HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
Author: Joshua Hernandez
Research assistant for the B-RAD Lab at the University of Alabama
During this pride month the Brain Research Across Development Laboratory would like to uplift one of its queer research assistants: Joshua H.
“Being a part of the Brain Research Across Development Laboratory has been so informative, fun, and dynamic for me. I think that as a queer person I have felt more comfortable here than in any other work environment that I’ve been in. Our weekly SIG discussions about intersectionality, diversity, and inclusion have had a great impact on making me feel safe to be who I am. While not everyone in the lab is the most educated on queer topics, I have come to understand and experience their desire to learn more about my community. In addition to the weekly meetings, I have also had several conversations with our lab manager, Victoria Ward, and our lab P.I., Caitlin Hudac, about my gender expression and gender identity that have left me feeling that this was a safe, inclusive, and genuine environment in which I could be myself. I cannot speak for other queer members in our lab, but I did want to highlight the ways in which I have viewed safe spaces being intertwined within this lab.
In other environments that I have worked in it felt as if my job was on the line if I expressed my gender or sexuality in a way that made other people uncomfortable. By that I mean that other people's comfortability with me and how I lived my life decided my tips, how I was treated or perceived by my coworkers, and how valuable I would be viewed as a worker. It is nice to work in an environment where that is not the case and I can feel valued and respected in my gender and sexuality. Taking the time in one's lab to talk about LGBTQIA+ topics and how they might come up in one’s participants and research is an important part of recognizing all communities. Representation is more than what someone sees on screen. Representation is also about how one sees others just like them being treated and uplifted in different environments. I would also like to say that while I do appreciate how inclusive the field of psychology has gotten it has a long way to go when it comes to POC transgender women and men. They are the reason that pride exists and it doesn’t feel right to celebrate this month without recognizing their contributions and how they have been neglected by this field. Everyone deserves to feel seen and respected by this field and I am not always sure that practitioners or researchers always do the best job at this. With that being said, I do appreciate the spotlight I have been given this month for pride and I hope I expressed how deeply appreciative I am of this lab and everyone in it for their openness and empathy.”
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