Editor’s Note: The Foundation is seeking to grow its community of LGBTQ+ people of color touched by Parkinson’s disease. If interested, please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the best contact information to reach you. We may share your story in future communications.
In honor of Pride Month — a time to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in our hometown of New York City, and the worldwide impact of the LGBTQ+ community — MJFF has once again draped our logo in the colors of Pride and is featuring stories from LGBTQ+ people living with Parkinson’s.
This year Pride Month saw an important legal victory in the form of the pivotal U.S. Supreme Court ruling protecting gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Jim McNasby, MJFF’s Chief People Officer and General Counsel, diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1999 at age 30 commented:
“People with PD have enough to navigate in the workplace without being fearful of losing their job because of who they love. As an equal opportunity employer and one that seeks and celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion, MJFF stands firmly in support of the Bostock ruling.”
John L. Lipp, a Parkinson’s advocate, writer and nonprofit executive based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, discusses his experiences in a Foundation guest blog, “Just Another Lucky Man”
“Sometimes at Parkinson's events, I am introduced as a ‘patient’ and Peter is introduced as my ‘caregiver.’ I'd like to eradicate that language once and for all. Words matter in how we describe and see ourselves, and they evolve and adapt with us over time. I don't see myself as a ‘patient,’ but as a person living with Parkinson's; active, independent and equal. I don't see Peter as my ‘caregiver,’ but as my husband; active, independent and equal.”
Carol Whitlatch, a Fox Insight trial participant and research scientist at Cleveland’s Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, notes that LGBTQ+ individuals deal with not just one, but two “closets,” and talks about why she decided to come out as a proactive member of the Parkinson’s community:
“Together we will beat this disease more quickly than if we work separately. And I want to be part of that.”