Queering Reproductive Justice

Headshot of Aliya Bean, 2018-2019 Victory Congressional FellowVictory Institute’s 2018-2019 David Bohnett Victory Congressional Fellow, Aliya Bean, explores reproductive health care policy in the LGBTQ community in, “Queering Reproductive Justice: How to Ensure LGBTQ Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care at the Federal Level”.

LGBTQ individuals face disproportionate barriers to reproductive health care and in order to reduce inequities in LGBTQ reproductive health care access, Aliya recommends the following policy solutions:

  • Repealing the Hyde Amendment
  • Funding Title X and Eliminating the Domestic Gag Rule
  • Full Access to Contraceptive Options
  • Safeguarding the Affordable Care Act’s LGBTQ Protections and Gender-Affirming Care

Aliya shared the recommendations of her white paper in a policy briefing titled, “LGBTQ Reproductive Justice on the Federal Level.” During the briefing, attended by about 80 people, Aliya introduced why reproductive justice is an LGBTQ issue and presented the four necessary federal policy steps to ensure inclusive, comprehensive, and affordable sexual and reproductive health for LGBTQ people. A panel of LGBTQ reproductive justice experts, consisting of Candace Bond-Theriault of the National LGBTQ Task Force, Danielle Hurd-Wilson of URGE, and Luc Athayde-Rizzaro of the National Center for Transgender Equality, shared insight into the barriers that LGBTQ individuals face when seeking comprehensive reproductive health care.

A picture from the back of the Congressional Briefing that shows the panel and crowd

Key statements from the day touched upon transgender health care, LGBTQ income levels, and stigma:

“Almost 2/10 [transgender patients] seeking reproductive healthcare had an issue with their insurance coverage, because for a lot of people, even if they have insurance, the insurance might deny health care that they consider to be ‘sex-specific,’ so they may say, ‘Oh, you’re listed as male, why would you need a pap smear?’” – Luc Athayde-Rizzaro

“Your income shouldn’t determine your reproductive health and the reproductive services you’re allowed to receive.” -Candace Bond-Theriault

“We need to reduce specific stigmas, such as queer women who are in partnerships with other women being told, ‘Oh, well, you don’t need to be on birth control because you can’t get pregnant,’ … or queer men who are in relationships with other men being told, ‘Oh, well you can’t get your partner pregnant,’ because apparently trans people don’t exist in this world.” -Danielle Hurd-Wilson

Each panelist brought their expertise to the topic and discussed the intersections between LGBTQ identity, race, income and health access and how that limits access to health care and doctors that understand LGBTQ issues.

Last July, Aliya started as the Legislative Aide for the LGBT Equality Caucus, but quickly assumed the role of interim executive director for six months until the position was filled. Aliya culminated her yearlong experience with the white paper and policy briefing, showcasing the skills she gained during her tenure as the David Bohnett Victory Congressional Fellow.

Aliya will begin a Masters in Public Policy program at University of Chicago this Fall. Congratulations on an amazing year, Aliya, and good luck!

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