DID YOU KNOW JUNE IS PRIDE MONTH?
It has been declared so by presidents going back to the 90s! Many celebrations and marches take place in the month of June all over the country. TRUTH : I did not know this until 2017 when my dear friend, colleague, and mentor brought me along to Twin Cities Pride, in Minneapolis.
To this day, my experience there is still one of my favorite memories. We played ring toss with dildo pegs and I WON! Ate corn dogs and explored all kinds of incredible booths celebrating the community. Every facet seemed to be represented, and accepted!
I HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS AMAZING OPENNESS
I grew up going to religiously affiliated, conservative schools. However, I was always the odd duck in health class who had no issues yelling out penis and vagina. Pride was so wonderful! I felt at home. To say my mind was blown, would be an understatement. I was taken aback by all the joy, celebration and welcoming that I experienced.
BECOMING A PHYSICAL THERAPIST SPECIALIZING IN THE PELVIC FLOOR…
..is this perfect place where all of my openness in talking about taboo topics works perfectly! It has been one of the first places I really felt like I could succeed and really help others. I have never asked my friend why she chose that year to bring me to Pride but I can guess.
I was just beginning to treat transgender patients undergoing genital reconstruction surgery. I had SO MANY questions for her about interacting with these patients. My biggest concern was not to offend anyone. However, I wondered how could I make them feel most comfortable? Afterall, they have to give me very personal information in order for me to create a proper plan of care.
She patiently explained things to me, and as I began seeing those first patients they were so patient with me as I stumbled through my questions. We got comfortable together! Repeatedly, I was struck by how kind, genuine, honest, and transparent everyone was. Anytime I had a patient who identified as transgender coming in for a session, I knew it was going to be a great day, because serving them made me SO happy! I’ve worked hard since 2017 to become a good ally and healthcare advocate.
HOW TO BE AN LGBTQI ALLY
Many people would like to be an ally as well, but they do not know how to get involved, or what being an ally really looks like. I love that you have the want, here are some of the ways!
- EDUCATE YOURSELF – It is not the job of the LGBTQI community to do the teaching. The internet is an amazing resource. Get the basics from the internet so that you can…
- ASK QUESTIONS – You should definitely ask questions to understand further than the nuts and bolts you find online. Every person has an individual experience.
- LEARN AND USE INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE – Learn the terminology: Amnesty USA provides a great glossary to learn from!
- ASK PEOPLE THEIR PRONOUNS – Pronouns are NOT “preferred”, it is how the person identifies. Show that you care, and want to know them, by asking and correctly using their pronoun. If you forget, ask for forgiveness and try again.
- SHOW YOUR SUPPORT – Supporting symbols are a great way to create that space! I love my pride flag ! There is also a great selection of flags, stickers, shirts, artwork for your home etc available from All Are Welcome Here .
- AVOID ANTI-LGBTQI COMMENTS OR JOKES – These are harmful. When you hear them, speak up, tell people that it is not acceptable or tolerated.
- GET INVOLVED IN THE CAUSE – There are so, so many options! This can be using your privilege to amplify the voice of those that are marginalized, donating your time or money to a support organization, attending a pride event (happening online this year!), organizing an event in your own community, etc. I bet you can think of a few ideas on your own as well, the point is to be active.
After serving these patients for the last 3 years at the Mayo Clinic, I launched LauraMeihofer.com as well as my private practice with the overwhelming passion to serve ALL humans well. I think Pride month is the perfect time to make a statement. Laura Meihofer LLC and Clitoris Collective serves and creates content for all genders! I treat all humans, with all sorts of pelvic floors, genitals, and/or orientations. My online spaces will be reflective, and inclusive, of all the glorious people out in the world.
While June is the perfect month to remind everyone of LGBTQI community support, I am always working on being a provider, and an ally, who does not just show up during pride month, but remembers to be an ally year round. If you are a current or new follower of mine, know that in making this commitment, you still have space here also. The purpose is to create a space for ALL , so join me in being an active ally!