June is Pride Month in the United States. It is a time in which people take a stand against discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and promote dignity, equality, and visibility of this community. During this time, many cities will be holding events ranging from rallies to parades to not only celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance, but also to serve as a reminder of the work that needs to be done to foster equal treatment for LGBT people. As a medical provider, you have the unique role of advancing this cause – from educating your colleagues on the health needs of this population to advocating for policies that protect their health and well-being. If you’re interested in serving the LGBT community as a medical provider, here are some ways you can show this community your commitment to their health and well-being.
There will be numerous LGBT Pride events occurring the month of June and even throughout the summer in the United States. They can occur in cities big and small, and they can even be in the city you work in. Visibility matters for LGBT youth. Eight percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people report that a health care provider refused to see them because of their sexual orientation and 29% of transgender people report that their health care providers refused to see them because of their gender identity or expression.1 Therefore, LGBT people will expect discrimination everywhere they go.2
Being present at a Pride event signals to the community that you are willing to serve LGBT people. Many Pride events will allow hospitals and clinics to have a table at the event, but keep in mind that many will prioritize organizations that specifically cater to the LGBT community or that are owned and operated by members of the community. Another way to show the community that you will treat LGBT people with dignity and respect is to list your practice in a database for LGBT-friendly providers. The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association keeps a
Be a part of LGBT Pride
Many LGBT Pride events are supported by local community organizations, most of which are nonprofits. They will need the necessary resources to keep holding these events every year. These resources can include both time and money. Consider donating your time by volunteering at these Pride events. For example, many Pride events hold health screenings, and you can use your skills and knowledge to promote the well-being of the LGBT community. At the same time, make sure that the PRIDE event is created to help serve the community. There is controversy over the commercialization of LGBT Pride events, as some corporate sponsors have been inconsistent in advocating for the LGBT community. Some feel that the commercialization of LGBT Pride ignores the original purpose of the event as a political movement.3 Do some research to make sure that your donation is going to an LGBT Pride event that serves the whole community, not just certain segments of it, and if you feel that it is not, you may consider donating to other LGBT-serving organizations in your community.