Rest in Power: Urvashi Vaid, the Queer Movement’s Legendary Firebrand

There has never been a queer leader like Urvashi Vaid. Until her death of metastatic breast cancer on May 14 at age 63, she spent the better part of five decades fighting injustice. Principle drove Urvashi in almost everything she did. She exploded onto the scene with a dynamism that has never been equaled since.

“The lesbian agenda is the reconstruction of families … the reimagining of power … the reorganization of the economic system … the reinforcement of civil rights and dignity for all people … the end of the oppression of women, the end of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia … the reestablishment of a proper relationship to our environment. … When I list this laundry list of oppression, it does not overwhelm me; it tells me how far I have to go in my struggle; it tells me who my allies are.”

The Pregnancy Test: Cancer Treatment in a Post-Roe America

On the morning of May 2, hours before the leaked Supreme Court draft striking down Roe v. Wade, I sat waiting for an infusion of Herceptin, an essential drug I was prescribed when diagnosed with breast cancer. Herceptin has saved countless women’s lives since 1990, but it can cause fetal harm.

I was denied medical care until I could prove I wasn’t pregnant. Where was my agency in this situation? And what if I had been pregnant? Would I have been denied the very drug that saved my life and which protects my future—which ensures that my young children will continue to have a mother—in order to protect a pregnancy I did not want or plan to keep?

Losing Roe v. Wade Is a Matter of Global Significance

Where we have tended to divide the United States artificially from the rest of the globe on issues of human rights, we can do so no longer. When Roe falls here, it will reverberate around the world. And as country after country laps us on the route to progress, that will reverberate here in turn.

Maybe in the wake of Roe’s demise, we will take inspiration from our global colleagues and muster, at long last, the collective resolve needed to craft a permanent legislative solution preserving the right to choose safe abortion.

The Trailblazer Who Ensured Women With Breast Cancer Had a Choice

When Babette Rosmond published her book The Invisible Worm 50 years ago, it was a daring act of courage and a call to arms to all women with breast cancer, beseeching them to ask their doctors about treatment options instead of passively accepting a radical mastectomy.

The book was funny, as Rosmond manages to weave her dog’s sex life and her love of the Beatles into the story of her cancer. But it was serious as well. A patient—especially a woman—questioning male surgeons was revolutionary for the time. The Invisible Worm, she stated, was not solely about a lumpectomy but rather personal choice.

Cancer and COVID: Avoiding Delays In Treatment and Research Saves Lives and Families—Including Mine

Decreased screening rates and fear of COVID has delayed cancer diagnoses for many, delaying treatment and possibly worsening outcomes for cancer patients. Pandemic related reduction of cancer research and treatment threatens to derail future efforts to find more effective detection and treatment methods. Similar to COVID-19, the disparities have disproportionately impacted communities of color.