The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at msmith@ithacavoice.com.

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ITHACA, NY – March 31st marks the 6th Transgender Day of Visibility. This day is one of celebration and reflection of the past year’s triumphs and accomplishments made by and for the transgender community and their allies.

The theme of Transgender Day of Visibility in 2016 is #morethanvisibility; the hashtag encompasses a familiar activist call for direct action towards justice, representation, and rights.

The past year has brought much to celebrate. Planned Parenthood’s dedication to increasing knowledgeable, compassionate and affirming health care services to transgender people is evidenced by the 26 affiliates across the country that provide hormone replacement therapy to transgender patients—including health centers right here in our region in Ithaca and Corning.

Planned Parenthood works to remove barriers to care and increase access to this crucial service for our transgender patients. Our goal for all of our patients is to make every person feel welcome and affirmed as they seek the health care they need and deserve.

Preventative care such as STD testing, birth control, and cancer screenings can reach more communities when a health center operates inclusively and respectfully towards people of all gender identities and expressions. We must work together in our communities to forward this model of healthcare delivery to employment, housing, and education.

Action and advocacy is required from all levels. Transgender Day of Visibility is about acknowledging and lifting up the stories of success in these actions.

Within the last month, history has been made in Washington D.C. On March 14th, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan became the first transgender person to be the White House LGBT Liason.

In her new role she will be advising and working closely with the Obama Administration in their efforts to provide protections and laws against discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This administration has been the most proactive and inclusive one in the history of the U.S.

After the heart-breaking and destructive bill signed into law by Governor McCrory in North Carolina, which legalized discrimination against transgender people, the national outcry was loud, immediate and passionate from the LGBT and business communities.

In this past week alone, the Governor of Georgia vetoed a similar anti-LGBTQ bill and the state of Delaware joined 14 other states to ban transgender exclusions from healthcare plans. Over a dozen companies have made public statements announcing not only their disapproval of discriminatory legislation and policy but also their plans to pull business from states or institutions that allow it.

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. Celebrate this day, be proud of the hard work and gains that have been made to ensure today happens. Stay informed, get involved, and educate. Join Planned Parenthood in saying “Transgender people are welcome here” and take the steps to ensure that our community is one of love, honesty, compassion and excellence.

For over forty years Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (PPSFL) has served as our community’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that all people deserve information and expert services to make informed, personal decisions that affect their health, their lives, and their futures.

We proudly educate families and youth replacing fear and facts, and misinformation with education. Our programs include a teen pregnancy prevention program, Out for Health, our LGBT Health and Wellness program, and comprehensive services to victims of sexual assault through our Sexual Assault Resource Center. We advocate for policies that improve sexual health.

We were the first Planned Parenthood in New York State to offer transgender hormone therapy and preventive health services. Please visit PPSFL.ORG/transgender for more information.

http://ithacavoice.wpengine.com/2016/03/40892/

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.