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  • Writer's pictureDEI Committee

Shattering Stereotypes for Pride Month

June is Pride Month, and we're proud to support the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people across Chicago! Our doors are open to all, and we celebrate the resilient spirits of queer people all year 'round.

To celebrate, we chatted with queer people on the Association House team about what they want to see for their community in the year to come.

What stereotype do you want to break about the community?

Andrea (she/they) - Psychosocial Rehabilitation Group Counselor: I want to break the stereotype that we're all the same! I may have my own pronouns, or refer to myself as one thing or another, but don't box me in.

Nick (he/him) - Marketing Specialist: "There's this idea that you're going to get barked at if you talk about something you're not 100% informed on, but without having honest conversations and asking questions, there's always going to be tension and discomfort. And I know gay people and straight people don't want that."

Rinn (they/them) - CCMTP Data Assistant: "You can't always tell when somebody is trans or genderqueer or anything like that. I think it's good practice to ask people how they want to be referred to instead of just assuming."

What can we do to support LGBTQ+ people at work and in the community?

Nick: "I really feel like we have HIV and STI stuff covered. I don't think we need any more help with that. I just want more. I feel like that's been a focus for so many years. Now, we need help with changing people's names and gender markers on their ID; housing for people who've been thrown out by their families; support groups for people struggling with drugs and alcohol. HIV support isn't enough anymore!"

Andrea: "I was just speaking to someone, and she had no idea why we use certain pronouns. She said, 'I just know I'm she/her.' So, I explained to her some of the different pronouns, and so much light came from her once she was educated on the small things! Lots of people might come from a place where they don't know anything about this community. It takes time to educate, and it takes time to change."

Rinn: "I have they/them in my email signature and that doesn't always seem to translate to mean that I'm trans; that people should be cautious not to refer to a group that I'm in as "ladies" or something. Being a little more considerate of identities in that way is helpful. Don't get defensive, don't over-apologize, accept that you're being corrected, correct yourself, and move on. Just make an effort to do better next time.

What would you tell a younger LGBTQ+ person struggling with their identity?

Rinn: Find community! Our community is what makes us strong. Talk to each other! You don't understand things just by sitting in your little bubble; you don't branch out by isolating yourself. It's so important to find other people who understand us and can talk to us about how we go through life.

Nick: I was a pretty combative person in my teens and I learned pretty quickly that there's a lot of people out there who are gonna have a problem with you regardless of what you have going on. There's people whose approval I wouldn't want anyway. I'm not, like, go-go dancing in the office or anything but I don't change who I am just because I'm around new people! If they like me, they like me; if they don't, the feeling's probably mutual!

Andrea: I don't think I would give a different answer than what I'd tell any young person. I'd tell my younger self to relax, and in time it will be okay. Not everyone is going to accept you no matter who you are; you just have to be comfortable with who you are. Go out and show the world who you are regardless! Just be you, and it'll be okay. ■

Happy Pride Month from Association House! Read more about how Association House supports diversity every day here.



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