Queering Reproductive Justice: The Intersection of Reproductive Health and LGBTQ Liberation
Veronica Bayetti Flores, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas
Reproductive justice is the profound idea that everyone, regardless of race, age, ability, national origin, socio-economic status, spirituality, sexuality, language, gender identity and/or expression, has equal rights and access to reproductive health services in order to make informed decisions about their health, if/when/how they decide to have a family, and to parent children if they choose to do so. Wow. Doesn’t this seem like an obvious right that we should all have access to? Reproductive justice is not a solidarity issue for LGBTQ individuals; it is OUR issue.
If a transman needs a pap smear, what does he do? Will his insurance cover this preventative care (an effective means of preventing cervical cancer) if he is listed as “male” on his insurance? And if he is diagnosed with cervical cancer and needs to receive care, will his provider be able to adequately serve him? Will he even be able to find a provider that’s willing to talk to him?
I want to talk about abortion for a minute. Veronica Bayetti Flores spoke to the point that some people, even in the LGBTQ community, don’t feel like abortion is a queer issue. This is ridiculous and short-sighted and leaves out huge facets of our communities. Consider:
- Behavior is not the same as identity. And that’s okay.
- Research has shown that LGBQ youth are at higher risks for unintended pregnancies as they work out their identities as young people.
- Anyone with a functional uterus can get pregnant.
- Sexual assault.
- Even intentional pregnancies sometimes need to be terminated (example: if a pregnancy is carried out, the mother would need to be on dialysis for life).
We have got to stop separating ourselves apart and pretending that just because we, as individuals, may not have any intention of getting pregnant, abortion and pregnancy related reproductive care isn’t relevant for our community. It is. And people are dying while we try to work all this out.
This session was amazing, wrought with super important information, and frankly, I wish I could just link to the full presentation. But, in the meantime, check out the organization that the amazing presenters hail from: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Ultimately, this session was a huge reminder that our health is a crucial topic that we need to continue to focus on. And not just the issues relevant to ourselves as individuals, but those affecting everyone in our communities.