For Pride Month 2021, current UVA Radiology residents and Diversity and Inclusion Representatives Peter Duden and Rabia Idrees coordinated events and activities for fellow residents and the department during the month of June.
LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated in June each year to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Pride is marked by diverse celebrations around the world, including parades, concerts, rallies, festivals, parties, workshops, and memorials for individuals whose lives have been lost due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
We talked with Peter and Rabia about what they organized and why Pride Month is so important to celebrate.
Talk a little bit about what you organized to mark Pride Month in the department.
RABIA: Residency can be quite busy, so our wellness and diversity events typically involve bringing in food for the residents during the lunch hour and giving everyone some much-needed time to socialize. For Pride, we hosted a brunch in the resident lounge and invited all the trainees in the department, including fellows. The brunch served multiple purposes: first, it incentivized trainees to come through the lounge and see the educational content that we helped create and put on the department’s screens. It also created a space for trainees to openly discuss Pride Month and what it means to be LGBTQ. We handed out rainbow stickers that trainees could wear throughout the day to show that they were allies. Lastly, it was a way to celebrate the progress we have made as a society for LGBTQ rights and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.
What do you hope other people in the department take away from Pride Month?
PETER: Pride Month is something that everyone can support. It is about being true to yourself, and it is about being an ‘open’ person, in general, to others. As physicians and care providers, we constantly see LGBTQ patients during procedures and follow-up visits. But it may not be apparent that they are LGBTQ during these appointments. It’s one reason why it’s important for us to be welcoming.
Why is it important to talk about Pride and the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ community?
PETER: There is still a significant proportion of Americans who do not want to associate with gay people and judge them, whether they are vocal about it or keep their thoughts to themselves. This obviously negatively impacts many LGBTQ people as they are growing up, whether emotionally or physically. Trans men and women, in particular, have terrible challenges in the United States, and were the most vocal during the Stonewall riots that eventually led to many of the improvements in gay rights today.
Why does celebrating and marking Pride Month matter to you?
RABIA: Growing up as a minority, I empathize with anyone who has felt ‘different’ in their communities. It was important to celebrate Pride Month to make sure those who identify as LGBTQ and are a part of our community know they are accepted and loved.
PETER: Celebrating Pride is such a happy time for me. It reminds me of how much better and more authentic my life has been since coming out. The 2015 Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges (for gay marriage) was a highlight for me. And I think much of my social circle is much more supportive than it was ten years ago. Coming from a more conservative area of the U.S. and having seen people being treated very poorly, I am very glad to be at UVA and this area of Virginia in general. As my husband and I think about surrogacy or adoption, being in a welcoming place is only going to be more and more important.