By Kären Robinson, LPC, Mental Health and Wellness Counselor
As we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, we’d like to highlight some ways we can support the LGBTQ+ community as allies and health professionals. At RVU, one of our core values is recognizing and prizing the worth and dignity of all persons. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ individuals have experiences with the healthcare system that lead to lesser quality of care. Here are a few things you can do to support the LGBTQ+ community and increase your competency with this population:
- Listen to LGBTQ+ stories of their experiences in the healthcare system.
- Educate yourself on the broad spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity. A great place to start is getting to know LGBTQ+ vocabulary and the genderbread person.
- Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
- Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
- Anti-LGBT comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family, and co-workers know that you find them offensive.
- Don’t assume that all your friends and co-workers are cisgender and heterosexual. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.
- Learn about the coming out process and how to support someone if they come out to you.
- Learn about the importance of pronouns and build them into how you introduce yourself to others.
- Learn about and recognize the intersectionality of LGBTQ+ identities and other aspects of identity such as race, age, disability status, and immigrant status.
- Ensure that you create an LGBTQ+-friendly practice.
- Engage in continuing education about LGBTQ+ health issues.
These additional resources spotlight national and local organizations advocating for the LGBTQ+ community:
- The LGBT National Help Center
- Global Pride 2020
- The Trevor Project
- The Trans Lifeline
- LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Health & Well-being Guide