Each year, the Office of Community Engagement & Health Equity collaborates with affinity groups, including BCM Pride, and academic and administrative departments across the College to celebrate Pride Month, LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day. The Office of Community Engagement & Health Equity also acknowledges that every day must be an opportunity to work towards eliminating bias, discrimination, and injustices against members of the LGBTQ+ community, including our learners, employees, and patients.
LGBT History Month
LGBT History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. LGBT History Month was created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months. October was selected to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), which was already established, and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights in 1979. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community.
You may have noticed more students, trainees, faculty, staff and patients share their pronouns when they introduce themselves or include their pronouns with their name in an email, patient forms or on their name tag?
Like names, pronouns are an important part of how we identify that deserves to be respected. Pronouns come in many forms. They are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people, such as they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, and he/him/his. There are other nonbinary pronouns. Someone’s pronouns inform us how to best refer to and honor them.
It is important to ask people what their pronouns are. If you have questions, politely ask the person if they feel comfortable giving examples of how to use those pronouns. While we want to do our best to use someone’s correct pronouns, mistakes can happen. If this does happen, it is best to apologize, say what pronoun you meant to use, and move on without dwelling on the mistake. The Human Rights Campaign offers some guidance in this video.
By sharing our own pronouns routinely, we encourage others to do the same and demonstrate that we understand the importance of sharing pronouns. This practice helps minimize misgendering and is an important strategy towards inclusivity. Using someone’s correct pronouns is an important way of affirming someone’s identity and is a fundamental step in being an ally.
Safe Zone Program at Baylor College of Medicine
The Safe Zone Program at Baylor College of Medicine, adapted from The Safe Zone Project, is a comprehensive program designed for our health sciences environment to create a commitment from learners and employees and departments committed to creating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ community members, including our students, trainees, faculty, staff and patients. The four core components of the program include:
- Education Programs - initial and ongoing education for learners and employees about LGBTQ+ issues related to BCM mission areas,
- Evaluation and Assessment - ongoing evaluation and modifications to individual and unit processes, practices, behaviors, etc. to improve inclusion for LGBTQ+ community members,
- Safe Zone Spaces - foster creation of designated safe spaces for LGBTQ+ community members and their allies to receive support, guidance, mentorship, etc.; and
- Advocacy and Outreach - develop opportunities for advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights at multiple levels (e.g. clinics, community, institution, etc.) to improve respect, dignity, access and outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community.
For more information about The Safe Zone Program or to request delivery of the Introduction to Safe Zone Program workshop, please email the steering committee at InstitutionalDiversity@bcm.edu.
- American Civil Liberties Union
- AAMC Sexual & Gender Minority Health Resources
- AAMC: To Protect Evidence-Based Medicine and Promote Health Justice, Protect Gender-Affirming Medical Care
- AMA Creating an LGBTQ-friendly Practice
- Center of Excellence in LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity
- GLAAD: Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
- GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality
- GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
- Human Rights Campaign
- Lambda Legal
- Montrose Center
- NIH Sexual & Gender Minority
- National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center (A Program of The Fenway Institute)
- Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBT People (PFLAG) National
- PFLAG Houston
- Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month, 2023
- The Trevor Project
- Transgender Law Center