DAP Health Continues to Fight for LGBTQ+ Health Equity
At the 2023 Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival, the organization will celebrate its long history of championing health care access for the queer community.
As it has done since the first Greater Palm Springs Pride in 1986, DAP Health will raise its rainbow flags high in the air and proudly participate in the 37th annual iteration of the event, to be held November 2 to 5.
With the recent integration of Borrego Health, DAP Health’s team now consists of 850 dedicated health care professionals serving 100,000 diverse patients in 240 of Southern California’s rural and urban zip codes, from the Salton Sea to San Diego.
In addition to hosting its DAP Health Wellness Pavilion along Palm Canyon Drive (directly across the street from Lulu California Bistro) — from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 4 and from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 5 — more than a hundred of the organization’s employees, patients, donors, volunteers, board members, and other supporters are expected to march shoulder to shoulder in the Sunday morning Pride Parade.
“Participating in Greater Palm Springs Pride is always a personal highlight of the fall season, not just for me, but for everyone who calls DAP Health home in one fashion or another,” says longtime CEO David Brinkman. “At DAP Health, we have always fought for the LGBTQ+ community, championing health care access for nearly four decades. Our acquisition of Borrego Health hasn’t weakened our commitment; it’s fortified our resolve.
“With our expanded size and reach, we pack a mightier punch in our quest for health care justice. Our unified voice, advocating for our communities alongside elected officials, is now louder than ever, and our team of dedicated care providers has grown threefold. We believe health care should know no boundaries. Our goal is to continue to honor the memory of those lost to HIV/AIDS by removing barriers, and by creating a more just world through equitable access.”
Employees from the nonprofit’s 25 clinics will carry signs emblazoned with the name of their home location. Others will carry placards sporting such slogans as “Mental Health is Health Care,” “LGBTQ+ Care is Health Care,” and “Drag is Love” (the catchphrase printed on DAP Health’s official 2023 Pride Parade T-shirt).
Riding in a vehicle just ahead of the group will be Donald Beck, one of the founders of Desert AIDS Project (as the nonprofit was originally known) who is this year’s recipient of Greater Palm Springs Pride’s Spirit of Stonewall Lifetime Achievement Award.
Loudly announcing DAP Health’s presence will be a large assortment of blue/robin’s egg, purple/lavender, and orange/red balloons respectively spelling out the D-A-P of the organization’s acronym and hoisted high above a banner that will read “Together for Better Health,” a nod to DAP Health recently absorbing the Borrego Health system.
Also part of the DAP Health delegation, riding in a vintage convertible in glorious full drag, will be Les Dames du Soleil Dottie & Maude (AKA Douglas Woodmansee and Marshall Pearcy). The tribute is designed to honor the longtime married couple of entertainers — who were at the forefront of early HIV/AIDS efforts, raising much-needed funds for DAP at the dawn of the epidemic, when other resources and supporters were scarce — for their vital role in DAP Health’s history of LGBTQ+ activism.
“Long before our community had the economic and political strength we now proudly possess, before the emergence of LGBTQ+ advocacy or health care organizations, drag queens were tirelessly raising funds for our cause, one dollar at a time,” says DAP Health Chief of Brand Marketing Steven Henke. “They courageously championed our rights and well-being until we found the strength to fight for ourselves. We should never forget the legacy they forged in high heels.”
As for the Wellness Pavilion, it will be staffed with employees and volunteers from DAP Health’s community health department, who will be providing full, free sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, harm reduction services, and general outreach. Representatives will also be talking with attendees about the free pregnancy testing and birth control consultations now available at its sexual wellness clinics.
The Pavilion will also be home to a Recovery Oasis, where revelers can pick up information about DAP Health’s host of recovery services, including various meetings and its Outpatient Drug-Free (ODF ) program.