Close this search box.

I Stride for Gender Affirming Care – Shay and Pam’s Strides for Action Story

Image of Shay and Pam with text I Stride for Gender Affirming Care

AIDS Walk Boston is now Fenway Health’s LGBTQIA+ fundraiser, Strides for Action! We hope to see many of you on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at 8 AM for a 5k walk or fun run at Carson Beach in South Boston. Your participation in this event will help support HIV/AIDS research and care, gender-affirming care, mental and behavioral health services, teens and young adults experiencing homelessness, and aging LGBTQIA+ adults.

Shay and their mom, Pam, are among the people who will be walking with us this year. You can learn more about their stories below and sign up to join us at

Shay’s story

During the pandemic, I realized I’m non-binary. As we were returning to school, I slowly came out to my friends and family. Each new step of coming out was really intimidating and scary: coming out at summer camp, returning to school after coming out in the summer, and going to synagogue where people have known me since I was born. Thankfully, there were many people who loved, embraced, and accepted me.

My mom helped me find resources to address my dysphoria. These small things made me feel so much better about myself. I am lucky to live in the Boston suburbs – a liberal place with many resources. I have many LGBTQIA+ friends, teachers, and mentors.

At school, I was co-president of the Gender Equity Club (GEC). We joined the GSA to present at a faculty meeting to teach about the importance of all-gender bathrooms and proper pronoun usage. Our club advocated for equality for ALL genders. We worked hard to increase access to all gender bathrooms. At our Gender Equity Day (a day with panels and presentations about gender equity) I presented about the history of pockets – one of my favorite topics. Pockets in clothing have a long history and are a great example of the gendering of clothing.

My high school recognized my efforts by giving my co-president and me the Principal’s award. I am proud that my high school valued and highlighted our efforts and contributions.

My mom and I marched in this year’s Pride Parade with Fenway. It was great to see so much of the Boston population show up and celebrate queerness.

Pam’s story

I had always wanted to work at Fenway Health to better serve the LGBTQIA+ population. Fortunately, that opportunity presented itself, when a friend who works at Fenway told me about a job opening. I applied to be Family Medicine director, was hired, and started at Fenway Health in February 2023. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow the family medicine department and provide gender affirming health care, particularly to adolescents. I understand first-hand the emotions of one’s child being trans – supporting them through the difficulties of coming out, the pain of gender dysphoria, and the profound joy of reaching each goal along the journey of gender affirmation.

When my kid and their friend won the principal’s award at their school for their gender equity work, my bittersweet tears flowed. I felt such gratitude that they were at a school where they were seen, valued, and celebrated. And I recalled the challenges and pain underlying these accomplishments.

My heart hurts with each bill or law I read about in this country or world that curtails or tries to deny the rights of LGBTQIA+ people to exist and thrive. For me, it wasn’t enough to wring my hands and stand on the sidelines. I needed to be part of the solution. Every time I send a prescription for a gender affirming medication, or make a referral for a gender affirming surgery, I experience a moment of joy. Every time a patient and I discuss their gender identity or sexual health I am grateful that I can be present and respectful, and honor that patient’s experience in a way that I hope breaks down stigma and mitigates prior traumatic experiences.

Every time I share with someone in my life that I now work for Fenway Health – and I describe Fenway’s mission – I feel proud to work for this organization, with its mission to address the inequities in care for LGBTQIA+ and BiPOC people.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Want to receive email updates about what’s happening at Fenway Health? 

Share this post with your friends

Translate »