Jul 31, 2019 PROUD Family Health To Be Renamed in Memory of Transgender Activist Babs Siperstein

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset will rename its PROUD Family Health in memory of transgender activist Barbra “Babs” Casbar Siperstein. The hospital will hold a special celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the Palace at Somerset Park to honor Siperstein’s memory and unveil new signage for PROUD Family Health.

“As a trailblazer in the area of LGBTQ+ health, we are excited to carry the name of another trailblazer – Babs Siperstein – who was a tireless advocate in advancing LGBTQ+ rights,” said Tony Cava, president and chief executive officer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “We will continue her legacy by providing a safe space where everyone can get the health care they need and is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

PROUD Family Health, which opened in 2017, was the first in New Jersey to provide specialized primary care services for the LGBTQ+ community. Its services include hormone therapy and monitoring; HIV care; referrals for specialty services; health education and counseling. The center recently moved to new space on the hospital’s campus with additional staff and is open five days per week. The hospital also offers a monthly support group for family members of transgender individuals.

Siperstein, a native of Jersey City, became the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) when she was appointed in 2009. She served on the DNC’s executive committee from 2011 to 2017 and was a superdelegate for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Siperstein’s influence in the LGBTQ community earned her the top ranking in Insider NJ’s OUT 100 Power List in 2018. She was the former vice president of Garden State Equality and former political director for Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey. In addition, she served as a board member of the New Jersey Stonewall Democrats and deputy vice chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. She led efforts to include transgender rights in legislation concerning anti-bullying, bias crimes and employment, housing and public accommodations non-discrimination as well as advocated for a ban on conversion therapy and ending discrimination in health care.

In 2018, shortly before Siperstein’s death at age 76, New Jersey passed legislation in her name allowing residents to change their gender on their birth certificate without providing proof of gender-confirming surgery.

For more information about the PROUD Family Health renaming celebration on Oct. 30, including ticket and sponsorship information, contact Somerset Health Care Foundation at 908-685-2885.