Fighting for LGBTI rights without fear in USA
Erin from Syracuse, New York, has been a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) for several years. She joined PPFA as National Campus Organizer for youth organizing in May 2014. Prior to joining, Erin was a local campus organizer at Syracuse University in New York working closely with Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York. Erin graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in Policy Studies and Women's and Gender Studies.
“As a member of the LGBTI community and a young person in the United States, I’ve learned first-hand what it means to be on the front lines of fighting for equal rights and access in the Western world. Growing up in the 1990s, when the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law and in the years that followed, I experienced firsthand what it meant to be a second-class citizen: and it all happened because I was a young, queer woman that decided to come out.
Living in the shadows
You could say I always knew that I was different, and I think many members of my chosen queer family can relate. Many of us live in the shadows every day out of fear of shame and violence. We have to do better to ensure that young people live in a world without fear from being exactly who they are.
Now, I do organizing work with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) across the country, and work with young people in the LGBTI community every day. We tirelessly fight for better access to sex education, resources, and health care for all, in every nook of society – from our families, to our schools, to our communities, and with our elected officials.
We at the PPFA National Office believe deeply that young people’s experiences, particularly those who live at the margins, should be center to and fuel our mission. For every campaign, for every advocacy and outreach effort, for every education program, we always think about the communities we are serving.
Taking charge and standing up
Young queer people in the United States are taking charge and standing up for their rights, and in the process, creating healthier communities. They are at the forefront of policy change: in Las Vegas, Nevada, our young advocates are organizing in their communities to pass culturally sound and comprehensive sex education policy; in South Florida, an area with the highest rate of new HIV infections in the United States, young people fought for and passed sex education policy directly impacting their lives.
As demographics shift in the United States, young people are ensuring that power shifts along with it. As we continue to grow as a nation and improve resources for young people, we are also creating spaces for young people to take leadership roles and stand up for their communities. We are a generation fighting for our rights today.”
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide, including those from the LGBTI community.