Last month, Ryancare threatened to suspend affordable healthcare for 24 million Americans, including myself. I was at risk of paying $900 per month for my monthly medications. This fight was a matter of life and death, not just for me, but for millions of Americans.
When I heard Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum was hosting a public forum at UCLA to discuss a path forward under a newly elected President Trump, I was there front and center. Lorri L. Jean was there representing the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which happened to be where I’d been getting my PrEP and my anti-seizure medication — filled for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act. I realized my community was already involved in this fight. I was in the fight whether I liked it or not.
Luckily, Jean said four words that no one else on that distinguished panel uttered: “We have a plan.” I got up from my seat right then and there, walked out to the lobby, and signed up for the Center’s “Month of Mobilization” Leadership Lab to help fight to protect the ACA. I walked back to my seat feeling more empowered than I had in years. Did I feel prepared? Hell, no. Did I think we would collectively take down an entire healthcare bill? I could only hope so.
Then, we did! With one more phone-banking session lined up, we defeated Ryancare ahead of schedule. So, like any good sport, I’ve taken stock of what worked and what didn’t. Turns out, everything that worked had to do with one very unexpected strength: My experience as a gay person.
Here are a list of lessons I learned of how we won — and how we will win going forward.