Our Commitment to Equality and Dignity for All
Dear Gaingels Community,
As New York and cities around the country celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community in Pride marches and parades this past weekend, the intensity and meaning of those marches encompassed the disbelief, despair, rage, and resolve of those within our community and amongst our allies who saw their rights come under attack with renewed energy and newfound victories.
Pride month is rooted in the appreciation of diversity and the celebration of our progress toward equality - an equality that we and those who came before us had to fight hard for. It’s difficult to revel in those victories without focusing on the very real rights women lost in America this week, taking our nation a giant step backward from realizing the ideals of equality, autonomy, and self-determination our community fights for.
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is now leaving tens of millions of Americans without access to healthcare and family planning, care often critical to the life and welfare of women. This takes America several steps towards restricting one’s own personal freedom, very opposite to the values of equality and self-determination that we stand for. These rights are fundamental to the very core of our identities as human beings and ones the LGBTQIA+ community knows well: the right to be who you are, live authentically, and take control of yourself, your bodily autonomy, and your destiny.
Those who labored this week and for the past 50 years to restrict these freedoms for women make no secret that their agenda goes much further. They overtly state their intent to re-open the battle for LGBTQIA+ rights, many of which we now take for granted, each of which was won at least in part on the premise of a fundamental constitutional right to privacy. This new court decision is a rallying cry for us to stand and fight with our time, money, and resources in both what we believe in and know to be just and right.
In the short term, the consequences of this decision are hard to overstate, and they extend to the financial and economic freedoms Gaingels works to build. Companies that care about inclusion and women’s rights will be hard-pressed to support states that suppress them, creating a pastiche of policies and state relationships that will be hard to navigate and stifling to business. And America’s overall competitiveness in the world is at stake because if we proceed on this path we’ll all but signal to the world that America is no longer leading the pack as an example of a liberal democracy that values and protects civil liberties, human rights, and individual freedoms, becoming guilty ourselves of what we so adamantly point out about our economic and political adversaries.
Religious hatred, misogyny, homophobia, and racism will divide us… control us… chain us. Repressing our rights, silencing our voices, and extinguishing our light. These forces from within are undoing the very substance of what allowed America to gain its current position as the global economic leader.
No matter what an individual’s personal or religious beliefs are, our democracy has always stood on the pillars of equality for all and on an individual’s right to self-determination - bodily autonomy being central to the latter. In the words of Joni Madison, the Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
“Make no mistake—this decision goes far beyond abortion. And it will do real harm to women and to LGBTQ+ people—right now. Vulnerable people across the country in states with trigger laws have immediately lost access to abortion. It’s critical to understand first and foremost: reproductive rights are LGBTQ+ rights. LGBTQ+ people need abortion care, and this will have a devastating, immediate impact on all of us. And today’s decision will embolden our opponents and encourage state lawmakers pandering to their base to test the limits of court-recognized LGBTQ+ equality.”
We at Gaingels stand with every person affected by this disgraceful outcome. We know this is not your fight alone. We know this affects our future too, and that of the next generations. It affects our ability to create and maintain the prosperity we seek to enjoy and provide for our country and the world. It affects our ability to innovate, attract the best talent, stay clear of government intrusion in business, and maintain competitiveness. It affects our ability to build a world that realizes everyone’s potential.
This Pride month is a time to be reminded of how far we have come in our effort to bring diversity to the forefront of American culture and business and of the forces seeking to roll back our progress. As a community, with each and every one of you, we have made a visible difference in the world, and we will not let this temporary setback stop our fight to bring equality and dignity to all people.
Jake Prigoff, M.D.
…and the rest of the Team at Gaingels