Showcasing our Pride

Jun 4, 2019
Author: 
By Drs. Caroline Chessex, Kevin Imrie and Jill Tinmouth on behalf of the DoM LGBTQ2S Think Tank

LGBTQ Doctors and AlliesJune is Pride month in Toronto, and every year this is a time to come together and celebrate diversity in the LGBTQ2S community. The Department of Medicine embraces the diversity of its own faculty members, trainees and staff and wishes everyone a Happy Pride!

Within the Department of Medicine and beyond, there are many opportunities to participate in Pride events and show your support. Here are a few ways to get involved:

Pride and Rememberance Run and Walk

U of T Medicine team has registered as a team for the Pride and Remembrance Run and Walk on Saturday, June 22. The event starts at 10 a.m. at Church and Wellesley and circles around Queen’s Park – right by the Department of Medicine’s soon-to-be new home in the Naylor Building at 6 Queen’s Park Crescent West. It’s a 5km run or 3km walk and caters to everyone from competitive racers, to families walking with kids and strollers. The event itself has already sold out, but we encourage everyone to come to the finish line to cheer on the team, or consider sponsoring us. This event raises funds for great LGBTQ2S charities including the AIDS Committee of Toronto, The 519, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) and the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Please consider sponsoring us on our team donation page (we’re currently in second place!) For those of you who are coming out on June 22, whether you’re joining the run or taking part in the cheering festivities, look for the Department of Medicine Toronto Medicine Proud t-shirtsbanner in the Barbara Hall Park after the race!

Pride Parade and Marches

Members of the medical LGBTQ2S community from across the province will be participating in the annual Toronto Pride Parade on Sunday, June 23, marching under the Ontario Doctors and Allies banner. You can find more information on our Facebook event page here. This year we would like to also ensure a presence in the Trans March on Friday, June 21 and the Dyke March on Saturday, June 22. If you are interested in joining U of T’s contingent in these marches, meet at 642 Church Street at 7:50 p.m. on June 21 (Trans March) and 1:50 p.m. on June 22 (Dyke March).

Pride Pub

The University of Toronto Sexual & Gender Diversity Office is also hosting a number of events, including a Pride Pub on Friday, June 7, open to U of T students, staff, faculty, alumni, friends, families, and community members.

Show Your Pride!

The DoM has designed Pride t-shirts that can be picked up from the DoM on a first come, first served basis. You can also collect our great array of diversity buttons at the DoM Annual Day on June 11 to show your pride and support.

Finally, allies can pick up positive space stickers from the DoM office. These signal to learners and colleagues that environments where these stickers are visible support diversity and inclusion.

Being Out: Why it matters to us

Being out is part of an important journey, and we’re proud to share our stories of why it matters to us. We welcome anyone who would like to share their story to tell us why being out matters to you by emailing dom.communications@utoronto.ca.

Kevin Imrie, Physician-in-Chief, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

I am a proud and very happily out gay man. I made the decision to come out not that long ago, in early 2016. When I say out, I mean really, really out. When my marriage of 21 years ended, I knew I wanted to be my authentic self in all aspects of my life. I decided what to do after attending a panel on being out at work at the University of Toronto, and I knew it was going to be a big change. Being the type-A personality that I am, I made a list of the important people in my life - family, friends and coworkers, then came out to them in a series of coffee chats in a two-week blitz. I ‘burned the boats’ by doing an interview with Faces of U of T Medicine, which ended up being picked up nationally on CBC radio. This interview was heard by many of my patients, colleagues and friends coast to coast. It was the best decision I ever made. Not one person in my life reacted negatively, and now I feel like I am living a more authentic life. My partner, Alex, is close with my mom, sisters and kids, comes to work functions and travels with me to meetings around the world.

My coming out experience is my own. Each LGBTQ2S person gets to own their story. I can only say that I am delighted with how mine has turned out and look forward to the next chapter!

Jill Tinmouth, Associate Professor, Gastroenterology

I came out to myself in my first year of university. It was the 1980s and times were different, to say the least. But, I found a queer community and came out to family and friends. Once I decided to go into medicine, it was a trickier decision to be out because there was some risk. For example, there was good reason to believe that I would not be admitted to medical school if I was open about being a lesbian. But once I got there, I decided to come out and I have not looked back since. In medical school, I wore a rainbow necklace to signal my sexual orientation in class and on the wards. My family here in Toronto includes my spouse of 23 years, Dianne, my gay brother, his spouse and my nephew and my parents, who are very important to me. Nowadays, I share stories about them the same way that my colleagues and patients share their lives with me. For me, being out boils down to the fact that hiding such a fundamental part of me takes a lot of work and energy. Energy better spent so many other ways – on patients, on family, on research and on life. I think that I am better because I am out – a more present partner to my spouse, a more empathetic doctor, a more thoughtful researcher, a more considerate colleague. And I hope that the clinical, research and teaching environments that I inhabit are also better too.

Stay tuned…

  • LGBTQ2S Think TankUnder the auspices of the DoM Mentorship, Equity and Diversity portfolio and committee, a small Think Tank was created to develop initiatives to help examine and improve the experience of LGBTQ2S members of the department. For example, to increase visibility and public acceptance, the group is working on posters and slides to showcase DoM diversity during resident and fellow orientations, as well as for new faculty orientation. The Think Tank is also developing a job description for LGBTQ2S hospital site ambassadors who will serve as informal mentors and a local resource to faculty and learners.
  • Under the Summit for Women in Academic Medicine’s equity, diversity and inclusion mission, a series of seminars will be delivered over the year focusing on LGBTQ2S issues. This will also offer the community an opportunity to network.
  • As the Department of Medicine reviews the results of the 2019 Faculty Survey, we look forward to developing more initiatives to address specific gaps, issues or concerns raised, and help gauge the need for a more targeted questionnaire for the community itself.
  • Finally, to empower and inspire other underrepresented faculty groups to celebrate their identity, advocate and support members, the Think Tank will develop a toolkit summarising the approaches they used to roll out these initiatives.

June is a month marking many celebrations of diversity, not only Pride. We look forward to honouring the contributions of our country’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples on June 21, when Canada celebrates National Indigenous Day. Finally, we would like to say Eid Mubarak to our Muslim colleagues and friends who are celebrating Eid!

If you would like to get involved in any of these Pride initiatives, or other initiatives as they related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine, please email us at dom.events@utoronto.ca.