It’s LGBTQIA Pride Month and Marriage Equality Month!

Portland Pride Week is happening soon!  Learn more about upcoming events and how to show your support: https://pridenw.org/

This Saturday, I’m attending an all day workshop to become certified to write letters for transgender individuals who wish to undergo gender-affirming surgery. I’d like to say I’ve always been a fierce ally, or accomplice, for the LGBTQIA community, but, like many of us, I am late to the process of recognizing my privilege. More importantly, I’ve only begun to see the ways I benefit from systemic, institutionalized prejudice and racism. The recent election nightmare has been a huge wake up call.

Here’s what I’ve learned. It’s not enough to cheer from the sidelines as groups and individuals fight for equality. I have to use what I have to change the way things work. It is the responsibility of white people to end racism. It is the responsibility of cis-hetero people to end prejudice. As Margaret Jacobsen recently wrote, it is time to stop thinking, “if you’re liberal and you’ve chosen to recycle and listen to NPR, then you can’t possibly be racist.”

For real change to occur, we also need to use our talents, in real life, to create change. I am a psychiatrist. I have a medical degree. These are my tools, my talents, my power. So this Saturday, I am going to learn to use those things to start creating change. 

I hope sharing this will encourage us all to think about what we can do to go from privileged to equal. What are your skills, your talents, where is your power? How can you use them to change the institutions that favor the privileged and keep out others?

This post was written by Jessica Gilbertson Hitchcock, a Director on ATO’s Board of Directors.

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