Category Archives: LGBT families

My flip-flopping stomach

 

Monday morning, 6:15AM. I stumbled into the kitchen, tired and bleary-eyed, and I headed straight for the electric teakettle. COFFEE!!! I NEED COFFEE!!! Somehow, my brain doesn’t fully kick into gear until I have a few sips of coffee in my system. While I waited for the water to boil, I picked up my phone and scrolled through my messages and updates. The e-mail from Jess is the one that catches my eye.

Congratulations on the Stonewall! it said.

Now, let me backtrack. Jess isn’t a close friend of mine. I know her because she works in my city councilmember’s office. In fact, I got to know her because she was trying to help me catch a stray rooster that was terrorizing my chickens and waking up the neighborhood at 4 AM every morning. (I’m not making this up. I swear. I actually wrote a children’s story about this rooster, but I scrapped it when the real-life rooster turned horribly evil.) So, on many levels, this was a totally bizarre e-mail message to be getting from her.

So I replied. Did I win the Stonewall? I hadn’t heard.

The next thing I knew, my Twitter account was pinging and dinging all over the place. My children’s picture book, This Day in June, had in fact won the 2015 ALA Stonewall Award. The most prestigious LGBT book award, as a matter of fact. Since then, my brain has been buzzing, and my stomach has been flip-flopping all over the place. I’m still in a state of disbelief about it. And I haven’t really had time to digest this – a few minutes after I found out, my daughter woke up, and the frenzied before-school routine was set in motion.

So now it’s Tuesday, and I’m at work, and I have a window of time between checking things off the to-do list and teaching classes all afternoon. Now I have a little time to process this. And what better way to do that than writing about it?

So. How do I feel about this?

I feel excited. Make that EXCITED!!! I’m excited about the award. I’m excited about the possibilities that come with it. I’m excited to see This Day in June getting national attention. And I’m excited that I have another reason to wear a dress I bought for an upcoming black-tie event. (I know, how shallow!)

I feel anxious. Sick, almost. Why, I don’t know exactly. Maybe because this is unfamiliar territory for me? I just know that my stomach hasn’t really settled down since I got the news. I feel jumpy and restless – to the point where I didn’t really want the coffee I’d made that Monday morning. (That’s a first for me.)

I actually feel a little guilty. Why? Because there are so many authors who have been writing much longer than I have whose books have not won the award. Me, I’m a first-time children’s book author, and my book gets the award. It’s a huge honor, for sure, but it’s also very humbling.

I feel energized. I want to write. I haven’t blogged for a while, mostly because I felt like I was running out of things to say. But now the words are coming back. And I’m realizing that you can never run out of things to say, just like you can never run out of stories. But sometimes, you have to take a breath in between before the next thought comes.

I feel hopeful. The ALA had diversity on the radar screen this year – the Newbury and Caldecott Award winners were books with diverse content. And not only was This Day in June the first picture book to receive the award, it’s a book that pushed the envelope in many ways.  (It’s not every day that you see children’s picture books featuring drag, leather, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.) The ALA sent a message this year, and that message was this: Get out of the box, and start taking diversity seriously.

All kinds of feelings, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But even just a few minutes of writing has settled my stomach a little, and grounded me. Amazing, the power of the written word.

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Filed under children, human rights, LGBT families

My love-hate relationship with Pride

A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail message from a sender I didn’t recognize. Here’s how it started out:

Dear Ms. Pitman:
I am writing on behalf of Our Family Coalition (OFC) in San Francisco. OFC advances equity for LGBTQ families with children through support, education, and advocacy. We seek to create an inclusive and just world where all LGBTQ families with children have visibility and opportunities to thrive as valued participants in our schools, institutions, and communities.

Initially, I thought this was a targeted mass mailing (which I get all the time), and I almost deleted the message. But then I read the next line:

We recently received an advance copy of your new book and WE LOVE IT!! 

No way!!! They love it!!! That’s exactly what every author wants to hear – especially when all caps and exclamation points are involved.

But then . . . the other shoe dropped:

Would you be able to join us at the Family Garden at SF Pride 2014? We thought it would be nice to have your book for sale at the event this year, and even nicer if you were there too! 

I should have seen it coming. If you write a book about Pride, then people are going to expect to see you at Pride, right? Somehow, I hadn’t fully connected those dots. (I may be bookish and intelligent, but I’m not always smart.) You’d think I’d be jumping for joy – I mean, I got invited to sell my book at one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world! But I wasn’t jumping for joy – in fact, I went from feeling totally excited (They love my book!) to feeling totally anxious.

I have a love-hate relationship with Pride. I love the idea of Pride – the festive, celebratory atmosphere; the people cheering as they watch the parade (and crying when PFLAG parents are marching in full support of their LGBTQ kids); the rainbows, the glitter, the balloons, the costumes. However, actually going to Pride is a different story. It’s usually hot. (Well, maybe not so much in San Francisco.) It’s crowded – like 1.5-millon-people crowded. People get really drunk – and I don’t love hanging around drunk people. And getting there is a Pain. In. The. Ass. (Picture thousands of hot, drunk people squishing themselves into the BART train.) For an introverted homebody like me, this is like being thrown into Room 101. (If you don’t know what Room 101 is, Google it, and click on the Wikipedia link that comes up.)

When I’m really honest with myself, though, it’s clear that my ambivalence about Pride isn’t really about the heat, the crowds, or the drunkenness. It’s about feeling like I don’t belong.  And that’s the feeling I had when I attended my first Pride celebration.

I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area back in 1994. I had known for a little while that I was bisexual, and I had divulged this information to just a few friends. In 1995, when I went to my first San Francisco Pride celebration, I had high hopes – in retrospect, I can see that they were unrealistic. I didn’t know a lot of people in the LGBTQ community, and I desperately wanted to meet people, to make friends, to find my place in the community. And it didn’t happen – at least, not at Pride. In fact, although I found the parade to be entertaining and festive, I felt like I was watching it through a glass window, unable to connect with the people on the other side. People talk about “feeling alone in a crowded room”  – imagine having that feeling among 500,000 people, all of whom are supposedly part of your “community.” There’s nothing worse than that.

I’ve been to several Pride celebrations since then. In the late 1990s, I went to a few Pride events in the Bay Area, including Sonoma Pride, San Jose Pride, and Santa Cruz Pride, to recruit participants for my dissertation research. In these last couple of years, I’ve attended smaller Pride events in the Bay Area and the Central Valley – Stockton Pride, Castro Valley Pride, Sacramento Pride, Fresno Pride, Modesto Pride. I’ve discovered that every Pride event has its own character. There were handmade quilts for sale at Sonoma Pride. Castro Valley Pride had a lot of teenagers, probably because it was held at on a high school campus. Lots of children were at Stockton Pride. Fresno Pride had a strong Latino presence – and a lot of HIV awareness tables. At these events, I felt much more connected than I did at San Francisco Pride – probably because they were smaller (my introverted self does a lot better in small-group situations). Plus it was easier to get involved at these smaller events, and that’s always a good way to feel like part of a larger community – especially in places like Stockton or Modesto, where there’s a strong “all-hands-on-deck” ethos.

But I didn’t get invited to Fresno, or Modesto, or these other smaller events. I got invited to big, huge, San Francisco. And I’m hearing a little voice inside me ask, “Will I find people who are like me? Will I see myself reflected in this event?”

One thing I love about the LGBTQ community is that it grows, and changes, and responds to our community’s needs. Our community is not perfect, and it definitely has its share of infighting (read “One big happy family” for some insight on this). But Pride celebrations have changed over the years, in ways that better meet the needs of the community. For people in recovery, many Pride celebrations have Clean and Sober spaces. Most Pride festivals have children’s play and entertainment areas. This year, San Francisco Pride has a 60+ Space, a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Gathering Space, an HIV Pavilion, a TRANS: THRIVE Pavilion, a Leather Alley, an Asian Pacific Islander Community Pride Stand, a Women’s Stage, and an African Diaspora Stage, among others. If I were attending San Francisco Pride for the first time this year, I think I’d have an easier time plugging in. They’ve created spaces where you’re more likely to find your reflection, honoring the fact that we are truly a diverse collection of communities. And finding connections is how we keep ourselves strong, and keep our communities thriving.

Today is June 1st, the kickoff of Pride month. Pride celebrations are taking place every weekend in June, and at other times throughout the year. If you’ve never been to Pride before, consider going – and find a way to actually get involved, and not just watch from the sidelines. If you have been to Pride, and it’s really not your thing, consider giving it another try. I have a feeling that my second go-around with San Francisco Pride will be much more rewarding than the first time.

 

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Filed under activism, children, coming out, HIV/AIDS, intersectionality, LGBT families, LGBTQ youth

The “other” mother

When you’re a two-mom family, and your daughter’s school has a Mother’s Day event and a Father’s Day event, what do you do? Should both moms go to the Mother’s Day event? Should one go to the Mother’s Day event, and the other go to the Father’s Day event, so they each get their own special day? Should they stage a protest, recruit all of the families that are something other than one mom/one dad, and demand that the school adopt an all-inclusive “Parent’s Day”?

This is exactly the dilemma my family has been talking about this week. The Mother’s Day tea is this Friday. The Father’s Day breakfast is in early June. And all week, we’ve been discussing how to handle this. What’s interesting is that, for me, there is no dilemma. I’m the birth mom, and I’m planning to go to the Mother’s Day tea. Amy, on the other hand, feels quite conflicted. Because she’s The Other Mother. It sounds so Newhart-esque: “Hi. This is my mother. And this is my other mother.”

I joke about this, but it’s actually a source of mild stress in our family. As the non-birth parent, Amy tends to be perceived – and treated – differently than I am. Lots of times, we’ve been in situations where I’m clearly seen as “the mom,” but it’s not entirely clear where Amy fits into the puzzle until we explain it. Even when I was pregnant, Amy and I had lots of conversations about what our child would call her. It was clear that I’d be “Mommy” or “Mama,” but it wasn’t clear what Amy would be. (She came up with “Maddy” – a mash-up between “Mommy” and “Daddy.”) She has a different relationship with our daughter than I do – largely, I think, because of her non-biological status. In fact, from an institutional standpoint, because we had our daughter before same-sex marriage was legal in California, there was a short period of time where Amy had no legal tie to our daughter. That’s an incredibly othering experience – and it’s hard not to internalize that.

I have had lots of conversations with other two-mom families about these issues. We talk, for example, about the cultural script that exists for families who consist of The Mommy and The Daddy. Mommies do certain things, and Daddies do certain things. In the days of traditional gender roles, those scripts were more constricted, at least among middle-class families. Now that strides have been made towards gender equity, you’d think that those scripts in heterosexual couples would have evaporated – but they haven’t. Even researchers who talk about “modern marriage” note that gender roles still persist in even the most progressive heterosexual relationships. Mothers tend to do more housework than fathers – even when both spouses work full-time. Mothers are more likely than fathers to manage their children’s social lives – driving to sports practices, scheduling playdates, and taking children to birthday parties, for example. Even for heterosexual couples who are non-traditional and believe in equality, the tendency is, at least to some degree, to fall into these roles.

For us two-mommy families, however, those scripts just fly out the window, because gender doesn’t anchor us into specific roles. Because of that, same-sex parents (both two-mommy and two-daddy) are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have egalitarian relationships. In our house, for example, both of us alternate taking our daughter to school and picking her up. We take turns doing the food shopping and cooking. Amy cleans the house. (She’s better at it than I am.) I do the finances. (I’m better at that than she is.) Amy does most of the handyperson stuff, although I’m no stranger to DIY home improvement projects. I do most of our daughter’s social scheduling (it’s amazing how crowded a six-year-old’s social calendar can get!). Amy is usually the one to read stories to our daughter at night and put her to bed. We do what we do not because our culture provides a handy script for us. It’s just how we’ve figured out how to do things.

I’ve had many conversations with queer families about family roles and household tasks. And I’ve seen quite a few studies that focus on household and parenting roles among same-sex couples. However, there are almost no studies focusing on the ways The Other Mother – the non-birth parent – feels, well, “othered.” The thing we talk about the most is the issue that has been studied the least.

There is one study, by Kira Abelsohn and her colleagues at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario. Using qualitative data, she and her colleagues identified a range of factors affecting the mental health and well-being of non-birth moms. These include the following:

Having a biological tie. Many two-mom families find a way for the non-birth mom to have a biological relationship to their child. I know several couples, for example, where the birth mom was inseminated with the sperm of a male relative of her partner. In one case, it was a brother; in another, it was a cousin. The presence of a biological connection, according to Abelsohn’s findings, increased the non-birth mom’s sense of connectedness and relatedness, which, in turn, was associated with better mental health and well-being.

Social recognition. For non-birth moms, being seen as a legitimate parent is associated with higher well-being and mental health. If, on the other hand, one is seen as “The Mom,” and the other is seen as “something else,” that tends to undermine the non-birth mom’s sense of well-being. This social recognition is important on an interpersonal level, but it’s particularly important on an institutional level. Many states, even today, prohibit same-sex couples from adopting children – and many lack second-parent adoption processes. Having those protections in place, in addition to providing a legal tie, offers significant mental health benefits to the non-birth parent.

Social support. Having a community of people who support and validate your role as a mom helps tremendously in terms of positive well-being. That community could be anyone – family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors – but it’s especially helpful to have a network of n0n-birth moms who might share similar experiences.

Amy doesn’t have a biological tie to our child. She does have a lot of social support, and she does enjoy a good amount of social recognition (even with the differential treatment she sometimes gets). However, non-birth moms (and other parents who don’t fit neatly into the heterosexual template) will continue to feel “othered,” I’m sure, until our society moves beyond seeing the one-mom, one-dad family as “standard,” and everything else as “alternative,”

Regarding our Mother’s Day/Father’s Day dilemma: Last week, when Amy pulled one of our daughter’s teachers aside to talk about this, the teacher leaned over and whispered, “You could double-dip if you wanted to.” She may, in fact, do just that.

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Filed under children, LGBT families, mental health, psychological research, relationships, Uncategorized

I wrote a children’s book!

For those of you who read The Active Voice regularly, you may have noticed that I’ve been discussing children’s books quite frequently lately. And you may be wondering why. Well, here’s why.

I WROTE A CHILDREN’S BOOK! And it’s going to be released in early May! (picture me clapping and jumping up and down)

OK, now let me connect the dots. Writing children’s stories has become a side hobby, and I’ve written probably a dozen or so. But this one is different. And a few weeks ago, I read two articles that crystallized for me why these “different” kinds of children’s books are so important. Read on.

* * * * * * * * * *

In 1969, when I first entered the world of writing children’s literature, the field was nearly empty. Children of color were not represented, nor were children from the lower economic classes. Today, when about 40 percent of public school students nationwide are black and Latino, the disparity of representation is even more egregious. In the middle of the night I ask myself if anyone really cares.

The person who asks “if anyone really cares” is Walter Dean Myers, author of several children’s and young adult books, including the widely acclaimed novel MonsterThis past March, he and his son Christopher Myers (a children’s book writer and illustrator) wrote a pair of articles for the New York Times Book Review about the lack of diversity in children’s books: “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” (which is where the above quote came from) and “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature,” respectively. Both articles were shared widely on the Internet (they showed up on my Facebook news feed several times that week), always generating a wide variety of comments and discussion. One comment I read made a point that’s stuck with me: “Publishers often say that they’re committed to diversity. If that’s true, then where is it?”

This is what Christopher Myers says on that issue:

The mission statements of major publishers are littered with intentions, with their commitments to diversity, to imagination, to multiculturalism, ostensibly to create opportunities for children to learn about and understand their importance in their respective worlds. During my years of making children’s books, I’ve heard editors and publishers bemoan the dismal statistics, and promote this or that program that demonstrates their company’s “commitment to diversity.” With so much reassurance, it is hard to point fingers, but there are numbers and truths that stand in stark contrast to the reassurances. The business of children’s literature enjoys ever more success, sparking multiple movie franchises and crossover readership, even as representations of young people of color are harder and harder to find.

For the past three years, I’ve attended a Northern California regional conference sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). At each of these conferences, diversity and multiculturalism have been major topics of conversation. And every single year,  I hear editors talk about their publishing house’s “commitment to diversity” (broadly defined). They want people to submit manuscripts that feature people of color, or LGBTQ people, or people with disabilities. One editor I met at last year’s conference lit up when I told her I’d written a couple of stories about LGBTQ issues. “Send them to me!” she said. An agent I met at that same conference had a similar reaction – she was ready to take me on almost immediately. I left that conference feeling like there wasn’t just a “commitment to diversity,” but that editors would jump at any chance to diversify their offerings.

So here we are, a year later. And the diversity, well, just isn’t there. In fact, the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in children’s books, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has gotten worse in recent years. The number of LGBTQ-themed children’s books is harder to pin down, since no one seems to be tracking these numbers. From my vantage point, a lot of LGBTQ-themed books seem to be about two-mommy/two-daddy families or gender nonconformity, and a good number of them are self-published. The big publishing houses (including the one represented by the editor I met at the conference) just aren’t putting children’s picture books out there that reflect the identities of their readers.

Why is that? My guess is that publishers fear two things: avoidance and aversion.

First, the avoidance. With respect to race and ethnicity, publishers may fear that White people won’t read books about people of color, and that diversifying their booklist will come at a significant economic cost. (Interestingly, Nikki Grimes, who was a keynote speaker at this year’s regional SCBWI conference, shared many letters from White middle-class kids who read her books and loved them). If people don’t buy books, then publishers don’t make money – and a lot of books need to be sold in order to post a profit. Moreover, there may be an implicitly racist assumption that people of color are less likely than their White counterparts to read – and if that’s the case, then profits will take a significant hit. (Walter Dean Myers writes quite candidly about why he gave up reading for a period of time.)

It’s bad enough if people avoid something; it’s even worse if there’s an aversive reaction. Quite possibly a fear of aversion may be behind the lack of LGBTQ-themed children’s books – particularly because they’re aimed at children. Anti-gay organizations often make inflammatory, inaccurate claims, many of which revolve around perceived effects of homosexuality on children:

Homosexuality threatens the institution of marriage in America, which will have devastating effects on children.

If children are raised by gay parents, they will become gay themselves. 

Children are subjected to harmful pro-homosexual propaganda in schools, which increases the likelihood that they will choose this lifestyle. 

By logical extension, the fear is children who read pro-LGBTQ children’s books will be harmed by them. Which is a Big Lie. The reality is that children and adults benefit tremendously from LGBTQ visibility in children’s books – and, consequently, are negatively impacted by the absence of these stories.

* * * * * * * * * *

So. Guess what? I have a children’s book coming out in a couple of weeks. (YAY!!!! Picture me clapping and jumping up and down.)

It’s called This Day in June, and it is, according to the book description, “an uplifting and upbeat book that shares the experience of attending an LGBT Pride festival and a day when everyone is united.” It includes a section at the end with information about LGBTQ history and culture, and it also has a guide for parents and caregivers about how to talk to children about gender identity and sexual orientation.

Why did I write it? If Walter Dean Myers were to look me in the eye and ask me if anyone really cares, I would want to have integrity in my response. A change in the course of children’s literature is way overdue. It’s time to dramatically diversify the representations in children’s books. It’s time to challenge and demolish the myths that anti-LGBT organizations have perpetuated – and that many of us have internalized on some level. It’s time for publishers to walk their talk, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity. And I want to be a part of that.

You can pre-order This Day in June from Magination Press or at www.amazon.com.

 

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Filed under activism, children, gender nonconformity, homophobia, LGBT families, LGBTQ youth, racism

Little broken hearts

It was a dark and stormy night. (Really, it was!) My daughter was born at 2:17AM on January 9, 2008. Our midwife, Ruth, placed her on my chest, and I could feel her heart beating on mine. Her little broken heart, as it turns out.

Ruth was the one who caught it. “Hmm,” she said, her stethoscope pressed to my daughter’s chest. “Sounds like she has a heart murmur. There’s some sort of a whooshing sound.” She paused and lifted her head. “You should go get that checked out.” The very next day, we did exactly that. Two weeks later, we found ourselves in the office of a pediatric cardiologist, who diagnosed her with a rare condition called pulmonary valve stenosis. Specifically, she had a blocked pulmonary valve, a leak in that same valve, and a hole in her heart. (The hole was what caused the whooshing sound.) “We’ll keep an eye on it,” the cardiologist said to us reassuringly. “We’ll need to fix it at some point, but probably not right away.” Two weeks later, at our follow-up appointment, not right away turned into as soon as possible.  By the end of March, we were at UCSF Medical Center, where our daughter underwent a procedure to repair the blockage.

I don’t think I can convey how scary that time was for me. Before the procedure, I’d lie awake nights listening for irregularities in her breathing. I was terrified that she’d develop cyanosis, a common result of valvular heart diseases. Because congenital heart defects are so common, I know I’m not alone in stressing out like this – in a 2012 review of 25 studies, Priti Desai and her colleagues at East Carolina University found that parents of children with congenital heart defects report “a great deal of stress” throughout their health care experience. A great deal of stress. That pretty much sums it up. And the stress isn’t just about the CHD itself. It’s reasonably common knowledge in the CHD community (and well-supported by numerous research studies) that infants who undergo surgery for CHDs tend to have poorer cognitive, motor, and emotional development outcomes compared to their non-CHD counterparts. Now there’s something for parents to stress out about.

My experience really was the best-case scenario. Our midwife caught the irregular heartbeat immediately. Our pediatrician referred us to a cardiologist – immediately. Our cardiologist sent us to UCSF, one of the best medical facilities in the nation, even though my daughter’s procedure could have been done here in Sacramento. And every single health care professional we interacted with was knowledgeable, respectful, kind, and, well, professional.  It couldn’t have been better. And now, my daughter is fine.

That’s the way it should be for everybody, really. And increasingly, it is that way for LGBTQ people. If you look at research studies from the 1980s and 1990s, the data paint a really dismal and ugly picture. Doctors, nurses, and medical students expressed outward hostility and disgust towards LGBTQ people. Most felt that patients should keep their sexual orientation to themselves, and not mention it to their health care providers. And, as a result, many LGBTQ people just didn’t go to the doctor on a regular basis – because who wants to be the victim of homophobia or transphobia, especially while wearing a paper gown in the doctor’s office? Today, the research tells a different story. More lesbian, gay, and bisexual people come out to their health care providers, and most report positive health care experiences. Increasingly, providers are receiving training about transgender health care issues, and while many transpeople still experience the doctor’s office as hostile territory, there is positive movement happening on that front. And according to a large-scale literature review published in 2012, LGBTQ parents seeking health care for their children generally appear to have a good, respectful experience.

However, a question posted by a friend on Facebook got me thinking about why LGBTQ people might be having more positive experiences. Here was her question:

I was perusing the Kaiser website and found this: “Are You Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning? Kaiser Permanente can help connect you with a doctor who is supportive and knowledgeable about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender health issues.”

Are they saying that they know most of their doctors are not supportive and that’s okay? Let us direct you to the few who are supportive. Are LGBT health issues really that much different than anybody else’s? 

One of the reasons LGBTQ people are having better health care experiences, according to researchers, isn’t just because doctors are becoming more informed and accepting. In large part, it’s because we do our homework. We know that NOT all doctors are supportive and knowledgeable about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender health issues – so we go out of our way to find the ones who are. Years ago, when I first moved to Sacramento, I chose the short-haired female OB/GYN whose computer profile indicated she was a Sacramento Monarchs fan – because that’s all the information I had to go on. (My gay-dar, by the way, was completely on target with that one.) When I was pregnant, I had a different OB/GYN who wasn’t particularly accepting of LGBTQ people (among other things) – so I ditched him and chose to work with a midwife. When we were choosing a pediatrician, we pored through numerous online doctor profiles and chose the one (the ONLY one) who specifically said she was knowledgeable about LGBTQ issues. My patterns of choosing doctors seem to fit with the research – a 2011 study out of Michigan State University shows that, in addition to disclosing one’s sexual orientation and having open and supportive communication, a patient’s ability to choose their health care provider was the strongest factor in predicting positive health care experiences.

But you can’t always choose – which brings me back to my friend’s Facebook question, and to our CHD experience. I could choose my midwife. I could choose my daughter’s pediatrician. But once there was an identified health issue, a specialist was brought on board – and we couldn’t choose the specialist. In fact, in our case, the pediatric cardiologist who worked with us was the only one in the entire Kaiser Northern California region. It was him or nobody. And if he (or anybody else involved in my daughter’s care) wasn’t “supportive and knowledgeable” about LGBTQ people, then we were screwed. For that reason, all health care providers need to be trained in working with the LGBTQ community – because all providers are inevitably going to work with LGBTQ people. Or children of LGBTQ people.

CHD Awareness Week kicked off on February 7th, and ends (not coincidentally) on February 14th. If you want to learn more about it, go to http://www.tchin.org/aware/.

 

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Filed under coming out, gay-dar, health, homophobia, LGBT families, psychological research, transgender, transphobia