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How Can We Welcome and Include LGBTQ Parents and Families into Our Program?

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH

April 13, 2020

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Question

How can we welcome and include LGBTQ parents and families into our program?

Answer

How can we welcome and include LGBTQ parents and families? Do promotional materials and ads feature same-sex couples or trans parents? Does your organization take care to ensure that LGBTQ parents feel included in parent trainings and meetings? If there are parent trainings and meetings, instead of saying, "Moms and dads" when you address the parents, make sure you acknowledge that there are a lot of different family structures.

When my kids were in Pre-K, I volunteered at their school one day reading books to the class.  One of the books I read was called Love Makes a Family. The story talks about a child who was with her mom and dad and they love to give their dog a bath. Another child in the story was with her dad and his partner and they like to cook dinner together. It also talked about two sisters who live with their grandma and she's great at helping them with their math homework. This book is an example of normalizing LGBTQ families and all different kinds of families, whether they are single parents or children living with grandparents.

Are the parents aware that the staff has had inclusion trainings including LGBTQ? We have some friends who are lesbians and they have an adopted daughter. It really made a difference to them knowing that the staff at their child's school goes through diversity training and inclusion training, including LGBTQ. They felt that because it was in the promotional materials and on the website they really knew they were going to a place where their family is valued.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Cultural Competence With Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning Individuals, by Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH.


sara pullen

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH

Dr. Pullen is an Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine, where she coordinates the service learning program and the pro bono physical therapy clinic. Dr. Pullen’s clinical practice and research focuses on the intersection of HIV, chronic pain and opioid use, especially in underserved areas. Dr. Pullen started the first physical therapy clinic within a freestanding, multi-service AIDS clinic in the southeastern U.S. where she holds weekly clinics and conducts clinical research.  She has wide experience in the provision of health services to underserved communities both in the U.S. and internationally. She has published several peer-reviewed journals on the topic of HIV and physical therapy, and provided the HIV content of the two major study guides for the physical therapy national board licensure exam. In 2015, she received the IPT-HOPE Award from the World Congress of Physical Therapy for her work in the field of HIV and physiotherapy. In 2018, she received the Emory University School of Medicine’s prestigious Hidden Gem Award for her groundbreaking work with HIV and chronic pain in vulnerable communities. 


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