Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



In the Life Examines Doctors and Anti-Gay Bias

This article shared 2938 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

By Charlsie Dewey

'Voices of Pride, In the Life's Pride month episode, scheduled to air in Chicago on WTTW-11, on June 25 at 12:30 a.m., asks the question, 'Can religious belief serve as a justifiable mechanism for discrimination?'

The episode examines the case of Guadalupe Benitez v. North Coast Women's Care Medical Group, which is now before the California Supreme Court, and could serve as a national precedent as to whether doctors may refuse to treat gay people equally with other people based on religious belief.

Benitez and her partner, Joanne Clark, claim to have experienced discrimination 11 years ago when the couple set out to have children. Benitez approached the North Coast Women's Care Group, the only service provider offering the necessary fertility treatments covered by her insurance, expecting to be treated just like any other woman wanting to have a child. However, she realized very quickly in the office of Dr. Christine Brody that she was a lesbian who wanted to have a child.

When Brody learned of Benitez's sexuality, she told Benitez that if it came to intrauterine insemination, she would be unable to perform the procedure due to her beliefs. She also assured Benitez that someone else in the office would be able to do the procedure.

After failed attempts to become pregnant, intrauterine insemination did become necessary, but no doctor within the North Coast Women's Care Group would perform the procedure because of religious objections.

Clark told Windy City Times that the couple never once considered giving up their dream of starting a family and, eventually, they did have a son Gabriel, followed by twins. They also ended up in a legal battle involving religion as grounds for discrimination.

Clark had not experienced discrimination before and she commented, 'I had no idea the depths that it reaches. Personally and psychologically, it destroys you.'

As far as how the couple's life has changed specifically, Clark explained, 'I'll tell you what we do. We make sure that people understand we're gay right up front, and we watch their body language, we watch what they do. … We're more up front with who we are.'

The couple has not fully gotten over what they had to go through and is hoping to win their case so that others will not have to experience the same hurtful discrimination. Clark wants to see the gay community stand up and continue to take strides against discrimination.

Lambda Legal is representing Benitez, and Windy City Times spoke with Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel with Lambda Legal, about the case.

Windy City Times: Legally, what are the important elements in this case as far as what was wrong with North Coast Women's Care Medical Group's handling of the situation?

Jennifer Pizer: North Coast offers specialty treatment for infertility as well as general OB/GYN care. The clinic's staff is required to treat all patients equally based on medical need and not treat some better and some worse based on sexual orientation or other irrelevant personal characteristics that are placed off-limits by California law, as well as medical ethics.

The defendant doctors in the case told Lupita [ Benitez ] they would not treat her the same as other patients because she is a lesbian; that was bad enough. They also misled and manipulated her by promising that other medical staff would provide the treatment she needed ( intrauterine insemination ) , and then delaying that treatment for months and months, having her undergo unnecessary and sometimes painful tests and spending needless time taking powerful fertility drugs, all to avoid doing the simple procedure they perform routinely for other patients.

WCT: If Lupita Benitez wins her case, what will the ramifications be for LGBT folks in the future considering their medical care? What about beyond the LGBT community?

JP: The California Supreme Court has focused its inquiry on whether religious beliefs can be an excuse for discriminating against lesbian and gay patients, but the civil rights law in question also prohibits discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, religion and other personal characteristics. If the doctors do have a right to discriminate as some form of protected exercise of religion, there's every reason to think that a similar religious right to discriminate would exist for those who have religious reasons for wanting to discriminate based on any of those other characteristics. Thus, the potential consequences are enormous for everyone who's vulnerable to discrimination based on others' religious views about them.

WCT: Why do you think this is an important In the Life episode for Pride Month in particular?

JP: First, from a positive direction, it shows how much lesbian and gay couples have the same aspirations to be parents and to create families as heterosexual couples have, and the ways they are seeking medical help to deal with the same medical problems that many women have irrespective of sexual orientation. Second, from a less positive perspective, Lupita and Joanne's story is about the threat posed to basic civil rights by religious conservatives who believe the rules that apply to society generally should not apply to them.

In recent years, there has been a worrisome increase in the number and wealth of the religious/political advocacy groups that are working to eviscerate civil rights protections for LGBT people. Only by increasing community education about these aggressive reactionary groups, and the terrible stakes for our pluralistic society if they continue to succeed, can we hope to build clear and strong resistence to their tactics.

This article shared 2938 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

New study reveals disparities for LGBTQ+ seniors 2021-10-07
- Although many LGBTQ+ seniors have lived through the arc of the LGBTQ-rights movement, they are nevertheless often forgotten in conversations about discrimination. A new study is shedding light on that omission. AARP Illinois and SAGE Research's ...

Gay News

Born Perfect, Enfranchisement release all-star video combating conversion therapy 2021-10-06
--From a press release. Video below - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — BOBBY'S BIG PROBLEM, produced by Born Perfect and Enfranchisement, was released today digitally, featuring a celebrity cast, including Patton Oswalt, D'Arcy Carden, Jasika Nicole, and RB Butcher. The video tells the stor ...

Gay News

LGBTQ blood donation discrimination assessed, PULSE shootings cited 2021-09-21
--From a press release - Chicago, Ill. — Last week, Reps. Mike Quigley (IL-05), Val B. Demings (FL-10), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) received a ...

Gay News

One in ten LGBT workers experienced discrimination at work in the last year 2021-09-07
- LGBT employees of color were more likely to report being denied jobs and verbal harassment A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds an estimated 46% of LGBT workers have experienced ...

Gay News

WORLD Anti-TGNC vote, #VeryGayRaptor, Brazilian governor, Scottish poll 2021-09-05
- In Australia, the government voted down workplace protections for transgender, non-binary and intersex people, reported. The senate was considering the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment ...

Gay News

Ukraine president promises to fight for LGBTQ rights 2021-09-02
- On Sept. 1, the president of Ukraine said his country will continue to fight anti-LGBTQ discrimination, The Washington Blade reported. "With U.S. support, Ukraine will continue to advance respect for human rights, civil liberties and fundamental ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs legislation to prevent hair discrimination in schools 2021-08-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO - On Aug. 13, Gov. JB Pritzker signed Senate Bill 817 into law, prohibiting schools from issuing policies on hairstyles historically associated with race or ethnicity. The legislation addresses injustices in dress code polices and ...

Gay News

Bill would expose schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students 2021-07-29
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) and Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-1), Sharice Davids (KS-3), and Mondaire Jones (NY-17) introduced the Exposing Discrimination in ...

Gay News

VIEWS U.S. Senators: It's time to act against anti-LGBTQ discrimination 2021-07-28
- Georgia has had the eyes of the nation on it for some time now. It's just over five years since people across Georgia braced themselves as lawmakers sent sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation to the desk of then-Governor ...

Gay News

Research: LGBTQ people of color meet more discrimination, Equality Act an urgent need 2021-07-21
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Discrimination inflicts profoundly greater harm on LGBTQ people of color in a wide range of areas, according to recent analysis of scholarly research released by the National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for ...

Gay News

WORLD Poland march, Google's donation, Ireland incidents, True Colors 2021-06-20
- In Poland, thousands marched through central Warsaw on June 19 in an "Equality Parade" demanding an end to discrimination against the LGBT community—amid what campaigners said has been a rising tide of homophobia in the country ...

Gay News

Narrow SCOTUS ruling allows governments to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination, NCLR explains 2021-06-17
--From a NCLR press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the City of Philadelphia violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by failing to give Catholic ...

Gay News

U.S. Department of Education renews commitment to LGBTQ+ students, NCLR applaudes 2021-06-16
--From a NCLR press release - WASHINGTON, DC — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds the U.S. Department of Education's renewed commitment to protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination in our nation's schools and universities. ...

Gay News

Dept. of Education: Title IX also protects LGBTQ students 2021-06-16
- The Department of Education will interpret Title IX—a federal law that protects students from sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools—to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination, according to a federal notice ...

Gay News

Research documents disproportionate harms of discrimination on LGBTQ People of Color 2021-06-16
--From a press release - Today, a coalition of leading LGBTQ rights groups joined together to release the most extensive summaries to date of scholarly data on the intersection of anti-LGBTQ and racial discrimination. The research brief, authored by the What ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.