Since our founding as the St. Marks Clinic in 1969, our mission has been to care for those who have been excluded from or discriminated against in mainstream healthcare settings. At the time, that included “women without a need for birth control” (lesbian, bi, queer, and trans women), men who had sex with men, young people, and people struggling with substance use. Today, our patients are still largely people who have been systemically excluded from healthcare, housing, and economic stability.

LGBTQ+ people come from all facets of society, but white privilege and transphobia and misogyny (fed by white supremacy) exists everywhere – in our LGBTQ+ community spaces, and, in healthcare settings.  At Callen-Lorde, we are working to root out where and how these poisons show up in our own organization and to undo them,

Our role is to help people heal from the manifestations of oppression that show up in bodies and minds while continuing work within our own institution to dismantle white supremacy – including ongoing investments in our Anti-Racism Initiative to develop anti-oppressive practices. As healthcare providers, we understand that such work is never complete and must become an integral part of our structures, policies, and culture, to continue to heal our communities while helping to prevent further harm.

Racial and other discrimination in health care settings, including discrimination affecting LGBTQ+ people is a major contributor to disparities in health and health care. Structural racism in society at large is also a fundamental driver of health inequities, systematically putting Black people and other racial/ethnic groups at an economic and health disadvantage.

It is our duty as an organization committed to health equity to fight for racial justice.

This fight shows up in our clinical work and in our advocacy and research efforts. These are ways we are working to shift systems to support the health and wellness of our communities:

  • Centering transgender people of color in our public policy and social justice efforts center (including insurance access for gender-affirming care, civil rights laws, or most recently trying to repeal the harmful provision in NY Penal Code that makes “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” unlawful i.e. “Walking While Trans”)
  • Fighting for universal, comprehensive (single payer) healthcare – which is at its core a racial and economic justice fight. The reason we do not have universal health care now has everything to do with race.
  • Supporting our colleagues and partner organizations working to create Safe Consumption Spaces for people who inject drugs
  • Ending the Epidemic – when we talk about ending the HIV epidemic, we’re essentially talking about ending an epidemic that disproportionately impacts Black and brown people, especially young men who have sex with men
  • Working to increase access to housing for people living with HIV
  • Joining efforts to redirect City funding from the NYPD to social, human and health services and to center Black-led organizations and Black communities in making decisions about how the funding is (re-)directed

For Callen-Lorde, health equity equals racial equity; and we believe true liberation will only come when all our communities can adequately access culturally competent and comprehensive health care in all forms.

Please join us in this fight.