Planned Parenthood Taking Flak for LGBT Outreach

Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, which is an affiliate located in upstate New York, has been taking flak (reports here and here) for this billboard:

A local politician objected to this billboard, which is part of the organization’s programming under a five-year grant from the State of New York to address documented health disparities in rural LGBT communities, because the message “seems to be in support of same sex marriage and using tax payer dollars to support that political agenda.” And this even though the billboard makes absolutely no mention of marriage and touts Planned Parenthood, a health care provider, as being “here” and “proudly serving the LGBT community.”

Maureen Kelly, vice president of programming and communications for Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, reported that, aside from this politician’s remarks, the opposition to the billboard did not focus on same-sex marriage but “on broader opposition to the ‘gay lifestyle.’ ” Among the comments from locals on the news:

“I don’t agree with the gay community it has something to with the kids.  I don’t want my kids seeing something like that.”

“I think it should be a man and a woman.  It’s adam and eve not adam and steve.  I wouldn’t pay attention to it.”

Fortunately, not all of the response has been negative, political, and playing into stereotypes:

Despite the outcry, Kelly said most of the feedback since February has been positive. The campaign represents the first time Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes has ever presented a billboard to rally the LGBT population around access to health care.

“There’s been a whole swell of fabulous people from around town,” she said. “We have enough both anecdotal and e-mail feedback about how much it means to people.”

-Tony Infanti

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