- Gonzalo Laje
LGBTQ+ Pride Month
The transition between the months of May and June is always one that sneaks up. The end of the school year is approaching, the tail end of spring is arriving, with a mix of rain and sun, and we know what happens when the sun refracts through rain droplets: Rainbows! Rainbow flags begin to start making their way to a variety of surfaces as if guiding us out of the rain and into the sun. As we transition out of Mental Health awareness month, we are welcomed by a celebratory month of acceptance and joy: Pride Month!
What is Pride and Why is it Important?
Pride provides us an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and authenticity of the 2SLBGTQQIAA+ community. It serves as a time for individuals to get together and share a sense of community as well as giving time for reflection, activism, and celebration. Many of us may think of Pride as just a Parade near the end of June, but many towns and cities host many events for the queer community at large to celebrate and advocate. The Pride parade at the end of the month is the culmination of the month’s experiences, as well as a culmination of decades of fights for equality and equity in a heteronormative world. However, we cannot forget the roots of Pride as a fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights outlined nicely here in last year’s newsletter. While pride is now connotated with joy and acceptance, its origins are deeply rooted in political activism and a fight for equal rights, with a large driving force being the events that occurred at the Stonewall in in 1969. The first Pride March was documented in New York city at the anniversary of the incident at the Stonewall Inn on June 28th, 1970
Fun fact: the colors on the original pride flag each had their own meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirt. These days, you will see the 6-color flag, but may also see variations that include black, brown, light blue, and pink. Representation will always be important to the community, so the inclusion of the black and brown represent indigenous and Black queer communities, and the light blue and pink representing the trans community. The flag continues to get many additions, which is exciting to watch in real time!
WBMA, Power Recognition, and Affirming Care
WBMA stands firmly with the 2SLBGTQQIAA+ community and we prioritize the provision of affirming care to individuals and those who continue to love and support them. We are committed to challenging pathologization and marginalization of any person on the basis of sexual or affectional orientation, or gender identity, through our work with clients, peers, providers, organizations, and government agencies. As part of challenging this pathologization, WBMA also must recognize the harm that both psychology and psychiatry have perpetrated against the queer community. Up until the 1970s, homosexuality was portrayed in the DSM as a mental illness, which led to stigmatization and othering of queer individuals. WBMA commits itself to continually undoing the stigma and harm that was perpetuated by the field by providing a safe and judgement free space where queer individuals can receive affirming care. Our providers are dedicated to understanding the experiences of the community through experience, workshops, and continuing education in these specific fields and well as consultation when appropriate. We understand the distrust many healthcare fields have created through their judgment and mistreatment of the queer community and strive to exemplify queer affirming care. We adhere to the WPATH Standards of Care and the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients, as well as the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.
Jordan Lankford: Member and Advocate of the Queer Community.
My name is Jordan Lankford, and I am a current doctoral extern at WBMA who identifies as a gay man. I came out when I was 16 with the support of my friends, father, and siblings, who have continually done nothing but support and love me for who I am and what I have to offer. My identity has been one that has caused me some hardships but has also brought an immense amount of joy, love, and understanding of myself as a person simply through being able to live my life as authentically as possible.
My first Pride experience was at the age of 16. I had just gotten my driver’s license, and was driving my friends and sibling to Seattle, WA to watch the Pride parade unfold. In that moment I felt surrounded and supported by individuals who understood my experience and would serve as a community for me to rely on. Fast forward a decade, I am a doctoral psychology extern who strives to recreate that feeling in the therapy and assessment rooms with my clients. Working with WBMA, I was very forthcoming with my interests in providing affirming care with LGBTQ+ populations. After allowing me to be their extern, they have been nothing but kind, affirming, and supportive, to both me and the clients we care for. With the social progress made in the past decade, it is so good to be able to have affirming care be accessible and openly discussed.
No matter your age, you can always discover or questions new things about your identity. WBMA provides a safe space for you to be able to verbalize and explore these discoveries with the aid of affirming mental health providers. Whether this is your first Pride or you are a Pride frequenter, we welcome you with open hearts and open minds!
Are you wondering what you can do to show solidarity or support for the 2SLBGTQQIAA+ community? Here are just a few of the many opportunities to show up, speak out, and advocate in our region and beyond:
Is Pride new for you? Maybe you’re looking for a good first step or want to learn how to better support someone you love? Here are some resources:
How to Support your LGBTQIA+ Child
Why Affirming Care is So Important
Resources For Providers
If you are a provider and need resources pertaining to providing and conceptualizing affirming care, here are a few!
What does Pride mean to you? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what Pride means to you. If you’d like, we’ll spotlight your story on WBMA’ s SOAR Program’s social media. All month we’ll be embracing stories of resilience, love, strength, determination, and Pride by and for our community.
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Extern