Inherent in the membership of SGIM is a desire for justice. We learned in 2010 when Arizona passed SB 1070, an anti-immigration law, that physicians in SGIM had passion and refused to stay silent. Florida’s passing of the Parental Rights in Education Act (aka the “Don’t Say Gay” Act) caused deep concern among our membership. The large media protest that we staged back in 2010 served as our blueprint today. With little time to prepare, we arranged for a photo protest (a social media focused advocacy event) at the 2022 SGIM National Meeting in Orlando on April 8th. We contacted a Florida SGIM member with advocacy experience in Florida, involved the LGBTQ interest group, and arranged a meeting with the Committee to Protect Healthcare (CTP), a local advocacy group. Communications were frequent—CTP provided logistical support, social media guidance, and media linkages. Our executive committee and program committee provided on-site logistical support, SGIM staff organized and arranged key locations for our protest, aligned us with Disney hotel policy, and communication between the executive committee and program committee. The leadership of the LGBTQ interest group activated their members, provided extensive promotions, accelerated our social media imprint, and activated attendees. Together at our event, more than 200 members outside the Disney hotel shouted, “We say gay!” “We say trans!”. We were picked up by six local television stations with an estimated viewership of 95,377. This event will forever be imprinted in my memory and many others.
Special thanks to Drs. Jennifer Cowart, Jennifer Siegal, Christopher Terndrup, and Carl Streed! Thank you!