Prominent Male-Identified Advocates, Including Actor/Activist George Takei, Actor/Musician and Advocate Dyllon Burnside, Iowa State Senator Zach Wahls, Trans Advocate Aydian Dowling and Phluid Project CEO Rob Smith Urge Cis Men to Support Fight for Reproductive Justice
(Washington, D.C. — November 1, 2022) The National LGBTQ Task Force has produced a public education campaign to expand the LGBTQ community’s understanding of reproductive justice and encourage cis men to support the fight for reproductive rights. The campaign “Ban the Repro Binary,” consists of several powerful short videos from a diverse set of male-identified voices in the LGBTQ+ community. The project was produced with funding from the Pop Culture Collaborative.
The campaign will launch educational video resources ahead of the midterm elections in November, encouraging cis men to mobilize around and advocate for reproductive rights, emphasizing why repro rights impact them directly as well as the communities they are also part of.
If cis men—LGBTQ+ or not—think this decision will not affect them, they need to think again. Restrictions on a person’s access to abortion is a willful denial of their humanity, their intelligence and family circumstances. Restrictions on access to Prep is an implied devaluing of our health, safety and a passive attempt on our lives. Outlawing love, relationships and the building of families is an outright assault on our children and the spirit that binds our communities.
These laws, rules and statutes are all attempts by extremist politicians to conquer our spirit and claim sovereignty over our bodies and lives. Access to health care is a racial justice issue. Living free from discrimination is an LGBTQ+ issue. Having full access to participate in and thrive in our democracy is a civil rights issue. Our fundamental rights are at stake. We need the power of our collective community to mobilize and respond to current attacks and actively participate in the long-term struggle for agency, freedom and justice.
We are so grateful for the solidarity, vulnerability, and deep understanding of each of these men who have worked with us to create powerful messages that connect the dots on why reproductive justice is their issue as well—from those who are allies to those who make clear their families, or they themselves, would not exist if not for the reproductive freedoms now under attack, under threat and in many states being dismantled right now.
The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey has called into question constitutional law about the freedom to marry and the freedom to form intimate relationships with other consenting adults. Attacks are likely to widen as opponents start proposing new limitations on marriage or new restrictions on sexual intimacy. The Task Force has long worked to protect and fortify sexual freedom, bodily autonomy, and access to family planning and safer sex interventions—and our connections in the reproductive justice movement are diverse and deep.
Who is Participating?
We reached out to a diverse set of straight and LGBTQ+ cisgender men who can carry the message above to reach their “peers” and beyond, sparking conversation about these issues. Their videos connect cis men to this issue and highlight the ways that they are directly impacted as well as the communities they are a part of. The videos will be released in targeted news media and social media in partnership with video participants and partner organizations.
Dyllón Burnside: Burnside is an American actor and singer. He is known for his role as Ricky Evangelista, a dancer, in the FX television series Pose and as the producer and host of the Emmy award-winning PBS series Prideland.
George Takei: Takei is an iconic American actor, author, and activist. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the starship USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek.
Takei was born to Japanese-American parents, with whom he lived in U.S.-run internment camps during World War II. He came out as gay in 2005 and became a prominent advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. He has been a vocal advocate of the rights of immigrants, in part through his work on the 2012 Broadway show Allegiance, about the internment experience.
Aydian Dowling: As the first ever trans person featured on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, Dowling is a highly visible, out trans man, including having made multiple appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He is the CEO of the Point of Pride nonprofit that has helped over ten thousand people receive gender-affirming garments and surgeries. He is a devoted husband and father. With the TRACE App, Aydian continues his work by creating the first-to-market mobile app for Transgender and Nonbinary individuals and their Allies to document their transition and build life-saving community.
Zach Wahls: Zach Wahls was elected to his first term in the Iowa Senate in 2018. Senator Wahls was elected Iowa Senate Democratic Leader by his Democratic colleagues in November 2020.
Prior to his election, Zach worked primarily as an advocate in the LGBTQ civil rights movement following his 2011 testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in defense of marriage equality and his two-mom family. He has spoken to hundreds of audiences, including a prime-time speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention. An Eagle Scout, Zach co-founded and led Scouts for Equality, which successfully led the national campaign to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in the Boy Scouts of America. He married his wife, Dr. Chloe Angyal, in 2021, and they live with their dog, Zelda, in Coralville, Iowa.
Rob Smith: Smith is a futurist who works at the intersections of Free Enterprise and Humanity. Inspired by his heritage as a third-generation Native American from the Ojibwa tribe, he created The Phluid Project to honor the Two Spirit indigenous leaders of the past and present. He has created a company and foundation, leveraging 30 years of work in the fashion industry, leading multi-billion-dollar brands from Macy’s, Levi’s, Nike, and Victoria’s Secret, and coupling decades of work fighting for human rights and social equality.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO CONTACT ANY OF THE INDIVIDUALS PARTICIPATING, CONTACT:
Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, 917-757-6123, email@example.com
The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we have made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. Those barriers must go.