People in the LGBTQ+ community face persistent stigma, discrimination and violence in America and across the globe today. Historic and systemic marginalization, particularly of people of color, continues to place unfair and unsafe burdens on people for simply being who they are. As we recognize Pride Month 2022, we honor lives lost and work to end this violence while also celebrating the joy and love in the community. With this in mind, I want to take a moment and share my journey as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
First, I need to acknowledge my privilege. I am a cisgender, heterosexual white man. It’s important and necessary for me to recognize the immense privilege these identities afford me. Beyond recognizing this privilege, I must also reflect on the ways I am awarded social capital in a world plagued by continual discrimination against those who are deemed “different.” This is something I urge everyone, particularly people who share my identities, to do – understand, recognize and reflect on the inherent privilege you receive in society.
Being an Ally during Pride Month
During my sophomore year in college, I worked in residence life at my school as an educator and facilitator. In this role, I worked in a peer education program, and I and my teammates provided resources on a range of topics – from safe sexual practices to healthy relationships and other issues affecting campus residents. At this time, the AIDs epidemic was at its height, and my work led me to meet people who had been impacted by the virus. More specifically, I started meeting individuals from the LGBTQ+ community who had personally been impacted by the virus or were close to those that had. I started to learn that members of this wonderful community had been persecuted for who they loved, some of which had contracted HIV and lived with a dangerous stigma for being HIV positive. As I listened and learned more, my eyes opened to what others who lived with that inequity experienced and had to embrace daily. Since then, I’ve committed to being an ally to this community.
The term “ally” is used frequently, and while there is some debate about its true significance, I use it here the way the Human Rights Campaign defines being an LGBTQ+ community ally: “[helping] build understanding and comfort.” This is something I try to embody and live by in both my professional and personal life. I hold myself to a high level of responsibility as an ally to extend this understanding and comfort to all.
Celebrating Pride Month 2022
During Pride Month, we celebrate a unique and diverse humanity united in love and community. This is a dedicated time for education and support, and it’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to amplifying voices in the LGBTQ+ community. However, we would be remiss to assume this is only a month-long celebration and recognition. LGBTQ+ people live their lives each day of the year, and it’s important we carry forward our allyship beyond Pride Month. We must commit to listening, learning and amplifying from those in the community daily.
I want to make it crystal clear that this is not about me or any ally for that matter. The recognition and celebration this month and all year go to those in the LGBTQ+ community. Because of this, I’m including resources from organizations that work year-round to ensure the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people everywhere. Find more resources from the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, PFLAG and GLAAD.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TeamHealth
As allies, as teammates, and as fellow human beings, we can all strive to cultivate an empathetic worldview. I am constantly learning from others, and I strive to continually grow in compassion and empathy. Professionally, I am honored and personally humbled to serve on the TeamHealth Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee alongside amazing change-makers in healthcare.
Recently, our DEI Committee announced an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group to provide resources to those in the community and to educate those who join in support. Read more about the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group and learn about our DEI commitments.