I reached out to Planned Parenthood Action Fund about becoming a volunteer this past fall. I looked at the world around me, and I was scared. I was scared for my friends who saw a society that increasingly did not see them as equals worthy of having basic rights. I was scared for my friends who came out about their preexisting conditions and how they may soon be stripped of the basic care that was keeping them alive. I was scared for the strong women who surrounded me and how everything was working against them to silence their voices and erase their stories. I knew I had to fight back.
At my volunteer orientation, I was in awe of the power and courage of everyone that filled the room. These are volunteers who genuinely care, and people who love their jobs. That positive drive and spirit are contagious. I remembered how Planned Parenthood Action Fund had always made me feel safe, and I was inspired to push myself out of my comfort zone by becoming an activist. As someone who used to be terrified to talk on the phone, my first calls to supporters - urging them to call their Representatives and ask them not to defund Planned Parenthood - were absolutely nerve wracking. I was so surprised when call after call I was greeted with gratitude, curiosity, and compassion. I love being able to connect with people across the state and let them know that they are not alone in this fight. And I love knowing that my work moves other people to action.
I am an activist for Planned Parenthood because of the women who hugged me at the March and thanked me for continuing the reproductive justice work they started decades ago. I am an activist for Planned Parenthood because of the woman who answered her door and told me our presence made her finally feel supported and heard as the only queer household in her neighborhood. I am an activist for Planned Parenthood because of the young woman who cried on the phone when I told her that we could help her finally get health insurance. And I won’t stop fighting until we not only defeat this bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and take health care away from millions, but until the day when all have access to affordable health care.
Everyone has a right to health care and compassion. I trust women, and women need Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act.