Ira Rain

Ira Rain (they/them), moved to the United States from the Philippines in 2014 and their partner MJ (they/them) soon followed in 2017. For both, it was challenging to learn how to navigate the American healthcare system.   

Ira had heard of Callen-Lorde as a provider for queer and trans healthcare services, but it wasn’t until their partner became a patient that they walked into the clinic. They had heard about their partner’s positive experiences, but Ira still remembers their first visit to the Callen-Lorde. “Coming from the Philippines, I had a low benchmark for healthcare services in general. I just didn’t realize how different it would feel to be in a facility that centers queer and trans people and their healthcare. My body instantly felt different, just being in a space that felt primarily for me. I felt at home. 

As immigrants, both Ira and their partner faced barriers in accessing healthcare services. Navigating health insurance was challenging but MJ’s providers at Callen-Lorde helped them both get on a plan. Ira says, “For me, queer and trans equity is to have the safety and power to be fully myself and fully human when I show up in the world and engage in my experiences, so I am not leaving any part of me behind.” It is a feeling that resonates with them at Callen-Lorde, where having access to judgment-free, inclusive, and affirming healthcare has been life-changing. “Here, I didn’t have to fight or be ready to explain where I am coming from as a queer and trans person. I didn’t even know how much I needed that experience at the time.”  

Through their journey, Ira epitomizes the resilience and authenticity inherent in the LGBTQ+ community that Callen-Lorde serves. In their quest for self-discovery and healing, they have found not only a sanctuary in Callen-Lorde but also the courage to embrace their truest self with pride and grace. To their young self, Ira says, “You’re doing great. Even if it doesn’t feel like that right now. You are going to get to a place where it feels really good – beyond what you can imagine – just hang on tight.”