Pride Month: We all need to strive to be more inclusive in healthcare

In America, LGBTQ+ Pride month is celebrated every June in honour of the 1969 Stonewall riots and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. Pride month celebrations include parades, parties, concerts, educational events and speeches. Memorials are also held to honour members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Hospitals around the nation are taking this opportunity to show their support.

History of Pride Month

While there were earlier demonstrations and activities by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the Stonewall riots often are considered the beginning of LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, armed police officers raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, the centre of the LGBTQ+ community in Manhattan, New York. Gay and lesbian bar raids were a regular occurrence in the years preceding the Stonewall riots, but this raid — in which 13 patrons were arrested — represented a tipping point. Fed up, hundreds of people rioted, protested and fought back.

A year after the riots, the last Sunday in June was celebrated as Gay Pride Day. In 1999, President William J. Clinton issued a proclamation in which Gay Pride Day was expanded to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Today, Pride celebrates the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities.

In 2022, approximately 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced across numerous states, with several being enacted into law and currently being challenged in the courts, that threaten LGBTQ+ rights and healthcare. Many of these proposed laws are targeting transgender youth. There continues to be a great concern in the LGBTQ+ community that the hard-won advances in civil rights will be negated. Harkening back to the days of the Stonewall Riots, the current environment is a reminder that PRIDE is both a time of celebration and a renewal of commitment to continue to fight for civil rights and greater acceptance and inclusion of all LGBTQ+ people in our world.

Pride in Health + Wellbeing

Pride in Health + Wellbeing is an Australian national membership program that provides year-round personalised support to organisations within the Health, Wellbeing and Humans services sector to improve their LGBTQ inclusive care, remove systematic barriers to accessing care and thereby reduce health disparities faced by LGBTQ communities.

Australian LGBTQ communities and individuals are extremely diverse and face a number of shared and distinct health and social inclusion issues. We also know that when LGBTQ individuals require access to health and wellbeing services, they often hit access roadblocks, refrain from using critical services, and as a result, experience poorer health and wellbeing outcomes than their non-LGBTQ peers.

The program provides 1:1 mentorship, training and advice on embedding LGBTQ inclusion throughout all aspects of your organisation; from direct care provision, policy and processes design, quality improvement planning, advocacy, as well as personalised staff development and training. The program is suitable for all organisations in the health, welfare or human services sector, from government, peak bodies, NGOs and direct care providers. PIHW will assist you in ensuring your organisation is inclusive of LGBTQ people, embedding it in all your public-facing work and making LGBTQ health and wellbeing a priority.