Just Like Us #YoungerMe campaign

In our latest LGBT+ Network Member article, third-year pharmacy student Scott Rutherford highlights the role we all play in educating ourselves and the people around us on inclusively to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome whether that be in schools, colleges, university, or in the workplace. Scott also discusses the benefits of the Just Like Us charity that works to empower the young LGBT+ community.

Wed 14th April 2021 The PDA

Just Like Us is a charity that aims to empower young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as people who belong to other less common identities (abbreviated to LGBT+), whilst educating non-LGBT+ young people about LGBT+ identities. Just Like Us trains 18–25-year-olds to visit schools and share their stories and run workshops about different sexual orientations and genders.

In December 2020, Just Like Us ran a campaign called #YoungerMe which invited LGBT+ people to share a photo of themselves when they were younger, or something that represents their childhood and tells the world about the impact that LGBT+ inclusive education would have had on them when they were growing up. The campaign attracted the attention of the whole LGBT+ community and sheds a light on the importance of making sure young people know that they have a place within their schools, colleges and the wider community.

Alongside inclusive education, positive LGBT+ role models are also so important. Without role models, it was really confusing when I was trying to get to grips with my identity. I had already come out by the time I had met another LGBT+ person! Instead of positive role models, I grew up seeing stereotypes and caricatures of gay people on TV – people who seemed to be celebrated because they could mock themselves and were willing to always be the punchline. In the wise words of Marian Wright Edelman: ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’, and it very much felt like that throughout my experience at school.

“I had questions such as, am I going to be taken seriously if I study pharmacy, what about if I become a pharmacist? Can an LGBT+ person be successful in science and healthcare? These are still questions that cross my mind now.”

 

If you don’t believe me, try to count the number of openly LGBT+ leaders you know within your workplace, and that you have met during your career and education.

Growing up is difficult for everyone, not least for LGBT+ youth who have to battle the fear of rejection, bullying, and the confusion of feeling like they don’t fit in. These feelings can persist into adulthood too because, despite the progress towards acceptance, people within the LGBT+ community still face prejudice, ignorance, and a lack of representation. That’s why the work of Just Like Us is so important.

“Being inclusive is not limited to schools. Everyone has a role in educating themselves and the people around them to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome. The smallest changes can make you a better ally to the LGBT+ community.”

 

For example, putting your pronouns in your email signature to normalise conversations about gender and signal that you are an ally, or using gender-neutral terms in order to avoid assuming that a patient or colleague has a ‘wife’ or ‘husband’. Another step you can make to be a better LGBT+ ally is to support the work of Just Like Us – by following them on social media, learning more, and donating.

 

By Scott Rutherford (he/him), Third Year Pharmacy Student and PDA LGBT+ Network Member

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Get involved

Pharmacists do not need to identify as LGBT+ in order to join the network. The network welcomes allies – people who will support equality and fairness for LGBT+ pharmacists. 

If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, please email: lgbt@the-pda.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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