Morgan Farrington is an Alabama-based founder and leader of the harm reduction organization Goodworks. Throughout their work, they’ve met many LGBTQ people who have faced layers of discrimination due to stigma and a lack of state and federal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as people with HIV who have faced discrimination based on their health status. Many of their clients have been shunned by their families and communities, and forced into isolation with no support.
Morgan has met HIV-positive people who have been fired from their jobs simply because of their status and because their employers did not want to educate or build understanding among their coworkers. In addition, Morgan points out that LGBTQ Americans living with HIV are also often denied housing or evicted, or even sometimes denied emergency shelter due to discrimination, leading to increased rates of homelessness. Many shelters that do work in Morgan’s Alabama region voluntarily exclude LGBTQ and HIV-positive people.
Finally, LGBTQ Americans living with HIV also face barriers to medical care because of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Morgan points out that rural health care options are limited especially in the deep South, and anonymity is impossible. Morgan believes that federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation like the Equality Act would drastically improve the lives of their clients and send a clear message of acceptance and fair treatment for all.