While being honored at the Planned Parenthood of New York City gala on Tuesday night, actress and activist Laverne Cox called attention to the lack of quality healthcare for trans women. The organization honored Cox along with outgoing Planned Parenthood Federation president Cecile Richards.
"The fight for healthcare is so intimately tied to the health of transgender people," she said in her acceptance speech. "I’m so excited to stand before you this evening because I wanted to shout out to the world that Planned Parenthood is a welcoming place for transgender people. I travel the country and meet transgender people all over who do not have access to life-saving healthcare."
Along with primary healthcare, annual exams, and STD screenings, Planned Parenthood offers hormone therapy to trans people at centers in 20 states, with more coming soon. Its staff is trained in how to treat trans people properly and respectfully, and its website provides information on trans and gender-nonconforming identities. Since 31% of transgender Americans lack regular access to healthcare, and many report discrimination at doctors' offices, Planned Parenthood is stepping in to fill a major void.
"So often when we have conversations about women's healthcare, we leave out transgender women," Cox said to the crowd. In an interview with InStyle at the gala, the Orange Is the New Black star discussed how the Trump administration is trying to roll back section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination based on, among other things, gender identity. "If that rollback happens, it's going to affect women of all kinds," she said. "It's going to affect transgender people, so we are in this fight together whether we want to be or not."
Richards, in her speech, said that when she started as Planned Parenthood president 12 years ago — a moment in her life she describes in detail in her new book Make Trouble — the organization had 3 million supporters, and now it has 12 million. (That's more than twice the size of the National Rifle Association, she made sure to point out.)
"One in five women in America has been to Planned Parenthood, and despite the attacks from the Trump-Pence administration and anti-woman politicians around the country, women are persisting, people are resisting, and today, Planned Parenthood is stronger than we've ever been," she said.
Read these stories next: