Key Post Highlights
> LGBTQ+ identities should be included both explicitly and implicitly in healthcare organizations’ content.
> Members of the LGBTQ+ community are looking for year-round support and inclusion, not just rainbow-washing or one-off events during the month of June.
> To truly support the LGBTQ+ community, healthcare organizations must hire LGBTQ+ individuals to continually assess and improve their efforts.
Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to provide inclusive care to all patients, including those who identify as LGBTQ+. However, creating an affirming environment for LGBTQ+ patients requires more than just having inclusive policies and practices in place. Healthcare leaders must also consider how they can leverage their content and content strategy to connect with and welcome the LGBTQ+ community.
To speak to this topic, we interviewed six healthcare leaders whose organizations have a deep commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community — and who are a part of it themselves. These leaders shared their insights on how healthcare organizations can use content to better serve LGBTQ+ patients.
Through their collective expertise, we hope to provide actionable strategies for healthcare organizations to improve their content — during Pride Month and beyond.
Crystal Beal, MD
Founder, QueerDoc | Clinical Instructor, University of Washington, School of Medicine
The queer and trans community is tired of rainbow capitalism. We care less about what you do for PRIDE month and more about what you do to support our community year-round. Slapping rainbows on your logo in June and a 1-hour lecture on LGBTQ health in June are tokenizing ways for you to feel like a good ally. They fall far short of what our community needs…
Hire queer and trans people to do a full assessment of your healthcare system — they will evaluate every point of patient contact and help you understand where you can improve inclusion of our community. They will create a step-by-step action plan for your system to support queer and trans patients year-round including comprehensive training for your staff and clinicians. Your local LGBTQ+ or trans nonprofits may offer this, such as QueerDoc, The Transgender Training Institute, and Think Again. Any of these organizations will support you from an intersectional lens!
Director of Research, Strategy, and Development, Chicago Department of Public Health
Healthcare organizations play a vital role in maintaining the health of LGBTQ+ folk. To better engage the LGBTQ+ community through media, It requires intention and constant dedication to best promote your practice.
Posting and honoring LGBTQ+ folk during pride month is commendable, but if you can enhance your efforts in promoting best LGBTQ+ health practices throughout the year, it will for sure win the hearts and minds of the community. Be inclusive and diverse in developing content and promoting posts in your media. And please, be reasonable with your use of rainbows.
Creative Lead, Hopelab
When it comes to how healthcare organizations can better connect with LGBTQ+ patients: Invite (and pay) LGBTQ+ people to create content. Many of us can read pretty quickly when something isn’t authentic to our community or is being rainbow washed to appeal to us. Also, queer people exist year-round. When Pride Month ends, continue to acknowledge, support, and advocate for LGBTQ+ peoples’ health and well-being.
Executive Director, GLMA
The very first step in ensuring that you are presenting yourself as an LGBTQ+ affirming space, organization, provider, or content creator is reviewing your content to make sure that LGBTQ+ identities are included both explicitly and implicitly.
Explicit inclusion means making sure LGBTQ+ communities have an easily findable space on your website that is specific to our community.
Implicit inclusion means we are included throughout the content — if you have pictures of families or if you’re talking about family building, take care to include diverse family structures including LGBTQ+ couples, parents, and other relationships. And also making sure that the diversity doesn’t end just with LGBTQ+ identities represented or just centering white, LGBTQ+ identities.
Lin-Fan Wang, MD, MPH, LLC
PRIDE month is a celebration of our existence, resilience, and brilliance. With more states passing anti-gay and anti-trans legislation, it’s even more important for healthcare organizations to stand up and speak out for healthcare for each person in the communities they serve, which includes LGBTQ+ patients. Keep in mind that the LGBTQ+ community is diverse, so you should hire a creative team that is diverse and/or pay attention to diversity and accessibility in their content.
Shannon Whittington, DNP, MSN, RN
Gender Affirmation Program Director, VNS Health
One of the first things organizations can do to better leverage their online content is to simply incorporate LGBTQ+ flags onto their platforms. This is a nonverbal cue that we are accepted at your organization and that you support the rainbow community.
Mention the diversity of your employees who identify as LGBTQ+. Mention how they are in positions of leadership and how their voices matter. Walk the walk instead of talking the talk. Because as gay folks, we look at the walk, not the talk. What I often see is many organizations touting pride during pride month and then they go back into the closet for the next 11 months.
PRIDE is every day, 365 — not just 1 month out of the year. Show your support for us all year long, not just during pride month. Highlight how we have contributed to your organization, how we have improved outcomes, your ROI, and our positive contributions. Show us that we are a valuable part of your organization and that our voices matter every single day.