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Put people first in health care


"Put People First PA gives voice to everyday people who are struggling to meet our basic needs. We define our basic needs as things we need to live healthy and fulfilling lives — things like education, housing, health care, jobs at living wages, food, and a healthy environment.
We’re a membership organization made up mostly of people who know from our life experience that poor and working people need to unite and have a voice. No one else is going to do it for us. We’re building, county by county, all across Pennsylvania. We’re urban and rural. We’re multiracial. We’re politically independent. Until we unite, we don’t have the power to change things."

From web site

If PPF is successful, what will the organization have accomplished?
"Put People First PA is a human rights organization. Our current campaign is for healthcare as a human right, which means we are fighting for every person, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, body type, employment status, citizenship, nationality, religion, incarceration status/history, to have the right to free, competent, respectful and comprehensive healthcare.

We also know that access to healthcare does not exist in a vacuum, and that our right to health also means we have the right to housing, food, education, a clean environment, and freedom from violence. We will fight for all of these things alongside and concurrent with our fight for healthcare.

We measure success in campaign victories that build our power to secure those rights in Pennsylvania, but also more broadly in how our membership is empowered to stand up and claim our humanity and the rights that (should) come with it.

PPF’s audience is …
PPF is a membership organization driven almost entirely by volunteers across Pennsylvania who have a personal stake in our work. Our audience, like our membership, is people who are let down and hurt by the current healthcare system, including poor, working, sick, and disabled people from every area of the state.

Members come from?
PPF has numerous active membership hubs in Central PA (York, Lancaster, Dauphin, Berks, Northumberland, and Adams Counties), Western PA (Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Fayette County), and Southeastern PA (Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery Counties), and active members scattered across other areas of the state. There are queer and/or trans people on every local and statewide team and committee of PPF.

What's the LGBT message regarding PPF's work?
Through a toxic combination of discrimination, neglect, and inaccessibility, our current healthcare system constantly fails queer and trans (Q/T) people of all kinds: LGBQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer), transgender, gender non-conforming, and more.

Depending on your location, financial means, and insurance network, it can be difficult (or impossible) to find doctors who are competent and nonjudgmental in addressing the unique medical and cultural needs of Q/T people. This widespread lack of competency leads to medical neglect that creates higher rates of illness and death, which are only intensified for Q/T people with intersecting identities (like Q/T people of color, or Q/T immigrants) or compounding medical needs (like Q/T disabled or chronically ill people).

Additionally, because queer and trans people (especially Q/T people of color) have higher rates of poverty and unemployment than straight and cisgender people, we are also more likely to be impacted by all the ways the healthcare system fails poor and unemployed/underemployed people as a whole.

We don’t have a message for the LGBTQ+ community, because we are that community. We center queer and trans healthcare stories in our work, we lift up and develop our queer and trans leadership, and we partner with more explicitly queer organizations like Act UP, Philly Queer Brunch, and Equality Fest in York to deepen our roots in queer and trans justice.

PPF has queer and trans members and leaders across the state because this is an organization and a learning community that welcomes people in the full truth of their struggles and their identities, learns and lifts up each other’s stories, and fights for each other’s humanity.

Answers to the above questions were prepared by –
Maddie Taterka, who is a queer, gender non-conforming woman. She uses the pronouns she/her/hers and is Co-Coordinator of the PPF Media & Communications Team.

Hilary O’Connell, who is a queer, non-binary transgender person. Hilary uses the pronouns they/them/theirs. They are a member of the PPF Campaign Team.

Carla Christopher, who is a queer/lesbian woman. Carla uses the pronouns she/her/hers and is the Central PA Regional Coordinator for PPF. She is also lead organizer for York’s Equality Fest.