Op-Ed

President Trump and Congressional Republicans recently gathered in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of legislation that will cause 14-million people to lose their health-care coverage next year. This would be the largest one-year decline in health-care coverage in our nation’s recorded history, which begs the question of what exactly there is to celebrate.

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Sometimes it feels easy to answer the question “What is SEXx?” “It’s community events we do throughout the year on sex and sexuality,” I often reply. But that reply doesn’t fully capture our work.

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Recently, gospel recording artist Kim Burrell was filmed giving a “homophobic” sermon at the Love and Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston. In this sermon, Burrell refers to “the perverted homosexual spirit.” Shirley Caesar, another well-known gospel singer and evangelist, recently defended Burrell by saying, “Kim should’ve spoken out against homosexuality four years ago, before the president made that stuff alright.”

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 Her bright blue eyes stared at me from across the fluorescently lit Target aisle. She had a bright pink bow wrapped around her bald head. Her little hands seemed to be reaching out to me. I ran down the aisle, carefully took her off the shelf, and ran to my mother. I cried and begged until my mother finally agreed to buy her for me. Doll in hand, I left Target feeling elated. 

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As a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist, my day-to-day work, and indeed my passion, is to help individuals and couples alike start or grow their families through fertility treatment. As a gay physician, a particularly satisfying aspect of my job is working with LGBT patients who otherwise may not be able to have their own biological children. With the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which protects the fundamental right to same-sex marriage, taking effect just over a year ago, a natural progression from working to ensure the legal status of gay marriage to improving access to options for gay parenting has begun. 

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Early in the morning of June 12, 2016, the LGBTQ community was targeted. A deranged individual walked into Pulse nightclub in Orlando with a weapon of war and the intent to kill as many members and allies of our LGBTQ community as possible. Fifty-three people were injured; 49 others were killed, including 18-year-old Akyra Murray from Philadelphia. Akyra was out enjoying a night with her cousin and friend when her life was cut short by a hate-filled man who should never have had access to the military-style weapon he used. Akyra had just graduated from West Catholic High School. She was getting ready to start college and play basketball at Mercyhurst University in Erie. She was the youngest of the 49 killed that night.

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Conversational space when it comes to issues of racial bias always seems to be co-opted by white cis-gender activists using a momentous issue to elevate their voice above the voices of black and brown community members, who they often identify as having oppositional politics or simplistic diatribes. It is a point of privilege to enter this conversation on race.

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