalition of non-profit providers, community centers, and researchers working collectively to advocate for state-level policies and resources to advance LGBT health and wellness, as part of the movement for LGBT equality.

 

Virtual Town Hall for Trans Student Rights: #ShowUp4TransYouth

Dear Families,

This afternoon the Trump administration rescinded guidance the Department of Justice had provided schools on recognizing and protecting transgender students. This further demonstrates their intention to roll back all of the pro-LGBT gains we have achieved over the years.

Together we have fought and won too many recent legal battles to turn back now. And fortunately we’re not alone: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued a statement reiterating protection of trans students as a core value:

All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment. California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration.

If we remain informed and vigilant, this footnote in history will not deter us. Tomorrow our partners at the GSA Network and Transgender Law Center are bringing together trans youth leaders, community leaders, legal experts, and allies from across the country to discuss the effects of this rollback and what will be needed to ensure our safety as LGBTQ families.

Please join us to hear what’s next for trans student advocacy.

What: Virtual Town Hall on Transgender Student Rights
When: Thursday, February 23rd at 2:00PM Pacific
Webinar link: bit.ly/ShowUp4TransKids

And as always, when your time is limited but your resources are less so: please donate what you can to support the organizations that support our families. Everything we do together makes a difference.

In solidarity and strength,
Our Family Coalition

PS: The Dept of Justice can be reached at 202-514-2000 and the Dept of Education at 800-872-5327. Demand that Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos protect the rights of ALL students, including gender creative and transgender students, today!

Anti-LGBT Executive Order – Action Alert

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Dear beloved community,

As you may have heard, we are expecting an extremely destructive anti-LGBT Executive Order to be issued by the Trump/Pence regime any moment now. Under the guise of “religious freedom,” this order would not just legalize, but incentivize discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, families, women seeking health care, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples!

We know that nothing about this order would contribute to the stability of families or make children – of LGBTQ parents or not – more secure. And we will fight like hell to challenge their relentless attacks against LGBT families and other targeted communities. Our Family Coalition is already working with our legal partners to prepare for a lawsuit against the Trump administration, as an organizational plaintiff, for the first time in our history, due to the far-reaching impact on our community.

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But our small team is completely stretched to meet the various advocacy demands and we need your help to continue organizing on the ground, at the state level and to be at national tables representing LGBTQ families. Will you join forces with us? Here are a few steps you and those who love and support your family can take:

  1. Join Our Family Coalition’s Speakers’ Bureau. We are looking to identify LGBT parents/caregivers and children/youth of LGBT parents who can volunteer to speak to the press, share their stories (via multiple mediums) and boost our capacity to speak the truth to power!

  2. Donate what you can to Our Family Coalition, and encourage your friends to do the same! We are fighting for same-sex couples and all LGBT families right now, and are preparing for an even bigger fight (if that’s possible) pending lawsuits. We need your support to raise 30K as soon as possible to hire a field organizer.

  3. Support a local action. Our Family Coalition will be representing at both the Oakland and San Francisco rallies. Exact dates will depend on when the executive order comes out. Check the Facebook pages for the most up to date info.

  4. Join Senator Kamala Harris in rejecting Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary: her long record funding anti-LGBTQ hate groups, who specifically call out trans people as unfit to teach kids, makes her one of our most pointed adversaries.

  5. Sign and generously share Transgender Law Center’s petition opposing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the (stolen) Supreme Court seat. His record shows he would vigorously support a narrow, conservative Christian re-interpretation of our laws, enshrining discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ people.

As many have said: we don’t all have to do everything, but we all are called now to do something. And as you act, in any way you are able, know that we are right there with you, fueled by a shared belief in the power of love and our common values of fairness and justice for all.

Yours in the struggle,

Renata Moreira

Interim Executive Director, Our Family Coalition