“Dear GOP Leaders… We Exist, With a Fierceness”

What these 12 queer women want GOP leaders to know about their health.

In the past few months, I have seen LGBTQ people tossed aside by our politicians, specifically GOP leaders. A lot of anti-LGBTQ legislation has either been written or passed at the state level. These steps backward hurt every person in our community. However, do not be mistaken — every single political issue is an LGBTQ issue. Our community is filled with diverse and multifaceted people who have intersecting identities – many of which leave us in the margins of society.

With this in mind, GO is launching a new series called Community Voices where we ask you – our community – to join us in a discussion of how you feel different political issues intersect in LGBTQ women’s lives. The first topic we’re going to dive into is healthcare as Trump’s new plan has received Congressional approval and is headed to the Senate next. These 12 queer women explain their views on accessible and affordable healthcare as a basic human right and how this new healthcare plan might impact their daily lives.

Photo by Shutterstock

We’re empowered to take action. 

“We can see through them, and it’s clear that their motives are to stamp us out or bring us to heel or make it so we —queer women, women of color, femmes of colorcan’t exist. But we do exist, with a fierceness. And any time I can help a young person exercise full autonomy over their body and their future I do it with a f***ing song in my heart.” – Christina Tesoro

“It’s a surreal state to be in that after everything you’ve done to overcome life-threatening illnesses, you may lose the battle due to the decisions of people who clearly care nothing for their constituents. I don’t want to be a martyr, but Republicans are hell bent on making as many of us just that.” – Angie Weatherhead

“You have blood on your hands. I have a feeling you already know this and are being intentional with your decisions, just as others have come before you in that house of white, wanting to deny us, betray us, erase us. But this is why we will never be silent. This is why we continue to exist. We fight like hell for the living and in memory of the dead. It is with a heavy heart that I say that this is one of our many forms of resilience: knowing that others do not want us to survive and practicing our very own existence as resistance. May we save our selves and in the process even save you.” – Olivia Ahn

We’re scared about the impact.

“Health insurance is necessary for me and my survival. I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer so knowing that I can go to the doctor for check ups to keep cancer from returning is not only necessary it is imperative. I hate that I have to write to any political candidate urging them to keep me on the planet. I do not believe any political system has my best interest at heart so this is all nerve wracking for me.” – Ericka Hart

“I’m coming up on my year anniversary of my surgery on May 26. My doctor told me that my fibroids could come back in 3 years… but maybe they won’t. Knowing that there is a possibility for me to have to be treated for that condition again and I may not be able to afford to undergo that treatment scares me. It’s like the last twelve years of my life are a pre-existing condition. What am I to do? I’m so tired of having to live in fear of not having enough money to be happy, healthy and whole.” – Rahel Neriene

We have questions. 

“It matters not if we are well or if we are ill, but ratheris there money to be made off of us? I am HIV+ and I take Triumeq daily. If I didn’t have the government-provided healthcare that I have, a 30-day supply of this medicine would cost me $2889.22. that’s $96 per pill. Each day. Nearly a hundred dollars a day that it would cost me to simply stave off further infections. Do we remember the Hippocratic oath? How do you think our current policymakers would react if they were reminded of this? Is all of this new red tape protecting us, the patients? Are we being helped or are we being harmed when we are abandoned by the state and medical institutions that have often been on the side of protecting us?” – Katie Bishop

“When I was in my 20s I was sexually assaulted at my neighborhood pub by a bartender I thought was my friend. I came in for a glass of wine, and I ended up bloodied, traumatized, and unable to leave my apartment without having a panic attack. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and major depressive disorder. If wasn’t for the incredible team of counselors and doctors I had access to through my insurance company, I would be dead. If you have a sister, a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a female friend, a GRANDMOTHER, close your eyes and imagine her being assaulted. Can you, in the deepest pit of your heart stomach the thought of a woman you love being raped, and then being denied coverage for physical and emotional care by her insurance company?” – Zara Barrie

We’re angry. 

“My depression and anxiety are fed by injustice, by violence, by fear that I and the people I love will loose control over our bodies, over who we can love. By oppression and to be able to exist in the world I need to take medication – and thus have a “pre-existing” condition. Until you help create a world that is less depressing and oppressive, don’t take my meds away.” – B

“We the people—queers and transgender, people of color, women, immigrants, working class, people with disabilities—we will RESIST. Health care, education, reproductive justice, jobs, and food are human rights. There is power to the people. Your time is limited. Justice will prevail. I am a queer Latinx, feminist, sex-positive guerrera. I am a pre-existing condition. And I intend to survive. More than that, I along with, my fellow queer people of color will continue evolving, loving, and standing in our power. So be afraid.” – Elicia Gonzales

Mike Pence and fellow GOP Leaders discussing women’s healthcarePhoto by Twitter

We want you to be held accountable.

“Since 2009, I have lived with Ulcerative Colitis. Before I was diagnosed, I was weak and in pain. My medication has allowed me to live my life comfortably, and make it through my day as a high school teacher with relatively few side effects. Without health insurance, my meds would cost me half of my monthly salary. When I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2015, I felt relief in knowing that I could continue to afford to take care of my body. Now, I worry about what the future holds not only for my body and health, but also for my wife and our plans for a family.” – Kaitlynn BN

“Dear GOP, Thanks for your amazing compilation of pre-existing conditions that won’t be covered under Trumpcare! (You forgot to add prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction, but I’m sure that’s just an oversight.) Should I feel smug that I don’t have any of the diseases or ailments on the list? Ya know, in the same way you feel smug about unanimously voting to exempt yourselves?” – Dara Nai

“You claim to hold ‘pro-life’ views, yet you’re for the death penalty, against contraception and are anti-choice, which leads to cyclical poverty, class warfare and racism (not to mention the war against women, and men voting for what women should do with their own bodies); vote for legislation that strips myriad forms of essential healthcare from the citizens who need it most; disregard the needs of women and LGBTQ+ citizens in favor of tax cuts and so-called ‘traditional values’ that hold everyone but straight, white males hostage to a hostile, apathetic, pro-pharma regime; claim to cling to a Constitution that, by nature and necessity, has evolved over hundreds of years and therefore has needed—and continues to direly require—amendments that reflect modern society and its requirements to flourish. Do you care anything about the future beyond the (diminishing) years in which you’ll still be here? Do you care nothing for the livelihoods of your own children and grandchildren? Your planet? Your souls?” – Juliet Macey


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