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Appreciating Our Members & Continuing to Raise Our Voices for Change

On June 28th, SpeakOUT held its Appreciation Night at Club Cafe to thank its members, board of directors, and supporters for another very busy and productive year. Among the achievements were completing 21 engagements during June alone, with 30 of our speakers completing these in-person and online events! We also announced our three LGBTQ+ Student Scholarship winners, who are impressive youth leaders already making a difference in their home communities and school/college campuses.

Executive Director Ellyn Ruthstrom welcomed everyone to the event and made some opening remarks about the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and how the local LGBTQ+ community is responding to it.

“Before we move on to the program of the night, I want to acknowledge the terrible injustice that took place last Friday when the Supreme Court released its decision on the Mississippi abortion law and simultaneously overturned the protections of Roe v. Wade. Jane Roe was a made up name of a woman who was too afraid to use her real name for this important abortion rights case that took too long to earn her the right to abort, but whose fortitude has allowed millions of Americans to assert their own right to control their reproductive choices. Her real name was Norma McCorvey and she was a young poor white Texas woman who was a lesbian, or at least that’s how she identified until the Christian Right got a hold of her. All of her identities put her in the crosshairs of a cruel system that did not allow her to have control over her own body.

On a personal note, reproductive justice was an area of activism that I put incredible energy into in my earlier years, both as a straight woman and later as an out bi woman. Many of the women I worked side-by-side with were queer women. All of us, working together, understood that abortion rights is about control over our bodies, the most basic human right there is. In the current fight, our own LGBTQ+ community understands this and we must make clear that abortion rights and contraceptive rights affect women, trans men and nonbinary people – anyone who can get pregnant. SpeakOUT has joined a group of LGBTQ+ organizations that has co-signed a statement that was released today condemning the actions of the Supreme Court and advocating for other actions to protect reproductive rights as well as other rights for LGBTQ+ people that are being threatened. You can see the statement on the information table and you will continue to see SpeakOUT respond to ongoing actions that affect our community.”

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