Guest Opinion: Proud to Fight for Bodily Autonomy | Guest Commentary | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Guest Opinion: Proud to Fight for Bodily Autonomy 

We know that the fights for LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights and racial justice are linked.

At Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, we know that the fights for LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights and racial justice are linked. We believe that all people deserve basic human rights — including access to health care—and to live free from violence and discrimination.

The LGBTQ+ community, with its storied history of resistance, knows all too well the kind of brutality we're witnessing across the country right now. The Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern LGBTQ+ movement in 1969 and the first Pride march 50 years ago this month, were led in part by transgender women of color in protest of state-sanctioned violence by police toward LGBTQ+ people. 
At the time of Stonewall, institutionalized discrimination against LGBTQ+ people was the norm. Despite the strides made toward equality since then, LGBTQ+ people are still denied access to basic needs such as housing, health care and employment — and the ability to raise their families and live their most authentic lives. This is even more acute for Black LGBTQ+ people who continue to face oppression and violence at the intersections of systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia.

PPCW stands in solidarity with protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement, including Black LGBTQ+ people, whose health and lives are most at risk. To dismantle systemic racism, we must stand in solidarity with protesters demanding change through uprisings and demonstrations.

Full bodily autonomy is the ability to make personal decisions about one's body with dignity and without judgment—as well as the freedom to live without the policing of your livelihood. If Black people do not have the right to bodily autonomy to live their daily lives—or protest the deep racism of American culture—without fear of violence or murder, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.

We also must dismantle the structural inequities that deter LGBTQ+ people from seeking and receiving timely proper care. LGBTQ+ people of color in particular experience higher rates of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and HIV—and are more likely to be uninsured and unable to afford care.
click to enlarge Liliana Cabrera, education and outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette's Bend Health Center. - LILIANA CABRERA
  • Liliana Cabrera
  • Liliana Cabrera, education and outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette's Bend Health Center.

PPCW's Bend Health Center is proud to provide health care that's inclusive and respectful of all genders. We are an essential and irreplaceable provider of hormone therapy and sexual and reproductive health care to LGBTQ+ people, especially in areas outside of major cities where we are often the only provider doing this work. To help ease barriers to access during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients can now access care by phone, video or in person. Our goal is to make every person who comes to us feel welcome, safe and cared for while providing the best possible care—no matter what.

This Pride Month, we are with you in solidarity, protest and pride. And we redouble our commitment to building a world in which everyone can access basic human rights—including health care—and live free from violence and discrimination.

—Liliana Cabrera, education and outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood
 Columbia Willamette's Bend Health Center. For more information visit ppcw.org.
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