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FROM READERS: Planned Parenthood honors LGBT pride month in June

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Kristin Metcalf-Wilson is the lead nurse practitioner for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and an assistant teaching professor at MU. She wrote this in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, which is this month.

In the 45 years since the Stonewall riots — where the modern LGBTQ movement was born — we’ve seen extraordinary progress on LGBTQ rights in this country, including last year’s overturning of part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the 2011 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

This progress is rooted in the same principles that underlie reproductive rights: that politicians should not get to decide what you do with your body or what your family looks like, and that rights in this country should not depend on the state you live in.

We at Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri believe that reproductive rights are deeply connected to civil rights for all Americans. We have long stood with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the struggle for full equality — many of whom turn to Planned Parenthood for health care, information and education.

Members of the LGBTQ community face greater obstacles to obtaining and benefiting from sexual and reproductive health services than non-LGBTQ people. In addition to high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination — which has been shown to effect physical and mental health — LGBTQ people face low rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of HIV/AIDS and cancer, and high rates of discrimination from medical providers. LGBTQ people of color are at an even higher risk for these disparities.

This is why each of our 7 health centers throughout Kansas and Missouri welcome LGBTQ patients.

While this country has seen significant strides in the LGBTQ movement in recent years, there is still work to be done. PPKM vows continued support for any future legislative efforts that will allow for greater access to health care and information for the LGBTQ community in our communities.

At PPKM we realize that our incredible patients and supporters don't comprise any one identity, and we're grateful for the many volunteers, staff, and supporters of all genders and identities who work every day to ensure that people in Kansas and Mid-Missouri get the health care and information they need.

This year, 45 years after the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement at Stonewall, we are committed now more than ever to fighting for LGBTQ rights. We know the only way we can move forward — all of us together — is by standing side by side.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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