In celebration of Pride Month, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has donated $1.5 million to GLSEN. The three-year grant will be allocated between the Phoenix Chapter ($1 million) and the National Organization ($500,000) and will support the organization’s mission to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“In our personal lives and through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, one of our overarching goals is to be champions of inclusivity,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “Every person deserves to feel whole, equal and welcome.”

GLSEN research has found that six out of 10 LGBTQ students have felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly eight out of 10 have avoided school functions because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. The level of harassment these students experience negatively affects their ability to learn due to increased absenteeism and lower educational aspirations. The anti-LGBTQ bias can also have a profound impact on a student’s overall health and well-being.

Many LGBTQ youth face cruel, often unbearable levels of bullying and discrimination. GLSEN is working to help all K-12 students feel safe at school and accepted for who they are.

PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons

GLSEN has developed four focus areas to help schools cultivate an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for all their students, especially those of marginalized identities, including: Activating supportive educators, who are crucial to creating LGBTQ-inclusive classroom environments; Advocating for inclusive & affirming curriculum, which not only offers support to LGBTQ students but raises the awareness of all students; Passing and implementing laws and policies to ensure that LGBTQ students can learn and thrive in safe, inclusive, accepting schools; and supporting student-led clubs because student leaders are integral to creating community and pushing for change.

Melanie-Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN’s Interim Executive Director, said: “It is because of allies like Bob and Renee Parsons that organizations like GLSEN are able to work towards making the world a safe and celebratory place for LGBTQ+ children and young people. In addition to financial support, it’s incredible to have partners who focus their power, reach and influence to lift up our community.”

“This transformational gift will enable GLSEN Phoenix to mobilize even more school communities, so that all of our children get to be and become who they ought to be,” said GLSEN Phoenix founding co-chair Madelaine Adelman, Ph.D.

GLSEN Phoenix is launching a legacy monthly giving program to invest in local efforts to create LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools here.

About GLSEN Phoenix

Founded in October 2002, GLSEN Phoenix is part of a national GLSEN chapter network that works to ensure that each student in every K-12 school is valued and treated with respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We believe that all students deserve safe and inclusive K-12 schools. LGBTQ students who feel unsafe and unsupported at school are more likely to have been victimized and discriminated against at school, and thus, more likely to have high absenteeism, more likely to have lower GPAs, less likely to participate in school activities, more likely to have lower self esteem and a lower sense of school belonging, less likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to consider going to college. We invest the community’s time, talent, and treasure into four evidence-based interrelated areas of activity: supportive teachers, protective policies, inclusive curriculum, and empowered, student-led Gender/Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture and nourish people during what is often the darkest time of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people – regardless of race, religion, roots, economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity – deserve access to quality healthcare, education and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media or visit TBRPF.org, to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.

The post GLSEN receives $1.5 million grant for LGBTQ inclusivity appeared first on OUTvoices Phoenix.

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LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.