This October, Prism United and Mobile-area trans videographer Max Kuzma will raise the visibility of Southwest Alabama’s LGBTQ youth through the Who We Are Campaign, a series of short documentaries featuring area LGBTQ youth sharing their lived experiences in their own words.

Corey Harvard (he/him), Executive Director of Prism United, released the statement:

“Prism United’s Who We Are Campaign aims to make Alabama a safer place. LGBTQ youth exist in all communities, but where their presence is not visible due to repression and victimization, they suffer, experiencing greater rates of anxiety, depression, disordered eating, substance abuse, and suicidality than their peers. When LGBTQ youth feel seen and heard in their community, these struggles decrease. This campaign is about lifting up the voices and stories of LGBTQ young people, centering their journeys, and calling for greater understanding and inclusivity across Southwest Alabama.”

Two of the first videos in the campaign feature Adrian (he/him) and Patrick (he/him), LGBTQ youth in Mobile. “I laugh at my younger self sometimes, because man, if only you could see your potential that you’re going to have pretty soon,” Patrick said in the video. “Opening up and being yourself, man – if only you’d see that, you’d be OK.” The campaign will release seven additional short documentaries throughout October.

The short films in the Who We Are Campaign were created by Max Kuzma (he/him), an award-winning trans cinematographer based in Mobile with over 9 years of experience in film production and a passion for cinematic storytelling. Max said:

“As a trans filmmaker living in Alabama, working on this docu-series has been a dream project for me: an opportunity to center the voices of LGBTQ youth in a uniquely local and cinematic way, giving these young people the opportunity to speak for themselves that is so often denied. The Who We Are campaign is about hearing from youth, understanding what motivates and energizes them, and celebrating their unique roles in our communities.”

The Who We Are campaign comes in the same year that legislation targeting LGBTQ youth – especially transgender and nonbinary youth – swept the country. Many states, including Alabama, debated the existence and equality of LGBTQ young people and even passed laws restricting trans youth from sectors of public life, from school sports to medical care. Alabama lawmakers passed a bill restricting transgender youth from participating in school sports, and one chamber of the legislature advanced a bill to ban and even imprison trans-affirming healthcare providers. We need to hear stories of LGBTQ young people in Alabama now more than ever.

The campaign will release seven additional short documentaries throughout the month. Who We Are videos can be viewed on social media or at https://prismunited.org/who-we-are/see-us/. For more information about the Who We Are Campaign, please contact Executive Director Corey Harvard at 251-599-6747 or coreyharvard@prismunited.org.

About Prism United

Prism United responds to the comprehensive needs of area LGBTQ youth, by offering programming and services for LGBTQ youth and the people who care for them, including programs for teens and preteens, programs for family members, and training and resources for area organizations. www.prismunited.org

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

Rejuvenating Thailand


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of The Dinah

The Dinah


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesty of Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash

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.