By Briita Nelson, PT
We are very excited to celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of our healthcare community and patients. As a queer individual working in this field, I feel truly honored and privileged to represent such a beautiful community of humans. Reflecting on my own journey, I recall a time when I didn’t see many queer individuals in healthcare. I never imagined that being openly gay in the workplace would be possible for me.
When I embarked on my PT school journey in Seattle, I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusivity demonstrated by my professors. They actively acknowledged and respected different pronouns and taught us to do the same for our patients. This experience left a profound impact on me on my journey towards being a more inclusive clinician.
Today, I am incredibly grateful to work for a company that not only embraces but also celebrates members of the LGBTQIAP2S+ community. Our organization shows support through our ERG and DEIB groups, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a welcoming environment.
As a queer individual, I understand the importance of seeking out safe spaces. When we need care, we look for signals that indicate inclusivity and acceptance. This could be evident on a healthcare provider’s website, within their physical office, or through positive word of mouth within our community. We want to know that the people we trust with our well-being are not only competent but also understanding and respectful of our diverse identities.
To support our queer co-workers and patients, there are simple yet impactful actions we can take. Start by wishing them a heartfelt “happy Pride,” acknowledging and celebrating their identities. It is essential to use correct pronouns when addressing our colleagues and patients, as this shows respect for their individuality. Furthermore, we foster a culture of curiosity and openness by asking questions and showing a genuine desire to learn more about their experiences. By creating an environment of acceptance, celebration, and continuous learning, we ensure that everyone feels valued and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work.
If you are looking for ways to be an ally, click on this link to order a safe space name badge sticker, reflect on infographics that highlight experiences from LGBTQIAP2S+ people, or read more here learn more about the history of Pride and action steps we can take.
Happy Pride Month to all!