Reflection Submitted by ACHE of MA D.E.I. Committee Member:
Basel Tarab. M.D., M.B.E., M.H.A.
If I had been asked 15 years ago what I knew and how I felt about Pride Month, I would not have been able to put many words together to describe it because I did not know much about it. Born and raised in the Middle East, the culture had boundaries that inhibited our ability to openly learn about and recognize the LGBTQIA+ community.
In fact, I cannot recall meeting any individual who publicly belonged to the LGBTQIA+ community at the time. Since coming to the U.S., I have started to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate the progress the LGBTQIA+ community has achieved to get to where they are now and for LGBTQAI+ allies like myself to show support and solidarity. Celebrating Pride Month is a reminder to me as a D.E.I activist and leader that visibility is a powerful tool to achieve and protect rights. As an immigrant with an extensive global network, it is not unusual for me to be asked about the LGBTQIA+ community, and it is not a secret that many of these questions and conversations are not very friendly. I usually ask back: remove the word LGBTQIA+, replace it with your race, ethnicity, and religion, and tell me how you would feel?
I personally have come a long way in my learning journey- and am aware that I have further yet to go. I strongly believe that education, open conversations, and visibility are what we need to ensure that everyone’s right in our society is protected, including LGBTQIA+ members. A society that is inclusive of all its members and is protective of all of its members’ rights is a society that we all strive to build and maintain, and Pride Month is an opportunity to do that.
As I reflect on Pride Month, I am grateful to all of the wonderful LGBTQIA+ friends and colleagues who have educated me to be where I am now, as well as thankful for all of the progress we have made in our society.