In honor of Pride Month we wanted to highlight six LGBTQ+ leaders, innovators, and all in all incredible human beings in the field of nursing. Thank you to @queernurses for partnering with us this month and providing us with this list of truly inspirational nurses.
BSN, RN- Behavioral Health/Psych Nurse
The founder/admin of Queer Nurses, an RN of 8 years, and mother of 5-year-old twins. She is passionate about human rights and elevating queer & BIPOC voices. Originally, she trained as an aesthetic nurse and inpatient psychiatric nurse, and currently works as a Utilization Review Coordinator in Behavioral Health. Her primary role is ensuring their clinics, hospitals, and contracted organizations are providing services that meet documentation standards and are in compliance with county, state, and federal regulations.
Last year, T. Rae began a weekly photo series called the “Queer Visibility in Healthcare” project because she believes there is special importance in highlighting LGBTQ+ professionals as a reminder that “we are here and making a difference in the world”–especially during the Year of the Nurse & Midwife, and amid a global pandemic.
“We are here to tell everyone that we are more than a label. That label (if we have one) is only a part of our identity… We are defined by so much more”
Clare Madrigal (she/her/hers)
Clare grew up in California with wonderful, supportive parents. She is a passionate activist for social justice, including LGBTQ+ and animal rights.
Clare has been an emergency department nurse for 14 years. In addition to the ER, she is also the LGBTQ+ Resource Nurse for Sibley Hospital of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Clare provides LGBTQ+ education to staff, outreach to the community, and advocacy for patients as well as staff. If that wasn’t enough, Clare also owns a business through which she provides LGBTQ+ training to healthcare providers, private practices and organizations. @REACH_RainbowEducation.
“The LGBTQ+ community are not just patients, we are nurses, doctors and professionals of all kinds. I hope that my visibility can show younger queer folks that you can be out, in a healthy relationship, and a professional doing what you love.”
RN, CCRN, MA in Bioethics – Trauma-Neuro ICU
Ash is an artist, writer, mother of two, and a trans woman. She began her transition in late 2018. At least, this time around. Ash came out previously, in 2001. Back then, examples of people like her living a happy life were few and far between. Today she knows that she is still worthy of being loved, and she is not alone. “I am a queer, pansexual, polyam woman, and I am freer than I’ve ever been in my entire life.”
Ash started off with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and went on to grad school to study health law and bioethics, but ultimately decided to take a chance, go back to school and become a nurse.
“I choose to be visible. I’ve made it a point to document my transition, and to not hide who I am, because I want people who are just starting off on this path to not be afraid like I was; to not make the same mistakes I did. I know that I am privileged, that many of us cannot afford to be visible. I feel I have an obligation to be visibly queer & trans for those who can’t.”
Nursing, Bioethics, LGBTQ Health Educator
Ellie founded The Inclusive Care Project, an educational resource for health professionals who want to make healthcare safer and more inclusive for LGBTQ patients.
She got into this work because the healthcare system needs reform and there isn’t enough LGBTQ training in schools or hospitals. In her decade long career as a nurse, she has seen the many ways institutional homophobia affects health outcomes for queer people. As a bisexual woman with a female partner, Ellie has experienced these barriers herself. It has been Ellie’s mission to change that. Now, she helps nurses, doctors and students learn about the LGBTQ community and become better allies in the fight for health equity.
Visibility “helps us know that we’re never alone, that we have a community and that together we can fight for a better world.”
Lauren Brannon (she/they)
Lauren is a nonbinary butch queer and a parent to a fabulous six-year-old. Lauren’s first introduction to healthcare was working as a clinical intern at Planned Parenthood, and it was such a positive, formative experience for Lauren. Other professional paths she found to be unfulfilling, so she ultimately decided to go into healthcare. Here, she was able to answer her calling to help birthing people realize their power to make the best health decisions for their families and themselves, as well as advocacy work that addresses reproductive healthcare and access.
Lauren started working as a birth assistant at the Brooklyn Birthing Center, and decided to start the long process of becoming a nurse in order to become a nurse midwife. Fast forward, after working as an L&D nurse, for lots of reasons – she decided she wanted to be an FNP. One of those reasons was because she wanted to work more closely with the LGBTQ community, which is less represented in OB where she lives. One thing Lauren is particularly proud of is bringing trans affirming care to her rural community, in a deeply underserved area.
“Healthcare professionals and our patients deserve an affirming, welcoming culture.”
MSN, RN, Nurse Education Specialist and CEO of The Nurse Speak
Damion Jenkins is a master’s prepared registered nurse, NCLEX prep expert, nurse content writer, educational consultant, and has a real passion for nursing education. Damion is the CEO of The Nurse Speak LLC, a nursing education and consulting company, and Blog. He specializes in providing individualized NCLEX prep tutoring service for new graduate nurses, especially those who have experienced unsuccessful attempts. Damion’s mission is to increase the number of nurses entering into and staying within the profession by helping them develop strategies for success.
“There are many misconceptions surrounding queer people, what we are all about and/or what our perspectives are compared to non-queer people and their communities/subcultures. When those with misconceptions see who we are beyond our queerness, they learn that we also save lives, teach, run businesses, and contribute greatly to our communities and even the world.”