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ICLS Takes Action for LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week & Transgender Day of Visibility

LGBTQIA+ support and visibility

Streamers, sound bowls, and solidarity – this Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Health Awareness week and Transgender Day of Visibility festivities were some for the books!

In March, ICLS staff have facilitated several educational LGBTQIA+ program workshops in Riverside, attended the 2024 Southern California LGBTQIA Health Conference in Irvine, and supported Transgender Health & Wellness Center’s Trans Pride event in Palm Springs, CA.

Despite twenty years of LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week, it remains crucial as ever to recognize the intersectionality of health disparities within our LGBTQIA+ community and the significance of inclusive healthcare initiatives.

With the fifteenth anniversary of Transgender Day of Visibility being celebrated this past weekend as well, it is critical we maintain open hearts and ready minds to support LGBTQIA+ individuals who, due to the stigmatization of their sexual orientation and gender identities and fear of social intolerance, have not made themselves visible.

Navigating the healthcare system is daunting enough without feeling the need to divulge your sexual orientation, yet it is a ceaseless obstacle for 83% of LGBTQ+ folx around the world who still conceal their sexual orientation, often succumbing to “significant mental and physical health issues,” according to the Yale School of Medicine.

Concealing one’s sexual orientation, though a personal decision, is a response to structural stigma that can be eliminated through the implementation of programs like the ones offered by ICLS for qualifying residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Hence, it is through communal efforts and only with the help of volunteers, community partners, and devoted advocates that ICLS can aid in achieving health equality and improving public health outcomes for all.

“As a legal aid attorney, I firmly believe that competent, culturally informed legal representation should be a right afforded to everyone,” said L Orozco, an attorney with ICLS’s Pro Bono team and lead of our LGBTQIA+ programs including ICLS’s Advance Healthcare Directive Clinic and Gender Marker and Name Change Clinic.

“To that end,” continues L, “I have collaborated with TGNCNB-led organizations, like Transgender Health & Wellness Center, to empower our region’s LGBTQIA2S+ through free and accessible legal information workshops. I am proud to share that in this quarter alone, ICLS’s LGBTQ+ Services Program has facilitated 7 informational workshops and has reached dozens of prospective clients and service providers with invaluable legal information.”

As an organization, ICLS understands that in expanding healthcare and legal resources to underserved and stigmatized communities, we not only address systemic barriers to adequate, affirming care but also foster a culture of acceptance and inclusivity.

The opportunity to attend these events and connect with individuals was an incredibly empowering experience, filled with celebration and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies working tirelessly to reiterate the importance of visibility and representation, and providing a platform for transgender and gender-diverse individuals to share their stories and experiences authentically.

Together, we can strive to create a world where everyone has access to compassionate and affirming healthcare, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Visit our LGBTQIA+ programs webpage to learn more!