Days of Pink Ambassadors

Dr. Fiona Aiston
Historically, LGBTQ2S+ people have faced significant discrimination in healthcare settings.  There continues to be significant barriers to adequate care for LGBTQ2S+ people across Canada.  As a physician working within our healthcare system, it is important for me to do my part in ending homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, especially within the healthcare context in Yellowknife. I provide comprehensive primary care to transgender and gender non-binary patients in Yellowknife.  I do my best to provide inclusive, non-judgemental care to all patients I interact with.  I act as a resource for many of my colleagues who have questions regarding terminology and ways to approach and improve the care for their LGBTQ2+ patients.

Dr. Hannah Shoichet
Being a member of the queer community, I have had unpleasant experiences as a patient where my sexuality or gender identity has been assumed. I don’t want that to happen to other people. People need to feel supported and safe in the presence of their health care providers. For me, battling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia occurs in small acts, like helping colleagues understand terminology and how to find resources that they can access to learn more about the LGBTQ2S+ community. Some people still don’t understand the difference between gender and sexuality. Some people don’t know that it’s okay to respectfully ask questions when you just don’t understand. Above all, I want people to feel that they are in a safe space when they are in the care of our team.

Stephen O’Brien
I had always been a passive ally of the community, but nothing alters your perspective like having a family member identify. You realize just how marginalized the community is and it really opens your eyes to the everyday struggles and slights toward them.  I want nothing more than my children to grow up in society where people will not marginalized or attacked just because of who they are, part of the community or not. Being a white, straight, cis-male; I recognize that I live a privileged life.  Besides the pronoun corrections and enlightening I can bring in a conversation as I become more informed about the community, I think that I have an opportunity to use that privilege to assist the conversation.

Lane MacIntosh, President of RCYK
As a transgender non-binary individual ending homophobia, biphobia & transphobia is important to me because it is vital to my survival. We also have a responsibility to the future leaders of tomorrow. By teaching the children and youth in our lives that they have to actively work against the injustices that societal norms have built, we grow adults that are invested in creating a tomorrow that benefits everyone. Every single person has a responsibility to create the world they want to live in and the one I want to live in is free of discrimination. I work to do this by constantly educating myself and those around me. A step is a step and it is time to get moving.

Kirstin Prescott
Ending homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia is important to me because I want everyone to be able and allowed to live their authentic life in a safe and healthy way. I work to end the phobias by calling out inappropriate language and actions, by explaining why it’s inappropriate, by teaching appropriate language and actions, and by raising awareness about the LGBTQ2S+ community and modelling acceptance and tolerance in my classroom and my community.

Dr. Michael Bokor
Ending homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is important to me personally because of how it affects those I love, myself and society as a whole. It’s just inherently right for everyone to have the same human rights – no matter who they are. I work to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through education and the privilege my job and upbringing have given me. I don’t shy away from discussing with others who have different viewpoints, and using that opportunity to share my perspective. It can often be turned into a moment of understanding.

Kristin Richardson
Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia make LGBTQ2S+ people sick. There are serious health consequences that prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance have on queer and trans folk. As health care providers, we all have a responsibility and an ethical obligation to promote competent and compassionate care for all of our patients. To do no harm, we all need to prioritize being advocates to our LGBTQ2S+ folk from an intersectional perspective. We need to avoid tokenizing and burdening the other healthcare workers who openly identify themselves as queer or trans – and expect them to be the sole providers of care to their own community. We need to take on this important allyship and ensure we provide non-judgemental, compassionate, empathetic, genuine, competent care to all genders and gender expressions, sexualities, identities, races, creeds, cultures, and disabilities. I challenge my nursing and health care provider colleagues to strive to be better. To do better. To be an ally for us. In my role as a health care provider, I utilize any opportunity to advocate for improving healthcare services and access to the LGBTQ2S+ folk in my community. I also include teaching opportunities with my colleagues in health care regarding queer and trans specific health questions or concerns, and do my best to be available for consultation on same. I’ve also sought out further knowledge and competencies to provide care to transgender folks, as I noted a lack of visible or accessible providers in the North that provide services for people who are transitioning.I also prioritize living authentically as a self-identified bisexual/queer women, and being visible for those in the community who may not yet have the ability to do same. If I meet challenges and hardship in my journey and it inspires another individual find the ability to safely and authentically be their true selves, it was worth every moment.

Daniel Gunn
For the sheer fact that we live in a world where being a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, can still be punishable by imprisonment and/or death, I want people to be able to live the life they choose, without fear of discrimination, hate, violence, or death based solely on their identity. In Health Care, we are still striving to become more inclusive within our system, policies, and procedures.  In my own nursing practice, I try to provide a safe environment, free of judgement and ask questions that are inclusive of gender or orientation.

Dr. Suzanne Robinson
I desire a better world and as a teacher that means education and knowledge. Homophobia, biphobia & transphobia is born of ignorance which can lead to fear and hate. Knowledge and understanding defeat ignorance. This is critical as fear and hate damage our world. The LGBTQ2 community has long been a source of personal inspiration and comfort by supporting me and teaching me about confidence, tolerance of others and acceptance of myself as a person, professional and parent. My family is blessed with LGBTQ2 members and family is there for each other and the more we understand that the a better world we will have. My classroom is a safe place to discuss LGBTQ2 issues as an effective learning environment is created by positive discourse. You must feel your authentic self in order to learn and my students’ learning is paramount. Fear and hate do not allow people to fulfill their potential but rather they cause damage, not just to the individual, but to the community as a whole. Our College’s learning environment is open and accepting because learning must transcend differences as to create vibrant spaces that lead to actualization and elevation.  Fear and hate create nothing good or productive. And as a parent I have become even more dedicated to striving for the world to be a place of acceptance and joy and that means confronting that which holds us back.