A (Very) Brief Overview of Some Of the Problem
We’ll start with one of the absolute worst things humanity has thought up; conversion therapy. While this practice is outdated and growing rarer every day (thankfully), it’s a barbaric practice aimed at changing someone’s sexual or gender identity. Why am I mentioning this?
Because this practice is still legal in many states, including Florida.
At best it consists of talk therapy that paints homesexuality or a transgender identity as a mental illness, as something that is broken about an individual and should be fixed. At worst, the picture is so much darker. In fact the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (yes, torture victims) published an article titled Conversion Therapy is Torture discussing terrifying components that are a part of conversion therapy around the world to this day;
“The research shows that people are subjected to corrective violence and invalid medication (including anti-psychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety and hormone injections). Electroconvulsive therapy, aversive treatments using electric shocks or vomit-inducing drugs, exorcism or ritual cleansing (often involving violence while reciting religious verse), force-feeding and food deprivation, forced nudity, and forced isolation and confinement are some of the more extreme examples of conversion therapy.”
Chilling. While in the U.S. conversion therapy may not be as physically shocking for the most part, the practice can still include things like gender-affirming surgeries, aversion therapy (combining pain or an unpleasant stimulus with a representations of a person’s sexuality) with the goal of creating a negative association and eventually changing it, and much more. The fact that a practice like this is still legal in the United States is extremely disappointing and deeply terrifying. We urge you to educate yourself, and help shut down this outdated modality.
In addition to the unbelievable existence of conversion therapy, we are still thoroughly lacking diversity and inclusion for the LGBTQ community in daily life. In the media, in our businesses, in our positions of power, and just about everywhere. The lack of representation only serves as a contributing factor to the unique mental health struggles and life challenges this community is forced to face (including a higher risk of being victims of violence and discrimination).
How Can We Help?
In the face of all that, how can we help? How can a regular non-politician/famous person make an impact? A small business as opposed to a large corporation? One individual as opposed to a large group? In my opinion, it starts with taking a stand. Make a decision on the kind of person/business you want to be, and don’t waver.
At On-The-Go Wellness we’ve taken our stance; we have a responsibility to our patients to create an inclusive, educated, and accepting place where they feel welcome and safe. This Pride Month, and every month, we promise to educate ourselves on the unique challenges the LGBTQ community faces, value diversity, and aim for representation and inclusion within our staff. We urge businesses, and other medical professionals to do the same. Educate yourself on the health disparities and mental health complexities that your LGBTQ patients may deal with. Create an environment of diversity within your walls so that when anyone walks in, they feel that there is someone like them, and that the space is a safe one.
We are here to support a community that has already suffered so much, and here to fight for equality alongside them. Our alliance is not with politics or medicine, it is with our people and their whole health.
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