Last night, Planned Parenthood of New York City hosted their annual Spring gala and all your faves were there — such as St. Vincent, Richie Shazam, Alok Vaid Menon, Sarah Silverman, Chani Nicholas, Out cover photographer Marilyn Minter, art issue guest-editor Kimberly Drew, and many from the Out team.
With drag performances and a candy bar, the standout moment from the evening featured Queer Eye’s culture mentor Karamo Brown honoring the one and only Deja Foxx who was recently named the “new face” of Planned Parenthood by the Washington Post.
“She is probably one of the most extraordinary young people I have ever met and talked to in my life,” Brown tells Out, who noted that as soon as he got the invite to introduce the 19-year-old activist, he hopped on the next plane to New York. “The challenges that she’s been through is a testament to what it means to have a positive spirit, be driven, and never letting any of your ideas being left behind.”
Foxx, whose advocacy in reproductive healthcare gained national attention after she confronted Senator Jeff Flake at a town hall on why it would be his decision on whether a woman should choose Planned Parenthood.
“I’m so thrilled to be here with you all tonight to support Planned Parenthood of New York City, an incredible organization that does so much good for all of our communities, including LGBTQ communities,” Brown said, in his opening remarks for the honoree. “It is no secret that LGBTQ communities face greater difficulty in health care access and receiving competent care. And despite existing protections, LGBTQ people face disturbing rates of health care discrimination—from harassment and humiliation by providers to being turned away by hospitals, pharmacists, and doctors.”
Brown went on to remark that reproductive rights have always been a queer issue, and noted the substantially higher amount of discrimination LGBTQ+ people of color get from healthcare.
“And it’s not just the discrimination and lack of access, it’s the stigma that does so much harm. Stigma surrounding HIV, in particular, is still a public health issue —with many who need care not receiving it because of shame or fear. And now we have PrEP and PEP, which is incredible, but these medications come with stigma too,” Brown said.
Planned Parenthood of New York City, Brown noted, has played a significant part in fighting HIV stigma when providing PrEP, as well as providing healthcare options for queer and transgender people. The latter, specifically, often encountera number of barriers when seeking transition-related healthcare.
Foxx, who would like to one day run for president, shared her story to the crowd. “At just 15, I borrowed my boyfriend at the time’s car and drove the 45 min to Planned Parenthood with no insurance, no parents, and no money, but with a determination to take control of my reproductive health and my future. I was treated with respect and care and walked away with 6 months of birth control at no cost to me,” she said.
“I want more moments like this one for girls like me,” she said. “I want to challenge you to imagine the world in this way and act accordingly. What would you do differently if you truly believed that when people like me do better, you do better too?”