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Goodbye Pride Month 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019

By Tracey Minella

July 13th, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Long Island IVF booth at Pride on the Beach

And just like that, we flipped the calendar to July and closed the door on Pride Month, 2018. Why does July 1st feel like December 26th or the day after your birthday? Why is it so hard to take the advice of that popular proverb: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”?

Let’s examine how we celebrated Pride Month and what pride means to us.

Dictionary.com defines “pride” as “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated…”

Long Island IVF is both proud of its partnership with The LGBT Network and proud of what we accomplished together throughout June and throughout the year. Specifically, we were proud to be a major sponsor of Long Island’s Pride on the Beach again and to have partnered with The LGBT Network for another “Building Families in the LGBT Community” educational seminar. Our hats are off to The LGBT Network for a month of diverse Pride activities and an amazing weekend of Pride on the Beach.

As a fertility practice that’s been building families in the LGBT community for decades, we have our own Pride experience each June. We feel immense pride reuniting with those families every year—first at Pridefest and now Pride on the Beach. We are proud to have built families that, because of biological and/or sexual orientation-based obstacles, would not otherwise exist. And nothing feels better than seeing these happy, loving families and hugging these patients at Pride on the Beach who are often moved to tears with gratitude for us helping them become parents. It’s such a feel-good moment that it makes us tear-up, too!

How do you show your pride and what does pride mean to you?

When we aren’t reuniting with former patients and their babies or interacting with visitors to our booth each year, we enjoy people-watching and observing the different ways participants experience Pride on the Beach and show their pride. Some seem tentative at what may be their first community outing. Some are just happy and free attendees—like they could be at any beach event. Still others are a bit louder about being proud—opting for maximum celebratory style. Regardless, the overwhelming sense of community is palpable.

How do you see the purpose of Pride on the Beach? Is it meant as a sacred, exclusive, annual experience of solidarity? Do you feel welcoming, unwelcoming, or indifferent towards non-community member attendees? Is pride about blending in with the heterosexual community or standing out and being noticed– or a bit of both?

What sentiments did you feel or witness during Pride Month? Was it thankfulness toward the older generation for battling for the rights enjoyed today? Was it a commitment to helping support the younger, upcoming generations as they navigate their feelings and search for safe ways to come out and live a full and open life? Was there worry or even fear about hard-won LGBT rights being threatened or even potentially reversed in the future due to recent political events?

Is Pride Month a time for the LGBT community to celebrate itself? Is it a time to come out? Is it a time of spreading LGBT awareness or encouraging acceptance? Is it a time for advocacy for LGBT rights? Is it all of that and even more?

And what happens now that Pride Month is over? Does life just go back to “normal” until next June? Should it? Are there other options?

While Pride Month is primarily a celebration– unlike National Infertility Awareness Week (“NIAW”) which is definitely not celebratory– the two nationally-recognized movements are similar in that they each have the spotlight for a relatively brief time before returning to a more “low-key” public focus for the rest of the year until the pink and blue or rainbow awareness ribbons re-emerge in 11 months.

In the infertility community, National Infertility Awareness Week (“NIAW”) is recognized in late April each year. It’s only a week—not a month—long and it is not a cause for celebration because, well, no one wants to be infertile. In fact, many sufferers keep it a secret. But Long Island IVF and support groups nationwide often host several events that week (and promote them weeks or months in advance to extend the awareness time period). The events support and educate the infertility community and raise public awareness and understanding of the physical, emotional, mental, and financial toll the disease of infertility takes on the infertile community.

The frustration over the brevity of the NIAW one-week spotlight in April –and the inspiration of the LGBT community’s National Coming Out Day in October– caused Long Island IVF to establish Coming Out Infertile Day (“COI”) several years ago. Celebrated the week before Thanksgiving each year, COI Day is a timely reminder halfway to NIAW that the winter holidays and New Year’s Day with their focus on family and children are particularly hard times for infertile, childless couples. We offer workshops to help infertile couples get through the holiday stress, reconnect emotionally with their partners, and/or come out about their infertility to friends and family if they want to but don’t know how to do it.

Maybe a halfway to Pride Month is in order in December?

NIAW is also used as a call-to-action to join in advocacy efforts to expand rights and access to infertility treatment for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

As far as infertility advocacy goes, right now the big push in New York is to get the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment (“FAFTA”) bill passed and funded in the budget. The bill would provide insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization for infertile couples as well as provide fertility preservation treatment for cancer patients whose cancer treatment may negatively impact their fertility or render them infertile.

FAFTA has already passed the House. If you’d like to tell your Senator to support it, please click here to be taken to a simple email template where you merely input your contact info and an email letter to your senator asking him/her to support FAFTA will be auto-generated. It takes less than two minutes and may help everyone—LGBT and heterosexuals—get mandated IVF coverage.

Long Island IVF has been actively campaigning for the passage of FAFTA and reaching out to our elected officials. We strongly urge everyone to join us.

So, the question is asked again. What is Pride Month and what will you do until it rolls around again in 11 months? How will the answer to that question impact your life and that of the rest of the LGBT community? How to you envision Pride Month 2019? Imagine how much more pride you would feel next year if you did even one small thing to help raise awareness, acceptance, or advocacy efforts for the LGBT community– or even if you helped improve the life of just one community member in some small way.

As our partners at The LGBT Network say, “Pride doesn’t end in June”. Let’s continue it with Pride Night at Citi Field. Let’s continue it after that, too.

Let’s make pride unstoppable.

 

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