This month we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on the world. LGBT groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and other group gatherings. The Pandemic has caused many people to return home to families that may not be supportive of them. The pandemic hit full swing a couple months prior to Pride in 2020 and many LGBT college students were left with the decision to move back home with unsupportive families and have had to quarantine with those families over the last year. This Pride month is probably going to be the first opportunity many young LGBTQA+ people will have to be in a supportive environment. While we celebrate Pride, we should be wary of those around us who are fighting a silent struggle for their own identity and pay careful attention to those who may be suffering in silence.
Many young LGBTQA+ youth would rather be homeless than in an environment that is toxic to them. YOF provides the basic and urgent needs for them and get them connected to age-appropriate services. Safe Homes (http://safehomesma.org) is a program ran by LGBTQA+ youth and supported by adult volunteers who offer support and resources in central MA.
The biggest hurdle for young LGBTQA+ people is when they need these urgent services, they are not ‘plugged in’ enough to find them or they don’t have the support networks. My personal experience is the biggest hurdles are compounded by a lack, or dissolution, of a healthy support network. Pride is more than the colorful parades and the great music, it’s about the community being loud enough that those who are suffering in silence can still hear us. Those that may be cut off from any support network are in the biggest danger and the community has not been able to reach them all. As healthcare professionals, everyone should be aware of and knowledgeable of the many resources that can help these vulnerable people.
At the VA, we have set up two guest speakers to address staff members on how to work with nonbinary patients and supporting the transgender community. These are two subsections of the LGBTQA+ community that are often overshadowed by others in the community:
- Eli Benevides – Being Nonbinary in a Binary System – June 9, 2021 @ 12:00
- Landon Callahan – Supporting the Transgender Community: Best Policies and Practices – June 23, 2021 @ 12:00
Learn more about the programs here!
Daniel Abeyta, MHA
Health System Specialist – Medical Service
VA Boston Healthcare System