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Why We Support The LGBT Movement

June is LGBT Pride Month! We strongly support our LGBT brothers and sisters because the fight for equality reflects our shared values of freedom and privacy. Everyone should be free to make decisions about whom they love, whom they marry, and with whom they have a family without intrusion from politicians.

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In honor of Pride Month, we’re celebrating these shared values and the great strides the LGBT movement has made in the fight for equality:

Coming out

A pivotal moment for many LGBT people is coming out. By coming out, they can find a shared community in other LGBT folks and straight allies, and can finally be honest with the world about who they really are.

You might never have thought about it this way, but when a woman tells someone about having an abortion for the first time, it’s a lot like coming out. Abortion is a part of reproductive-health care for so many women: one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Yet this topic is still hush hush for many. But it shouldn’t be – no one should be made to feel ashamed for accessing abortion care.

Harvey Milk, an LGBT politician and rights activist, said “As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all.” By refusing to stay silent – whether that’s about a fundamental truth about who we are or a life experience, we get other people to think differently.

Sharing stories

Stories and conversations can go a long way in changing hearts and minds, whether it’s about full equality or reproductive freedom. The LGBT community has used storytelling to show people who they are and to define their lives and experiences. Edie Windsor, the defendant in the Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, won over hearts and minds by telling the story of her lifelong partnership with Thea Spyer.

Storytelling is also a critical tool for pro-choice people. When we share our stories, are working to end the stigma reproductive freedom opponents have put around abortion.

Ending stereotypes and stigma

We believe everyone should decide whom they love and access the reproductive health care that is best for them free of stigma and harassment. And we get one step closer to this becoming a reality every time these experiences are portrayed in pop culture. From cult-classic But I’m a Cheerleader to the openly gay animated character in How to Train Your Dragon 2, audiences are seeing more realistic portrayals of LGBT individuals and the lives they lead, and attitudes are changing.

That’s why it’s so important for pop culture to represent abortion for what it is – a normal decision. Cutting-edge films like Obvious Child to homemade videos like the one Emily Letts created are getting people to think differently about the women who decide to end a pregnancy.

Holding people accountable

There are always going to be haters. So when anti-LGBT activists and politicians say something horrible or work to deny our rights, it’s up to us to hold them accountable and expose their extreme and out-of-touch agendas. After Chick-Fil-A donated to anti-LGBT organizations, LGBT folks and straight allies turned it into an opportunity to grow support and get more people paying attention to the ways that people still face discrimination.

We run accountability campaigns too including one aimed at an anti-choice judge in Nebraska who refused to check his bias when he denied a young woman abortion access. We called him out and sent a message that judges won’t be able to get away with imposing their personal views in the courtroom without facing consequences.

Demanding equality under the law

At the same time that we’re working to change attitudes, we’re also fighting to put policies in place to change people’s lives. LGBT activists and leaders have made great strides winning equality for all Americans by being clear about their goals and strategic about winning. There are now 19 states that have marriage equality and the number is constantly growing. And President Obama recently announced that he would sign an executive order to end workplace discrimination for LGBT federal contractors.

Even though Americans won the right to legal abortion in 1973, Roe v. Wade is just a starting point. We’ll keep fighting until all women have real access to the reproductive health care they need. And we’re making progress! In California, we passed a law to expand the types of medical professionals who can provide abortion care, which greatly improves access for countless women.