March is a big month for equity and justice across identities…Women's History Month, National Women and Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10th, and International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st.
From women shattering the glass ceiling to the major contributions of women to science and technology to fighting for equality, there is so much to celebrate!
But there is also so much to learn! Did you know that Black/African American women (both assigned female at birth and trans women) are still disproportionately affected by HIV? Things like Intimate Partner Violence, partner risk factors, transphobia, racism, and access to care impact the prevalence rate. Shedding light specifically on how HIV/AIDS affects women and girls is essential in protecting their health and creating a more just and equitable healthcare landscape.
And as we look at the political landscape across the United States and in particular in our very own state of Iowa, we are seeing an alarming number of legislative bills targeting LGBTQ folks and in particular the trans and gender diverse communities. As of this publication date, there are 29 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced and are making their way through the legislative process.
These bills include:
Banning drag performances in the presence of anyone under 18 (SF348)
Forcibly outing trans students if faculty or staff learn a student is trans (HF180)
Banning any mention or discussion of gender identity and/or sexual orientation in grades k-8 (HF348, SF83)
Allowing healthcare providers and institutions to refuse care based on “sincerely held beliefs” (SF297)
Banning all forms of gender affirming care up to age 18 (HSB214)
Banning medically necessary care for trans youth (SF110)
Amending the Constitution to state that marriage is between “one human biological male and one human biological female” (HJR8, HF508)
Removing instruction related to AIDS and possibly information about the HPV vaccine (SSB1076)
Here are some things that you can do to help support and show your allyship:
Donate to LGBTQ serving agencies, organizations that work to protect the rights of all people, and organizations that engage in HIV prevention work as well as support those living with HIV.
Continue to examine and dismantle systems of oppression.
There is nothing easy about the work that must be done to protect our most vulnerable communities and there is nothing easy about standing against systems of oppression and demanding change. But together we can move the needle in the right direction. Together we can make a difference. Together we can show that love is louder than hate.
March 2023: Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.”
Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
March 2023: Bisexual Health Awareness Month
Founded and led annually by the Bisexual Resource Center, raises awareness about the bisexual+ (bi, pansexual, fluid, queer, etc.) community’s social, economic and health disparities; advocates for resources; and inspires actions to improve bi+ people’s well-being.
March 1: Zero Discrimination Day
On Zero Discrimination Day, 1 March, we celebrate the right of everyone to live a full and productive life—and live it with dignity. Zero Discrimination Day highlights how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and, above all, a movement for change. Zero Discrimination Day is helping to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination.
March 10: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Every year on March 10 — and throughout the month of March — local, state, federal, and national organizations come together to shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and show support for those at risk of and living with HIV. This year marks the 17th annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD).
March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960.
March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
Trans Day of Visibility is an annual awareness day celebrated around the world. The day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.