As we enter LGBTQ Pride Month 2021, we can look forward to uniting together in more celebrations. Thanks to vaccination efforts, New York City and other areas are experiencing their lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in several months. Capacity limits and curfews have been lifted in many places, allowing people to gather together again.
While we’re celebrating, let’s recommit to issues that are important to the LGBTQ community, including access to life-changing, gender-affirming health care.
The Importance of Gender-Affirming Health Care
Not only does gender-affirming care improve mental health, it also engages people in primary care and sexual health services that help prevent new HIV infections. Studies have shown that gender-affirming surgery among transgender people living with HIV is linked to achieving viral suppression, while a recent study found that unmet surgical needs and inability to access hormone therapy are associated with interruptions in HIV treatment.
To date, Amida Care has helped more than 1,100 transgender members access gender-affirming surgery. Of our transgender members living with HIV, 93% are virally suppressed. Amida Care also assists transgender members who are HIV negative with accessing highly effective HIV prevention tools like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Alarmingly, Arkansas recently passed a law banning gender-affirming care for people of transgender experience under the age of 18. This type of legislation could have a devastating impact on the health of the transgender community and on efforts to end the HIV epidemic, as Amida Care’s President and CEO Doug Wirth detailed in a recent interview with A&U Magazine.
Clearly, there is much more work to do. In good news, the Biden-Harris administration recently announced a reinstatement of health care protections for transgender and non-binary Americans, reversing the previous administration’s policy. It will also be crucial to pass the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identification at the federal level. The bill passed the House, and now your support is needed: urge your Senators to pass the Equality Act Now!
Pride 2021 Events
Pride is a celebration of life, resilience, and equality. There are several events doing just that this year.
- Brooklyn Pride kicks off on Thursday, June 10 at 7 pm with Virtual Drag Bingo with Jackie from Screaming Queens.
- Bronx Pride kicks off on Saturday, June 12 with a street festival on Alexander Avenue.
- On Sunday, June 13 at 8 pm, The Dragon Sisters and Amida Care present The Big NYC Pride Party at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn. Fully vaccinated people can purchase tickets for the in-person event here, or you can watch the event live online for free here.
- Amida Care is also a sponsor of the Stonewall Community Foundation 2021 Vision Awards, streaming live on Thursday, June 17 at 7 pm. This year’s honorees include Oscar-nominated actor/singer Andra Day and actor/social justice advocate Colman Domingo.
- On Friday, June 25, at 6 pm, community activists, organizers, artists and more will hold a Virtual Rally to advocate for change on NYC Pride’s Facebook and YouTube.
- On Saturday, June 26, NYC Pride’s virtual event for teens, Youth Pride, will feature guest appearances by influencers and activists, musical and dance performances, and more. Amida Care is thrilled to partner with NYC Pride and Trinity Place Shelter to present a special virtual watch party to support young people celebrating Pride.
- On Sunday, June 27, PrideFest is back with its annual LGBTQ street fair in Greenwich Village, featuring exhibitors, entertainers, food and activities for a day of fun and celebration in the name of equality. Also on Sunday, the virtual NYC Pride March broadcast will return for its fifth consecutive year, featuring live performances and interviews. The special broadcast, starring Grand Marshals Wilson Cruz, Ceyenne Doroshow, Menaka Guruswamy, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis and Aaron Rose Philip, will air on ABC-7 from 12 to 3 pm ET as well on ABC7NY.com and on streaming platforms.
Click here for a list of more NYC Pride events.