Since I came out—over a decade ago, which was about the same time I started doing reproductive justice work—my straight friends have asked me why, as a lesbian, I care so much about abortion rights.
For a long time, I couldn’t answer their question with anything more than: I’m a lesbian; I’m a feminist; I’m pro-choice. It is who I am and what I believe is right and so why wouldn’t I fight for abortion rights for everyone?
However, after a while I started pondering this question more deliberately, and going to conferences and lectures on this very topic. I learned how legal theory and feminist theory explain why choice issues are also queer issues. I talked with other queer people in the reproductive justice movement about their experiences. And I started to develop my own understanding of the intersection of these two worlds, which for me personally, comes down to three things;
1. Autonomy over my body and family choices;
2. Societal judgment about—and the media’s portrayal of—my sexual behavior; and
3. Access to the healthcare I need and deserve.
The work I do at my day job at GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality and the work of the Reproductive Health Access Project both address this last point, specifically. To me, healthcare is a human right, and access to healthcare shows that society values your existence. Denying access to healthcare—whether it is a Pap smear, HIV treatment, emergency care, transition hormones, or abortion care—is a symbol of inequality. Women and LGBT people—as well as a lot of other communities in the US—don’t have access to the healthcare they need and deserve.
The Reproductive Health Access Project works to integrate reproductive health, including contraceptive and abortion care, into primary care because it shouldn’t be marginalized: it is basic healthcare. By training and empowering primary care physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses to provide reproductive healthcare, RHAP ensures that they can provide all of our healthcare. And as a lesbian, I’m proud to support RHAP as they work to increase access…and increase equality.
– Emily Kane-Lee, MA is a long-time supporter of the Reproductive Health Access Project. She joined RHAP’s Board of Directors in 2012.