Supporting a community does not necessarily mean that you must be a member of it, and this is true for the LGBTQ+ community. Being an ally and showing support goes a long way in creating a positive environment for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. Due to discrimination and micro-aggressions, many members of the LGBTQ+ community feel like they do not have a support system from those outside of their community. Learn more about how you can support the LGBTQ+ community:
Behavioral Health and Health Care Professionals:
Unfortunately, many members of the LGBTQ+ community experience discrimination from health care professionals. Creating a safe and inclusive environment for those of the LGBTQ+ community will go a long way in making these individuals feel comfortable receiving care. Due to discrimination and homophobia in the community, many members of the LGBTQ+ community are extremely observant and receptive of subtle clues if they are safe to open up or not. Consider hanging safe space stickers in your offices to make these individuals feel comfortable. Other ways to make sure your office is inclusive are: learning patients’ pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them); paper work using terms like “partner” instead of wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend, among other things. If you and your staff are looking to be more inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, consider participating in trainings and taking time to learn more about the issues surrounding the community.
Friends and Family:
Be an ally to those you know who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more about what it means to people through reading, observing, consuming media, and listening. It’s okay to not understand or know everything about the LGBTQ+ community especially right away, but trying your best to learn is a great start. If there is a term or a policy that you don’t understand, take time to research and learn more about it. Never make assumptions about a person’s gender or sexual identity, doing so can cause a person to feel invalidated or uncomfortable. Most importantly, be supportive. Your support means a lot to your loved ones and makes them feel safe and comfortable, which increases their quality of life.
Coming Together as a Community:
Working together as a community of individuals makes everyone feel safe regardless of their race, gender identification, or sexual orientation, and goes a long way into making a healthy and safe community for all. Be aware of how your community may make people feel, not just those who identify as LGBTQ+, but everyone who is a part of your community.
To learn more about the barriers that members of the LGBTQ+ community face click here.
To learn more about the behavioral health challenges LGBTQ+ individuals face click here.
Additional Resources and Support: