On Dec. 14, 2022, we hosted a panel discussion featuring four incredible queer clinicians with experience working both with the pediatric and bilingual populations. The aim of the event was to answer questions like the following
- What are some challenges that may arise from professionals and students at the pediatrics-bilingual intersection?
- How do we interact with certain traditions that perpetuate cis-heteronormativity and cis-hetero-patriarchy without compromising our own identities.
- How do we make space and pave the way for future generations of students and professionals?
Here’s my top three takeaways that you can apply to your education or professional practice today:
It is absolutely possible and imperative to both respect a culture and promote evidence based practices.
Certain populations may follow cultural traditions and espouse cultural values that do not align with LGBTQ+ inclusion and perpetuate cis-hetero patriarchy. Clinician Estrada highlighted that some Hispanic parents disapproved of his encouragement for the boys in treatment to engage with dolls, as the prescribed exercise contradicted these families’ belief in male machismo. Likewise, clinician Chi noted that certain Chinese households they worked with condoned the emotionally absent archetype.
In such cases, panelists suggest taking part in respectful carrying out discussions that critically examine cultural practices without dismissing or disparaging them. Clinician Estrada and parents under his care contemplated whether or not masculinity needed to be built atop toughness and violence. For Clinician Chi, they recalled asking fathers to describe the potential consequences of their absence, covertly convincing them to attend sessions with their children.
A more inclusive office and classroom culture can start with you!
Self disclosure of your identity, or the simple act of adorning your clothing with pride accessories or pronouns pins can make all the difference, especially in making young children feel represented and in establishing yourself as a role model. However, your safety absolutely comes first. If you are in an environment where signs of queerness can cost you your career or livelihood, our panelists urge you to exercise prudence and caution with the amount and type of information you share about yourself. Moreover, if you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal information for any reason, your choice to remain private is completely valid.
Diversity and representation do not amount to inclusion.
Although diversity and representation are indispensable, they do not guarantee support from administrators or feelings of belonging. More specifically, the presence of queer staff, clinicians, and students does not necessarily translate to protection from discrimination. To this day, queer students are still vulnerable to mistreatment, and queer professionals in conservative areas are still at high risk of losing job security.
We most definitely still have a long road of advocacy and education ahead of us before achieving true equity, and it may be daunting. However, we promise you that there is hope, and we believe in you.