As a woman who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I am familiar with various terminology used by people who are part of this community, and some of the challenges that they face. I also would like to make it clear that as a straight presenting woman who lives with her female partner, with an accepting family, in a part of the world that is more friendly and open with the LGBTQ+ community, that I have many priviledges that most people do not. I also would like to clear that I too am constantly learning and do not pretend to know everything about the identities and experiences of every individual in this community.
In occupational therapy, we like to talk about meeting our clients where they are at, and considering the individual as a whole. When this is discussed in school, it is focused on physical ability, mental health challenges, cognitive challenges etc. We talk about things that may have happened to you, or barriers that affect you because of your abilities or challenges, but I found that in my program at least, we didn’t talk about if your client is experiencing challenges based on their identity (gender, sexuality, race etc). Focusing in on sexuality and gender identity, it is important to learn more about the terminology and the lived experiences of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community in my opinion because often the prejudice or discrimination they may have experienced before meeting you can affect their lives and their occupations greatly. Individuals may have experienced mistreated by previous health professionals, oppression in the workplace or in trying to attain housing, and this can create feelings of mistrust in health professionals and experiences of trauma. All in all, occupational imbalances/challenges can definitely be related to gender identity, expression and sexual orientation, so it is an important area to get aquainted with.
Although education doesn’t mean you will always easily build rapport with every client you meet (and education doesn’t make you automatically an ally), I believe it is important to make yourself aware of the different identities, pronouns and experiences your clients may be coming to you with. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to go on an occupational therapy journey with your client.
That being said, I think it is important to share this blog post from the #OTalk series on Improving Diversity in the OT Profession on LGBTQIA+ and Gender Representation in OT. I could rewrite all this information, dive into my research and redefine the terms, but they were very elequently written in this post. Please feel free to join into the conversation on their post!
Before you scroll down and click on the link to the article, know that I am always here as an open book if you have any questions – no matter how you identify, what your pronouns are, what your lived experiences are…. please feel free to reach out and contact me! I am always here to listen and provide a shoulder if needed, as well as any education or connection to resources you might feel you need.
Sending lots of love and enjoy the #OTalk in the link below
Welcome to the third in this #OTalk Series on Improving Diversity in the OT Profession with this one taking part next week on #WorldOTDay.
Do check out the transcripts of our previous chats here – on BAME https://otalk.co.uk/2020/07/13/otalk-21st-july-2020-improving-bame-representation-in-ot-otalk-diversity-in-ot-series-uk-focus/
and Disability https://otalk.co.uk/2020/08/23/otalk-25th-august-2020-improving-disability-representation-in-ot-otalk-series-uk-focus/ Representation, and do also put the 15th December in your diary for an Update on where we are […]#OTalk 27th October 2020 – Improving LGBTQIA+ and Gender Representation in OT – #OTalk Series (UK Focus) – — OTalk