Co-authored by: Mattthew Davis, MD, MAPP, Interim Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Rob Garofalo, MD, MPH, Division Head, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine; and Terri Laguna, MD, MSCS, Division Head, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine
June is LGBTQ+ Pride month – a celebration of diversity, love and acceptance. June was chosen as Pride month to commemorate what many see as the beginning of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Uprising was in response to continued police violence and harassment of the LGBTQ+ community and was driven by members of the Black transgender community.
The fight for LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion continues to this day. In recent years there have been landmark Supreme Court decisions that have made significant strides towards equity for LGBTQ+ individuals (e.g., 2015 marriage equality and 2020 nondiscrimination in the workplace). However, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community remain threatened, including within healthcare settings; for example, just this month the federal Department of Health and Human Services (which oversees NIH, Medicaid, and Medicare) created a rule which legalizes the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in healthcare.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and our Department of Pediatrics are committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. As a leader in pediatric and adolescent clinical care, research, training and advocacy, Lurie Children’s is home to the Gender & Sex Development Program which supports the physical, mental and social health of over 1,500 gender nonconforming and transgender patients and their families. With more than 10 HIV prevention interventions in the published literature, Lurie Children's Hospital is also a national leader in HIV prevention research that engages and supports high-risk populations such as young men who have sex with other men and young transgender women.
For the past six years, Lurie Children’s has earned the “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation by the Human Rights Campaign and continues to identify opportunities to show leadership in inclusion and ensure that all LGBTQ+ employees, patients and families are welcome, affirmed, and seen in our medical center. While Lurie Children's is committed to being an inclusive place for all members of the LGBTQ+ community, there are still opportunities for us to grow to ensure that we are welcoming and affirming to everyone. For ideas about how we can grow, take a look at resources and trainings developed by The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine.
As we celebrate Pride month, we encourage you to reflect upon how you work to support the LGBTQ+ community. It is working to learn how to appropriately use pronouns and not making assumptions about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is bringing an equity and inclusion lens to the work we do each and every day. The Lurie Children’s family is stronger when we all feel seen, valued and heard. We are committed to continuing to build a diverse and inclusive environment together.