Photo Friday: In Washington, DC, health care does what policy makers can’t…until later

This is not a partisan or a political post, it’s an observation on the interplay between policy makers and health care in leading health in society.

Health care as a sector is usually targeted for its inefficiency and poor quality, for its designing away of hope…..and then scenes like this happen.

The Photo

2017.05.20 Capital TransPride Washington, DC USA 5249
They see us. Whitman Walker Health lit in the colors of the transgender pride flag. 2017.05.20 Capital TransPride Washington, DC USA 5249 (View on Flickr.com)
The image is of the iconic Whitman Walker Health (@WhitmanWalker) on 14th Street NW in Washington, DC, lit in the colors of the transgender pride flag, immediately following 2017 Capital TransPride, of which Whitman Walker is a presenting sponsor. (See: Because Life is Amazing and We Can: My 5th Capital TransPride )

Given the location, in one of the busiest corridors in our nation’s capital, the sight is as stunning and meaningful as was the lighting of the White House in the colors of the LGBTQ Pride flag in 2015.

Not the first time Whitman Walker preceded policy makers

This scene immediately reminded me of this one, in December, 2007, when I snapped this photograph, just a few blocks north, on World AIDS day:

Whitman Walker Clinic - Miracles Happen
Whitman Walker Clinic – Miracles Happen (View on Flickr.com)
Remarkably, my thoughts from that moment are here on this blog (See: Photo Friday: Miracles Happen ), and they relate the feeling present at the time, that health care would have to lead our policy makers down the street, because they weren’t going to.

2016.12.01 World AIDS Day at The White House, Washington, DC USA 09223
2016.12.01 World AIDS Day at The White House, Washington, DC USA 09223 (View on Flickr.com)

3 years later, a beautifully designed red ribbon appeared on the White House for the first time, on World AIDS Day, and it would adorn the House every year after that (and I’ve photographed it most years, it’s that stunning).

Whitman Walker has the longest track record for providing compassionate health care to the LGBTQ community – all the letters. And in this location, which for many years was forgotten and without hope as Washington, DC struggled after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, and then the drug and HIV epidemics that followed.

And then policy makers caught up

Prohibition of Discrimination in Health Insurance based on Gender Identity or Expression 38007
Prohibition of Discrimination in Health Insurance based on Gender Identity or Expression 38007 (View on Flickr.com)

In 2014, Washington, DC Mayor Vince Gray banned exclusions for transgender person care in health insurance. He went even farther – requiring that medically supervised, science-based transgender person care be covered as a requirement to sell insurance in the District of Columbia.

It was an incredible day – the policy was landmark not just for Washington, DC, but the entire nation, which is slowly catching up to Washington, DC in LGBTQ-supportive health policy. Washington, DC is still the national leader.

At the time we lamented that mainstream health care was incapable of being a leader in health.

There are always leaders in health in health care

Several of us hoped that the White House would follow-up the 2015 lighting by lighting with the transgender pride flag in 2016 after the series of health and life promoting policy actions undertaken by the Obama administration.

This didn’t happen. So we wait, and watch as Whitman Walker and every health system in Washington, DC innovates in LGBTQ health (because it’s required by policy).

One day policy makers will catch up again.

It’s happened before. πŸ™‚

Celebrating a new America #lovewins 58190
Next time, in the transgender pride flag colors. Until then, we have Whitman Walker (View on Flickr.com)

Thanks for using my photos: Hundreds Of LGBTQ People Held A Dance Party Protest via The Huffington Post

2017.04.01 Queer Dance Party - Ivanka Trump's House - Washington, DC USA 02058
2017.04.01 Queer Dance Party – Ivanka Trump’s House – Washington, DC USA 02058 (View on Flickr.com)
We’re all here for health and Love always wins πŸ™‚ .

“Come dance!”

Source: Hundreds Of LGBTQ People Held A Dance Party Protest Outside Ivanka Trump’s Home | The Huffington Post – via @HuffingtonPost & @JMN

2016.06.13 From DC to Orlando Vigils 06073
“A Rainbow Can Only Exist Where there is LIGHT” 2016.06.13 From DC to Orlando Vigils 06073 (View on Flickr.com)

I’m mostly putting this here for the record.

Werk for Peace (@WerkForPeace) was born out of the massacre of 49 people who were killed while being human.

At the same time, because this is a blog about what I learned yesterday, I’m reflecting on similar actions in our nation’s capital in 2008 that I was at:

Washington DC Demonstration for Equality November 15 2008 15664
Washington DC Demonstration for Equality November 15 2008 15664 (View on Flickr.com)
What I learned is that LGBTQ communities have become healthier, more able to control its destiny, and in an intersectional, non-binary way, in 10 years.

And why wouldn’t they?

Resilient people and companies face reality with staunchness, make meaning of hardship instead of crying out in despair, and improvise solutions from thin air. Others do not. This is the nature of resilience, and we will never completely understand it. – Coutu DL. How resilience works. Harv. Bus. Rev. 2002;80(5):46.

Additional 2017 photos below, see for yourself. All @CreativeCommons licensed, as usual.

Photo Friday: Are Patients Human Beings? (Answer is YES) #TDOV Washington, DC USA

2017.03.15 #ProtectTransWomen Day of Action, Washington, DC USA 01495
2017.03.15 #ProtectTransWomen Day of Action, Washington, DC USA 01495 (View on Flickr.com)

This photograph, taken in Washington, DC, just steps from the White House, reminded me of this photograph

Kaiser Wakes the Doctors Book 33949
Kaiser Wakes the Doctors Book 33949 (View on Flickr.com)

In 1943, this was actually an explicit question – (“Are Patients Human Beings?”). In 2017…. it’s still an explicit one depending on the population, and an implicit one for most practitioners taking care of vulnerable populations. This photograph begs the question of whether this should be a question for anyone in the healing professions.

Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility (#TDOV)

The International TDoV is an annual holiday celebrated around the world. The day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender & gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save trans lives. The holiday was founded in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people’s successes.

Click here to see the people that my generation of physicians came to health care to serve, because they are human..

Ultimately the world is learning to love better, and why shouldn’t it, diversity is what allows the human species to survive πŸ™‚ .

Thanks for publishing my photo, TechCrunch

SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663
SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663 (View on Flickr.com)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people make up nearly 40% of the 1.6 million youth who experience homelessness every year. Meanwhile, trans..

Source: Grindr wants tech people to combat LGBTQ inequalities | TechCrunch

Almost 29,000 views (of this photo) and counting…. I guess human beings are drawn to equality πŸ™‚ .

A Few Photos in the Middle of History Being Made: National Center for Transgender Equality Gala

2016.05.18 NCTE Gala  04895
2016.05.18 NCTE Gala 04895 (View on Flickr.com)
As the numerous victories scrolled up the screen…. via @MaraKeisling

Last year at this time, there was no Section 1557 rule (see: A Historic LGBTQ Health Symposium on a Historic Day ) or Title IX guidance, with the former on its way to being the biggest change in health care that I can remember in my career. Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon would be proud of their legacy.

2016.05.18 NCTE Gala 2353
2016.05.18 NCTE Gala 2353 (View on Flickr.com)

The thing that hasn’t changed since last year (se: A few photos on the way to the right side of history, at the National Center for Transgender Equality 12th Anniversary Gala) is the feeling that this room, with people numbering in the hundreds, is the place where the world is changing.

Of course, now the most impactful organizations are now a part of the change, and why wouldn’t they be, Equality Equals Health, Productivity, and love always wins πŸ™‚ .

Rest of the photos below, enjoy.

2016.05.18 NCTE Gala  04914
2016.05.18 NCTE Gala 04914 (View on Flickr.com)

Photo Friday: “Just be a Mom” Jeanne White-Ginder on the 25th Anniversary of the Ryan White Care Act

2016.03.02 25th Anniversary of Ryan White Care Act 03288
2016.03.02 25th Anniversary of Ryan White Care Act 03288 (View on Flickr.com)

Through and because of the work of Phil Kucab (@PhillipKucab) I was honored to see and meet Jeanne White-Ginder, who was in Washington, DC on the 25th Anniversary of the Ryan White Care Act.

Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) and Jim McDermott (@RepJimMcDermott) reminded the audience in their comments that the world was once an unkind place for people it didn’t understand, and, more importantly, the kindness and societal transformation that arose as a result.

I actually quoted Nancy Pelosi on this blog 6 years ago, when she said this (“Shattered ceilings, doors, and computer screens – Speaker of the United States House Nancy Pelosi and Regina Holliday“), that I still remember to this day.

“When I was sworn in for my first term, I was advised not to say very much. However, I was given the floor as the newest representative, to address the Congress. I said,”I came from San Francisco to fight for funding for HIV and AIDS.

They approached me afterwards and said, β€œIs that the first impression you want to create with these people?”

I said,”well that’s what I came here to do.”

We now know in 2016 that physicians harbor the same conscious and unconscious biases of the community they are a part of – they are not special or less biased than the people that they serve.

Their behavior as a profession during the time Ryan White was alive, at times profoundly unethical, left a mark, and also created a generation of physicians today who are changing everything, which includes Phil, who will be receiving his M.D. degree shortly. That’s what they/we came here to do.

Rest of the photos below, including the scrapbook that Jeanne brought of memories from Ryan’s life. Enjoy.