The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. held workshops on creating an inclusive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer patients and staff. The workshops were held from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 and facilitated by Vicki Kobayashi and Darlene Du Brall, from the Hawaii Youth Services Network, in partnership with the CHCC Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Both Kobayashi and Du Brall are Gays, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) certified trainers. GLSEN is a non-profit, U.S.-based organization that works to promote LGBTQ inclusivity, particularly in K-12 schools.
The two workshops were offered to a combination of 31 CHCC staff and community partners, including the Northern Marianas College and Public School System. The first workshop, “The LGBT Community: Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” focused on providing an overview of the many terms and vocabulary that are frequently used in the LGBTQ community, including the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity; this workshop was designed to improve communication and messaging that involves LGBTQ topics.
The second workshop, “Creating LGBT Inclusive Environments,” focused on created a safe and inclusive space for both LGBTQ clients and coworkers. The workshop was designed to help participants think critically about organizational policies regarding LGBTQ individuals, and how they can be improved, understanding LGBTQ people and their health needs, and improve communication to create an a safe and affirming workplace for everyone.
Workshops like these are vital in improving health care access for LGBTQ people who are often discriminated, particularly those who are transgender. CHCC remains committed to maintaining a high standard of care for every patient, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and will continue to educate its staff on the importance of LGBTQ-specific care, as well as work to improve internal policies to protect LGBTQ staff.