Happy Father’s Day!

I was waiting in line with my step-son the other day and there was a display of Father’s Day merchandise in front of us. He is going to be six years old at the end of August, and has recently latched onto reading in ways that I could have only hoped for. He looked at the display thoughtfully, looked at me, and said, “That makes me feel weird”. I said, “Me too”.

This reminds me of a time when my partner and I went to a local children’s bookstore. We were looking for a book that would reflect our family, one that we could read with our son that wouldn’t highlight the fact that there is no person who meets the criteria of “father” in our family. We approached the clerk and asked where we might find such a book. I remember hearing someone clear their throat, and a booming voice to my right confidently stated, “Well, technically every child has a father”. I smiled, turned to the unsolicited adviser, and said, “The role of father is a social construct and technically, fathers are simply sperm donors, which is what our child has”. This man was accompanied by a woman who appeared close to his age. She smiled at me, and then turned to him and smiled. He responded, “I supposed you’re right”. The clerk showed us to the section that she thought might have something that suited our needs, but aside from one book that briefly mentioned a family with two mums and adopted children, we were not reflected as a family anywhere.

I started dating my current partner almost three years ago. At the time, her son Oscar was almost three. Despite never seeing myself as a mother, this remarkable child has shown me my own version of motherhood that I cannot imagine being without. Oscar and I have a relationship that has changed us both and given us strength; we have developed an understanding of each other and ourselves that we would not otherwise have. I am his third mother, but he still does not have a father. I don’t see this as a problem. I have a father. He is unwell and we can no longer have a relationship without causing me harm. I am who I am today in spite of my father. I have never been happier and healthier. When I asked Oscar why the Father’s Day display made him feel weird, he answered, “Because your dad makes you feel bad”.

Mother’s Day is a big deal in our house for obvious reasons, but looming in the distance is always Father’s Day. It is the day I’m reminded that my dad is far from “world’s best dad”. Despite being only 5 years old, Oscar can reconcile not having a father with the fact that he has met my father and can understand why we no longer have a relationship. My partner is, in many ways, Oscar’s masculine role model. For Krista, Father’s Day is a reminder that her beloved father died and left this world far too young. He remains alive in many ways: through storytelling, cooking, and all the other little ways the ones who leave us stay with us- mannerisms, an occasional touch of a Newfoundland accent, and cherished photos.

In our house, Father’s Day is a reminder of what Krista and I don’t have, but not for Oscar. Oscar doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that society constructs a role for men where they feel entitled to a relationship with children to whom they’ve simply made a genetic contribution. Oscar has taught me that I can resist the trappings of a society where, in many ways, every day is Father’s Day. For those who have fathers who provide the love and support you need: Happy Father’s Day to you! For those who do not have the father that society tirelessly scripts for us all: being without a father on Father’s Day is more common than society would have you think, and some of us are even better off without him in our lives.

To my darling Oscar: Don’t ever let the world have you believe that you lack in anything. It is the world that lacks in your strength and brilliance. You have revealed to me that the construction of father is something today that we too will celebrate, but as an act of resistance.

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Just released – 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report

In 2017, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Connecticut to replicate and expand on a similar 2012 survey to identify  experiences of LGBTQ youth in their family settings, schools, social circles and communities. This project revealed persistent challenges still existing for LGBTQ youth, but also signs of hope for the future.  Over 12,000 youth aged 13-17 participated in the survey, with representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The report of this study is now available here!

Here are a few of the persistent and alarming challenges that the UConn team reported:

  • 95 percent of LGBTQ youth report trouble sleeping at night;
  • 77 percent of LGBTQ teenagers surveyed report feeling depressed over the past week on average; more than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;
  • LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers report the highest levels of rejection and isolation – only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S.;
  • 50 percent of trans and gender expansive youth said they never use school restrooms because they are unable to access those that align with their gender identity;
  • Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms – and just 5 percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people;
  • 67 percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
    (quoted from UConn Today, May 15, 2018)

But they also reported some positive trends that show the resilience of LGBTQ young people – even in the face of an often difficult reality:

  • 91 percent of youth report feeling pride in being an LGBTQ person, and 93 percent are proud to be a part of the community.
  • Three out of five LGBTQ students have access to a LGBTQ student club – which has been shown to have a positive impact on the perceptions LGBTQ youth have of their school experiences, and can provide support to those who may face hostile environments at home or in their communities.
    (quoted from UConn Today, May 15, 2018)

You can download this very important report here!

 

Posted in Children and Youth, LGBTQ youth, Minority Stress, Overcoming "isms", Research projects | Leave a comment

Virtual Coffee Hour for nurses working with LGBTQIA populations

On April 26, 2018 from 12-1pm Eastern time the LGBTQIA Health and Health Disparities RIG of the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) and Nursing Section of Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (formerly GLMA) are co-hosting a virtual coffee hour for nurses interested in working with LGBTQIA populations in practice, research, and education.

We are hoping this will become a monthly, ongoing discussion. The goal is to provide a space for nurses interested in work with LGBTQIA populations in any area to brainstorm together, obtain peer support, share opportunities for engagement and collaboration. The virtual coffee hour will also allow for networking with folks affiliated with both of our groups to increase access to potential collaborators and mentors.

This is an informal event. We encourage you to virtually stop by as your schedule allows, whether that is just for a few minutes to say hello or for a longer period of time.

The meeting will be hosted via Zoom, a secure online platform. Please join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by pasting this web link into your browser:https://umassd.zoom.us/j/344981411

You can also call in via telephone if you don’t have access to the Internet during that time-US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968

 Meeting ID: 344 981 411

For questions or additional information, feel free to contact Caitlin Stover, Chair of the GLMA Nursing Section (cstover@umassd.edu) or the co-chairs of the ENRS LGBTQIA Health and Health Disparities RIG (enrs.lgbt.rig@gmail.com).

Sincerely,

Jordon Bosse, Kasey Jackman & Chasity Burrows (ENRS LGBTQIA RIG)
Caitlin Stover & Caroline Dorsen (GLMA Nursing Section)

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Save the date – GLMA Nursing Summit, Wednesday, October 10, 2018

You are invited to participate in the GLMA Nursing Summit, which will take place prior to the GLMA Annual Conference on LGBT Health—the premier scientific conference on LGBTQ health. The Summit will be held at the Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas, located at 3555 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109.

The goal of the GLMA Nursing Summit is to build an inclusive home that promotes capacity building for LGBTQ nurses, nurse allies and nurse supporters. The summit will provide a forum for mentorship, support, and networking to develop and refine skills nec-essary to promote health equity for LGBTQ individuals. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, research, leadership, education and training, policy and activism, workplace climate, and patient care. Nursing CE will be available.

 

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Upcoming Events

We have received notice of notable events for from the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) LGBTQIA Research Interest Group (RIG)

April 22- 24, 2018, SYNChronicity2018, (Washington, D. C.)
The National Coalition for LGBT Health presents SYNChronicity 2018, a conference on LGBT, HIV, and HCV Health. Over the course of three days, in plenary and track sessions, SYNC 2018 features thought leaders and key influencers presenting the latest information on LGBT health. SYNC 2018 will address an array of topics, including best practices to SYNC STD prevention and treatment within the LGBT community: addiction services for LGBT individuals: transitional health services for transgender youth; trauma-informed care for LGBT domestic violence survivors; and harm reduction and smoking cessation for LGBT youth. For more information: http://healthhiv.org/synchronicity/

May 4 – 6, 2018 LGBT Health Workforce Conference (NYC, NY)
The LGBT Health Workforce Conference provides an overview of up-to-date practices (climate, educational, research, and clinical) in preparing the health care workforce to address the health concerns and disparities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. This conference is designed for health professionals, social workers, psychologists, educators, and students (pre-health professions, professional schools, and graduate), but all interested are invited to attend.

May 24-25, LGBTQ Research Symposium (Champaign-Urbana, IL)
The 6th Annual LGBTQ Research Symposium is focused on “Queer Thriving in the Current Social & Political Climate”. Dr. Mignon Moore from Barnard College will be the keynote speaker. The mission of the LGBTQ Research Symposium is to develop a strong interdisciplinary and collaborative network of students, scholars, practitioners, and policy makers focusing on research challenges and opportunities unique to working with LGBTQ populations. Specifically, one goal is to foster the methodological growth of students and new professionals.

Jordon Bosse, MS, RN      Kasey Jackman, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC    Chasity Burrows-Walters, PhD, RN
PhD Candidate                    Postdoctoral Research Scientist                Director of Patient & Caregiver Engagement
College of Nursing              School of Nursing                                        Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
UMass Amherst                  Columbia University
Twitter: @jbossern
Posted in Call for papers/abstracts, Conferences | Leave a comment