Thursday, June 15, 2023
Pride Month is a time for celebration and commemoration. Around the country and the world, millions of people boisterously celebrate each other, their friends, family, and loved ones, and honor those who relentlessly fought for their rights and liberties. Decades later, these rights are under attack.
MLPs have become crucial actors in the fight against these threats. One of these is Fenway Health in Massachusetts. Their Legal Services Department advocates for the legal rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. It represents clients on various civil matters such as discrimination, public benefits, HIPPA and privacy concerns, and many more.
“Legal services have been important for addressing adverse social determinants of health and discrimination experienced by LGBTQIA+ patients, such as housing and employment discrimination in the absence of comprehensive federal LGBTQIA+ nondiscrimination protections,” said Fenway Health Director of Education and Training Programs, Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MPH.
Thanks to the integration of their legal services with medical services, the Legal Services Department is able to resolve legal matters affecting the health of their patients. For instance, Keuroghlian described these services as “invaluable for helping health centers secure insurance reimbursement related to medically necessary, gender-affirming care for transgender and gender diverse people.” More broadly, legal services “play a critical role in partnership with health centers to advance LGBTQIA+ health equity,” said Keuroghlian.
Still, state policies across the country threaten the rights and safety of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities. As Keuroghlian points out, “legal services will play an increasingly crucial role for health centers to be able to support the health and safety of the sexually and gender diverse patients whom we serve.”