Celebrating Pride Month and Caring For LGBTQ+ Youth
Our Promise states that every child’s life is sacred and the prevention of harm to our patients is paramount. Sexual and gender minority youth have a higher prevalence and odds of poor mental health outcomes, suicidality, substance abuse, and homelessness. It is important to know that “being LGBTQ does not lead to health disparities. However, being LGBTQ in a system of oppression generates toxic stress that leads to negative health outcomes”.1
What is Pride Month?
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is celebrated in June. The first Pride march in New York City was held on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Since that time, Pride month has ballooned to an international celebration of individual freedoms and a call to action on issues of concern to the community.
How can I provide better care for these youth?
Put patient-centered care first by creating a welcoming and safe environment
- Greet patients with gender-inclusive language such as “It’s nice meeting you folks today.”
- Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns, ““Hi my name is Dr. Smith and I use (she/her or he/ him or they/them) pronouns. I’d like to go around the room and have you all introduce yourselves with your name and pronouns so I know how to refer to each of you.”
- Make sure intake and other forms and signage are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Become familiar with the terminology.
Cook Children’s University offers opportunities to explore these topics with the following class:
- Patient Experience: LGBTQ+ Literacy and Awareness
Educate yourself - approach each encounter through the lens of cultural humility.
There are numerous credible resources online including:
- Health Considerations for LGBTQ Youth from the CDC
- Engaging the Families of Transgender and Gender Diverse Children from the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center (this organization has many resources and you can earn CME credit for many of them).
1American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2021). Pediatric Collections: LGBTQ+: Support and Care Part 2: Health Concerns and Disparities. American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pediatricians serve children and families by providing indispensable anticipatory guidance about many aspects of healthy growth and development. As the number of youth and families who count themselves among the growing community of gender and sexually diverse individuals increases, pediatricians are uniquely qualified to offer the education, resources, and support to the families in their care. Click here to read this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics with some of the many ways pediatricians can improve the care of their LGBTQ+ patients/families, with the acknowledgement that not all pediatricians may be able to implement all of these recommendations.