It’s sunny and consistently 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and summer has arrived. You can feel the sweat on your brow as you step out onto your front porch. With a simple flick of the wrist, the once closed fan in your hand opens with an empathic FLOP. Less to circulate the air in between infrequent breezes, your fan is sending the message: “I. Am. On. The. Way.”
You can feel the vibrations make their way from the steaming hot asphalt to your feet and up your spine. The rhythmic beat of the music and singing in the distance is invitingly calling your name. There’s cheering and laughter, which only gets louder as you approach closer. You feel something fall on your cheek; it’s confetti and glitter. It’s an undeniable and welcoming party. “I. Have. Arrived.”
How can you spell the month of June any other way than…P.R.I.D.E. HAPPY PRIDE 2021 EVERYBODY!
That phrase hits a bit differently this year. As we inch closer and closer to our pre-COVID times, so too come our opportunities to gather safely in celebration and fellowship – the epitome of what Pride month is all about. Throughout this month, we unite in solidarity under the vibrancy of the LGBTQIA+ flag to revel in our authenticity, feel the warm embrace of acceptance, and stand firmly in collective joy.
Pride is love. To be a part of this chosen family, there are only but a few requirements, chief among them, to be yourself! This month is a welcomed stop along what has been an arduous year for so many of us. It is here that we can show up for ourselves and one another as community members and allies alike. To echo and solidify so many messages, that our differences make us unique and that our uniqueness makes us beautiful!
It is in the unlimited visibility and depth of our diversity that we as a queer community are continuously making strides past mere acceptance, but towards equality. The pioneers of the past have laid a much-needed framework for today’s LGBTQIA+ activism. June honors those champions of the roads less traveled, as well as those who forge new paths via unapologetic ownership of their honest selves. We saw such ownership back in March of this year, when Elliot Page became the first trans man to appear on the cover of Time Magazine proclaiming, “I’m fully who I am.” From this came an inspiration to spotlight and honor our LGBTQIA+ healthcare community in a way not previously done during Pride month.
“Who I Am” is a campaign that centers the spotlight, where it often willingly fails to shine, on our LGBTQIA+ healthcare providers and students. It is not in our nature to center ourselves within the work of medicine; we are the stewards of service and care of others, the attendants to family and loved ones in their times of need, and teammates to an entire system.
Yet, there is an importance and power within our storytelling. Medicine is made up of people and people are the sum of all their parts, whether they be healthcare workers, students, ethnic minorities, ably challenged individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, etc. Each fragment is a carefully crafted puzzle piece, from lived and learned experiences, from which we can each learn and grow.
This month’s campaign supports the narrative of the evolving LGBTQIA+ and healthcare experience, through amplified representation and storytelling. It is a celebration and invitation to listen and learn from three incredible humans, show strength through vulnerability and power from truth-telling. How and what does it mean to show up every day as their most authentic selves? How do they navigate and tackle impactful issues within their collective roles? What lessons have they learned along the way? What advice do they have to give? We walk with each of them throughout various stages of their unique journeys. We will read and hear it in their own words. There will be laughter, authenticity and without a doubt, a great deal of vibrancy!
Because it warrants repeating: How could you spell June any other way than P.R.I.D.E.
Photos: Adrienne Kambouris