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Queer visibility in medicine - DEI news

Dr. Justin Bullock, nephrology fellow, talks about Pride and Intersectionality in recent issue of Med.

Justin Bullock, MD - Med

As a gay Black man with a mental illness, I spend a lot of time thinking about intersectionality, or how my multiple identities overlap in ways that impact my lived experience. Like many people, my natural tendency is to emphasize my marginalized identities: being gay, Black, and bipolar. But by only consciously holding my marginalized identities, I commit an injustice to my true experience. The gay parts of me have thrived in an institution and city with inclusive policies and practices toward queer folks; still, my colleagues who are not cis men are often pushed to the side. I am a tall, American-born, cis man with all the associated societal benefits. It is a sign of my privilege to not be consciously aware of these identities.

As we advocate for LGBTQ visibility, equity, and inclusion, we cannot truly have these conversations without talking about the unique lived experiences of people who have differently marginalized identities from our own. Our goal is not to prove that one person’s suffering is greater than another’s. It is to fight for our entire LGBTQ family, even those who are different from us.

As a quantitative and qualitative researcher with a social justice agenda, I remain acutely aware that my identities impact the systems that I study. While I try to leverage my identities for good, I must always hold intersectionality in its truest form, which makes me ask myself how my privileged, less conscious identities are at play in my change efforts as well.