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LGBTQ+ AIM Group Participates in Greenburgh Pride Rally

The group educated rally-goers on disparities the LGBTQ+ community faces in health care and raised awareness on lack of visibility in medicine.

July 06, 2021
Rachel Thommen, right, and Victor Gordillo, left
Rachel Thommen, right, and Victor Gordillo, left

“We focused on educating all the participants at the pride rally,” said Rachel Thommen, right, School of Medicine (SOM) Class of 2024, who represented LGBTQ+ AIM at the rally along with Victor Gordillo, left, who serves as event coordinator for LGBTQ+ AIM.

Ms. Thommen, president of LGBTQ+ AIM, said that the rally was important not only because of the group’s mission to educate, but also because it was the group’s first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The group’s table displayed fliers with information about disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community from studies by the American Psychological Association and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. They shared included statistics including men under 25 years old who have sex with men—especially those from racial or ethnic minority groups—account for a disproportionate number of HIV diagnoses; 73 percent of transgender respondents reported that they believed they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBTQ status; as well as LGBTQ youth have higher rates of depression and suicide. Ms. Thommen hopes that the information will shed a light on disparities that the general public may not be aware of and may even encourage prospective health care workers to pursue certain fields.

LGBTQ+ AIM also used the rally to discuss negative experiences the LGBTQ community has had with medical professionals, such as doctors not being aware of certain groups in the community, assuming patients are heterosexual or acting withdrawn towards non-heterosexual patients.

Ms. Thommen also hoped that the rally will help provide visibility to the variety of gender expressions within the community. “My gender expression isn’t what people may expect,” said Ms. Thommen. “We can look like ‘this’ and can also look like ‘that.’ We want people to think outside the box.”

Ms. Thommen emphasized the importance of inclusion, which she says is why she appreciates NYMC’s multiculturalism in medicine elective and the work of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.