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Providing a safe space: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride month in your pharmacy

Talking to a friend made Peter Kelly realise the many ways in which community pharmacists can support their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) patients this Pride month

In June 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City staged an uprising to resist the police harassment and persecution that LGBTQ+ Americans were commonly subjected to. This uprising marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ+ Americans.

This movement has been very successful so far. Every year in June there are parties, parades, workshops, and concerts all around the world to commemorate the uprising. As of today, there are 34 countries where same-sex marriage is legal, which would have seemed unimaginable in 1969. However, there is still a long way to go and with all struggles against injustice, you can never become complacent.

Read more: Be PrEPared: How can pharmacists best support their LGBTQ+ patients?

In light of Pride month, I decided to sit and talk with my good friend and comedic superstar Dane Buckley. He is not a household name yet – but trust me, he will be. Dane opened for Tom Allen on tour and has recently completed some tour nights for Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally’s live shows of the phenomenally successful My Therapist Ghosted Me podcast. He also works for a charity running a support service for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

I asked Dane what I can do as a pharmacist manager to support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month. He told me the main thing people want to know is that they can feel safe in the pharmacy talking to me and my team. Having a poster up, putting up bunting or a sticker in the window to support Pride Month can make a difference too.

It sends a message that this is a safe space where people can come and seek health advice and talk candidly without any fear of prejudice or judgment. Patients could be coming from other countries where it is not always safe to speak openly about their sexuality, he explained.

Read more: LGBT+ in pharmacy: pride despite prejudice

Dane says the use of language is very important as well. Little things like not assuming a man’s partner is a woman or trying to ask someone if they have a partner rather than a girlfriend, for example, are subtle but can make all the difference.

Some places have “You are safe to be yourself here” posters and that is a lovely message for people worried about their safety.

He also explained that it is good to think about discretion and other people in the pharmacy. Not everyone can be open and out as they may be part of a community that is not accepting. If you can do these little things, it will make your job easier and quicker and make the world of difference to the person receiving the service.

LGBTQ+ people often recommend services that are safe, so word of mouth spreads to ensure people get to safe and welcoming services. And isn’t that a lovely thing?

 

Peter Kelly is a pharmacist at Kamsons Pharmacy

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Pharmacy Manager
Guernsey
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