Celebrating Pride!

Vancouver Pride parade, 2023.

Vancouver Pride parade, 2023.

Canada Pride 2024 in Vancouver takes place from 26 July to 4 August. Pride marks a time of celebration, advocacy, and reflection for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Vancouver’s Pride parade is on 4 August 2024.

My colleagues and I at the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine have marched in every Pride parade since 2016. I have also had my children alongside me in the parade since they were babies—it’s a great event for kids, as Pacific Street turns into a collective rainbow bash of positive vibes, water guns, and music. One year, my son had the honor of being interviewed by the drag queens hosting the television coverage. My son was bursting with pride when they announced to the crowd that his mom was their fertility doctor! After that encounter, my kids assumed that my office was basically an all-day dance party.

Beyond the parties, Pride is more than symbolism and pageantry. As physicians, we have a unique responsibility to foster inclusivity by providing equitable health care for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. While British Columbia boasts progressive values, it’s essential to acknowledge the persistent health disparities faced by those who identify as LGBTQIA2S+. Research tells us that members of this community experience higher rates of certain mental and physical health issues compared with their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts.[1] Discrimination, stigma, and lack of access to affirming health care services are some of the contributors to this disparity.

Pride can be an opportunity for health care providers to reflect on our role in these disparities. LGBTQIA2S+ individuals face an ongoing struggle for rights and equality. This is an opportunity to re-examine and re-affirm our commitment to providing compassionate and culturally competent care to all patients.

There are many ways to improve how we deliver inclusive health care. Each of us knows our own unique patient populations and strives to evolve to meet their needs. One aspect of affirming medical care might include continuing education, such as keeping up with the latest guidelines or educating team members on inclusive language. We can display visible symbols of support, such as Pride flags, so that patients know our facilities are safe spaces where they can express their identities without fear of judgment or discrimination. Egale Canada (formerly Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere) and Trans Care BC are two resources I’ve found helpful, but there are many others. Please comment online or email the BCMJ if you have resources or advice to share.

In Vancouver and across BC, we are fortunate to have a vibrant and active LGBTQIA2S+ community that provides support and resources to its members. Health care providers can find ways to stay actively engaged, seeking input and feedback to assess how our services are meeting the community’s needs. Pride season is a powerful reminder that together we can build an inclusive, compassionate, and equitable health care system. Happy Pride!
—Caitlin Dunne, MD, FRCSC


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1.    Jakubiec BAE, Pang C, Seida K. Healthcare access experiences and needs among LBQ women, trans, and nonbinary people in Canada: A research report. Egale Canada. 2023. Accessed 14 May 2024. https://egale.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/EN-Action-Through-Connection-Report_Final.pdf.

Caitlin Dunne, MD, FRCSC. Celebrating Pride!. BCMJ, Vol. 66, No. 6, July, August, 2024, Page(s) 188 - Editorials.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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