May 18, 2020

LGBTQ+ Global News ~ May 2020

Congratulations are in order!

Many congratulations to our LGBTQ+ Caucus Advocacy and Community Outreach Coordinator, Juan Cerda (Vice-Chair, Austria) who was elected as an EMEA regional at-large delegate (for Joe Biden) to the Global Convention!

Finland’s First Gay Couples Adopt Infants

Family equality moves forward in Finland

A major milestone has occurred for LGBTQIA+ rights in Finland. According to a Finnish tabloid “Ilta-Sanomat,” the first official cases of LGBTQIA+ couple adoptions have taken place. The LGBTQ organization Sateenkaariperheet ry (Rainbow families) announced that two same-sex couples, one male and one female couple, each adopted infants. Both couples are from Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Since 2007, both commercial and altruistic surrogacy has been illegal in Finland, making adoption particularly significant for gay male couples. Executive Director Juha Jämsä told Ilta-Sanoma, "Adoption is especially significant for gay male couples, a new way into parenthood." Jämsa also noted that male couples previously had exceptionally limited options for starting a family. He also noted that adoption will become the most common way for same-sex couples to have children, along with foster parenting.

Image courtesy of Lucas Coch/EPA

May 17th: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

It is time to break the silence

Throughout our lives, many of us must hide our gender identity or sex characteristics. We wander through our lives, feeling ashamed of who we are, or we feel isolated. It is time to break the silence. On May 17th, join thousands from around the world in celebrating International Day against Homo-, Trans- and Biphobia. We are breaking the silence. Our lived realities matter. We must share our stories and make our voices heard. We must come together to make some “noise” so our LGBTQI++ family around the world can enthusiastically rise in solidarity. This is not a singular day campaign; this is a movement. We will stand together with one vision. Shout out on your social media, plan a virtual hangout, organize a movie, etc. Be creative, as this is your voice and OUR day. Create your own memes, posters, etc. The logo above was created especially for May 17, 2020.

As COVID-19 shutters San Francisco, thousands of LGBTQIA+ residents could lose healthcare access, due to relocation of facility 

Without urgent action from the city, clinics serving vulnerable, low-income populations will remain open through at least July 1st

While COVID-19 ravages the world, many neighborhoods are forced to shelter-in-place, families are without income, and social distancing has become the new normal. Many businesses are seeking government bailouts and some businesses are returning aid priced at $20 million. However, places like the Lyon-Martin Health Services and The Women’s Community Clinic (LMHS-WCC) in San Francisco, California are facing permanent closures or relocations due to lack of funding. Due to public support and funding, the facilities will remain open at least through July.

“City funding is going to help keep the Lyon-Martin open through July… "In addition to providing existing services out of the clinic, Lyon-Martin will continue to provide services to support the city's COVID-response work," Legislative Aid Erin Mundy said during a call with Bay Area Reporting.

The LMHS-WCC faces a 90% service reduction and near-total staff layoffs. The clinic has remains open, providing low-income queer and trans people and cisgender women with access to both routine health services and COVID-19 testing. Patients of the LMHS-WCC fear the closure of the clinic, as they have nowhere to go.

Without $1.4 million in emergency funding from the city and county of San Francisco, Lyon-Martin and The Women’s Community Clinic will lose their dedicated Mission Street location. In February 2020, parent organization “HealthRIGHT 360” announced a plan to consolidate the clinics into their headquarters, reducing patients from 3,000 to 300 yearly, which would reduce available annual appointments from over 10,000 to under 720 and would likely result in 2,700 patients having to find care elsewhere.

This would severely compromise access to hormone replacement therapy, mental health services, abortion care, primary care, and COVID-19 testing access for thousands of San Francisco’s most vulnerable. Many patients rely on the safety of a trans-competent, gender-inclusive environment.

LMHS-WCC is a 40-year-old community institution. They serve 65% queer and trans individuals, and 60% of patients are people of color. Half of these people live below the federal poverty line. The clinic is also a driving force for national progress on trans healthcare: its staff testified in landmark cases to help incarcerated trans women access necessary care, worked on economic assessments to persuade Medi-Cal to cover gender-affirming surgeries, and created a national hotline to advise doctors treating trans patients around the country. Only Lyon-Martin provides gender-affirming abortion care for trans men and nonbinary people. The loss of Lyon-Martin would undoubtedly affect the trajectory of trans-healthcare in the United States. 

Days before San Francisco’s shelter-in-place orders, patients, community members, and staff — who had recently unionized with SEIU 1021 — organized a rally to save both clinics. Supporters continue to urge city officials to invest in community health by meeting to discuss emergency funding options. In the heat of the pandemic, staff organizers await a response from Mayor Breed’s office. Please contact Mayor Breed’s office and ask her for her continued support.