Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

Sharing stories for the greater good

I’ve been telling Obamacare success stories since 2013, in an effort to elevate the voices of some of the millions of Americans whose lives are being improved — and even saved — because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

obamacareawesomeWhat began as an effort to counteract the malicious misinformation that was being spread by opponents of the ACA has evolved into an initiative to help protect the ACA, which is facing its greatest menace: a President-elect who has promised to turn Congress’ continual threats to repeal the law into a reality.

Not only would repealing or dismantling the ACA pull the rug out from under millions of Americans who gained insurance under the law — many for the first time — it would throw the insurance industry, healthcare industry and economy into chaos. Worse yet, people would literally die from a lack of access to essential healthcare services.

Obamacare isn’t perfect, but that’s no reason to scrap it. Instead, Congress and President-elect Trump should be looking for ways to improve the law, so it can help more people and drive even more improvements in our healthcare system.

Like many Americans, I want to do something tangible to protect the progress we’ve made in the last eight years. Continuing to tell these stories is one thing I can do. I’ve put out open calls for ACA success stories in the past, but I’ve never had the volume of responses that I’ve received since the 2016 election. It’s clear that many Americans feel as strongly about protecting the ACA as I do.

President Obama has asked Americans to tell their legislators not to abandon the ACA. I hope you’ll do that — and, if you’re interested in being interviewed about what the ACA means to you, send me a note via Eclectablog. I’m going to keep telling Obamacare success stories as long as people are willing to share them with me.

You can read my ongoing ACA stories series at Eclectablog.

[Image credit: Will O’Neill | Flickr]

Using storytelling to foster empathy

Transgender rights are having a moment. Transgender people have existed since the beginning of time, but they’ve often been afraid to tell their stories. Now, they’re afraid not to.

TransLivesCollageWith every step forward in trans equality — and there have been many of late — there continues to be a backlash that is bred through ignorance and fear.

Anti-equality crusaders are using a simple, yet sadly effective, strategy: Take advantage of a lack of awareness about what being transgender really means to incite bigotry and vitriol.

Telling the stories of transgender people is one way to break through the ignorance and fear, to create understanding and empathy. I’m writing an ongoing series of profiles about the lives of transgender people, which you can read over at Eclectablog.

I was pleased to pen a post for the ACLU of Michigan blog talking about my experience with this series, and the trans people who have generously shared their stories with honesty and courage. The fact is that transgender people want the same things everyone else does: to be loved, to be valued, to be understood. As more people learn this simple truth, they will come to realize that transgender people deserve the same rights as every other American.

Read my post at the ACLU of Michigan blog.

[Photo collage courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan.]

Love knows no bounds, even gender identity

When you see real love, you know it. And I recently had the honor of telling the story of two women whose love is so powerful, it transcends gender identity.

IMG_0594Amy and Cindy Hunter are two of the couples I profiled as part of promoting The Ultimate LGBT Wedding & Anniversary Expo hosted by Between The Lines, Michigan’s weekly LGBT newspaper.

Although the expo is in its sixth year, this is the first following the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The expo recognizes all the celebrations in the lives of LGBT people and their allies, including anniversaries, baby showers, adoptions, graduations and more.

As part of promoting the event, I had the pleasure of interviewing a number of couples who shared their stories of longtime commitments and what marriage equality means to them. But Amy and Cindy’s story is unique. They were married in 2003, when Amy was still living uncomfortably as the male she’d been assigned at birth. Three years later, her love for Cindy finally gave her the courage to say what she’d known in her heart all along: she knew herself to be a woman.

Their story not only demonstrates the depth of true love, it sheds light on the lives of transgender people — who are gaining greater visibility, but not always in a positive way. Transgender people face significant discrimination, largely because others simply don’t understand who they are deep inside.

Even with marriage equality, LGBT people — especially transgender people — still don’t have full equality in America, so the work continues. Part of that work means educating the public on what gender identity is. So it is my hope that while celebrating love, I can help reveal the truth that transgender people want the same things as everyone else: love and acceptance.

Read the full story here as it appeared in the special wedding edition of Between The Lines.

[Photo courtesy of Amy and Cindy Hunter.]

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