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September CT Pride events celebrate the strength of LGBTQ+ activism during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots

(New Haven, CT)  September concludes Connecticut’s annual Pride celebrations, and Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut (PPV!CT) honors the legacy of LGBTQ+ activists by demanding equality, justice, and reproductive freedom for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. With continued threats to reproductive rights, anti-discrimination policies, and civil liberties, now is the time for supporters to take action and fight back.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an iconic moment of resistance that launched the modern gay rights movement and inspired Pride celebrations in the U.S. and across the world. Despite the progress made in the last half-century, members of the LGBTQ+ community still suffer from pervasive prejudice and discriminatory policies that put people’s health and lives at risk.

“We must keep the legacy of Stonewall alive by fighting back against unethical policies and hateful rhetoric that promotes discrimination and injustice on the basis of gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation,” said Gretchen Raffa, Director of Public Policy, Advocacy and Strategic Engagement at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “Now more than ever we need our supporters to raise their voices and take action to oppose the Trump-Pence administration’s disgusting, discriminatory policies aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is the time to celebrate the progress we’ve made in advancing equality for LGBTQ+ people and get fired up for the fight ahead.”

In August, Planned Parenthood was forced out of the Title X program by the enforcement of the Trump-Pence administration’s “gag rule” that makes it illegal for health care providers to tell patients how and where to access safe, legal abortion. For decades, the Title X program has helped millions of people with low incomes access birth control, cancer screenings, STD/STI testing and treatment, and other essential, life-saving preventive care. Homophobia, transphobia, and other systemic barriers have contributed to the economic inequity that makes LGBTQ+ people more likely to use public programs like Title X to access health care—an attack on the Title X program is an attack on LGBTQ+ communities.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community—especially people of color and people with low incomes—are systematically targeted by the Trump-Pence administration. Trump’s new “conscience” rule would allow health care providers to refuse to provide medical treatment to patients, even in emergencies, based on their personal beliefs. The Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to roll-back protections in the Affordable Care Act that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, allowing providers and health insurance companies to deny transgender people access to health care. These are just the latest in a series of attacks aimed at LGBTQ+ people.

Pride celebrations commemorate the resilience and strength of our LGBTQ+ communities. Two of Connecticut’s largest Pride events are held in September—Hartford’s Capital City Pridefest is Saturday, September 14 and New Haven’s Pride Week runs from September 16-22, culminating in a block party on September 21. The first-ever Connecticut Gay Black Pride will be held in Goffe Street Park in New Haven on Saturday, September 14.

PPV!CT invites supporters, advocates, and allies to stand with Planned Parenthood at these September Pride events to celebrate the history of LGBTQ+ activism and to show their support in the fight to protect reproductive freedom. Those who are looking to get more involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy and collective power-building are invited to attend a meeting of the CT Equality coalition on Saturday, September 28 from 1-3 p.m. at Russell Library in Middletown. For more information, visit ppvotes.org.