October is LGBTQIA+ History Month!
This month is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and contributions of LGBTQIA+ communities. LGTBQIA+ rights have come a long way over the last several decades, and at Children’s Minnesota, we strive to lift the voices and experiences of our LGBTQIA+ colleagues to make it a more inclusive and welcoming place.
We sat down with Justin Nelson, director of the Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders in Minneapolis, and proud member of Children’s Minnesota’s PRIDE employee resource group (ERG), to ask him about his work at Children’s Minnesota and the importance of LGBTQIA+ History Month.
Get to know Justin!
1. Tell us about your role at Children’s Minnesota.
I am the director for the Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders. Our clinics provide hematology care to pediatric patients, and we are the sole pediatric hemophilia treatment center in Minnesota.
2. What inspired you to want to work at Children’s Minnesota?
I have always had a passion for children. At one point in my early years, I considered working in education, but became passionate for health care. When the opportunity presented itself to use my background and skills and serve patients with an exceptional organization, I had to jump at the chance.
3. What does LGBTQIA+ History Month mean to you? Why is it important?
Having come out later in life, I think it is important to be a champion and advocate for people who are coming out now, regardless of age. Sharing the history of the LGBTQ community from struggles to triumphs is important. As a member of the community, it’s also important to share my history and experience with the community and allies.
4. What are some ways we can support our LGBTQIA+ patients, families and colleagues?
Be vocal, be visible, be an advocate. Everyone should feel safe, accepted and included regardless of their background. I am fortunate to have some very strong friends who love and support me regardless of our differences. They will not stand for someone treating me differently because I am gay; I take that same passion and drive and ask others at Children’s Minnesota to bring that to our patients, families and colleagues.
5. What do you think makes kids amazing?
Absolutely everything. But my favorite thing would be their wonder and enjoyment of the world! As adults we tend to overthink, worry and lose enjoyment for parts of life. The amazing kids that we provide care for overcome all of their challenges and still bring a passion and zeal for life with them.