June 29, 2023
How to Be An Ally & Accomplice
- What’s the difference between an ally & an accomplice?
- How do health risks intersect with sexual orientation?
- What can we do to support those who are at greater risk?
- Why are discussions of interracial and mixed orientation relationships essential to DEI + justice work?
Dr. Antony Chum of York University joins Jess and Brandon to discuss his recent research, which explores the link between sexual orientation and self-harm — including the finding that bisexual women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual women and gay men and lesbians are twice as likely as straight folks to engage in suicide-related behaviours. They discuss both causes and solutions — on both personal and policy levels. Sexual expression and freedom for all are essential to pleasure for each of us, so this is an essential conversation for folks of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Antony is the Canada Research Chair (tier 2) in Population Health Data Science. Drawing on the disciplines of social epidemiology, geospatial analytics, and machine learning, Antony’s research investigates the social and built-environmental determinants of health and evaluate policies to build healthier cities and communities, especially for marginalized groups such as the homeless, low-income, racialized, and LGBTQ+ people. His research approach combines population health data sciences (“big data” analysis) and the application of rigorous social theories (e.g. intersectionality, social ecological theory, minority stress theory, etc.) to investigate social determinants of health and to evaluate interventions aimed at eliminating health disparities.
And don’t forget to follow Dr. Antony on his Twitter.
This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
How to Be An Ally & Accomplice
[00:00:00] You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and Relationship Advice You Can Use Tonight.
[00:00:15] Jess O’Reilly: Hello. Hello. Good day to you. Today we are talking about a number of topics, including what it really means to be an ally, and we’re gonna look at the distinction between allies and accomplices. You know, this week I just hosted a, a session.
[00:00:28] Jess O’Reilly: That I, I loved working with this group on healthy relationships as a key component of d e I and justice work, and it was with Com community and government reps in Southern Ontario. Uh, and I think that, you know, a big part that of d e I or justice work that’s left out is just the relationship piece around interracial relationships, mixed orientation relationships, and.
[00:00:47] Jess O’Reilly: Brandon and I of course have talked about our personal experience, but the leaving out of these topics, their absence, I think is at a huge cost. So we’re gonna get into that shortly. Quick reminder, since we’re on the topic, we have an old podcast on our interracial and our mixed orientation relationship where we talk a little bit, well, really I talk about my needs and Brandon Ways in.
[00:01:08] Jess O’Reilly: So if you can go back, uh, and have a listen to that one and please share. It’s a few years old, but, uh, but still relevant. So we’re gonna dive into that. But we’re all. Also going to be talking about a really important study out of York University, Brandon’s alma mater. But yeah, back in the day. But as Canadians, we don’t really say that.
[00:01:25] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t think that we have the same attachments to our schools, do we?
[00:01:27] Brandon Ware: No, I don’t. I had a good time there, but not like it is in the us.
[00:01:31] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, it’s not the same. Really quickly before we dive in, I, I just wanna offer an option for people to. Opt out in terms of, we wanna give you a content warning. So we will be talking about self-harm and suicide data, just the data.
[00:01:44] Jess O’Reilly: But if this topic maybe isn’t aligned with your comfort right now, take a moment to maybe save this for later or opt outta this one altogether. And, uh, we’re going be talking now with Anthony Chum, the Canadian Research Chair in Population Health Data Science at York University. [00:02:00] His research approach combines population health, data science, so, Big data analysis and the application of social theories, so intersectionality, social ecological theory, minority stress theory, for example, to investigate the social determinants of health and to look at interventions at eliminating these health disparities.
[00:02:22] Jess O’Reilly: Uh, in a recent study, chams research found that bisexual women are three times more likely. To attempt suicide versus hetero women and gay men and lesbians are also twice as likely as straight people to enact suicide related behaviors. And in order to get a broader picture beyond just, you know, self-reported data, which will be obviously missing outcomes for folks who aren’t here, your research team looked at health records for more than 123.
[00:02:47] Jess O’Reilly: Thousand individuals in Ontario, which were linked to the Canadian Community Health survey, which provides data on demographics like sexuality and, and location. So thank you with that long introduction. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for having me, Jessica. And, uh, alright, well let’s, let’s start with the research.
[00:03:04] Jess O’Reilly: Why are you doing this research? Why is it so essential?
[00:03:08] Dr. Antony Chum: Yeah, so as you mentioned before, some of the reasons why we did the research was that prior studies mostly was driven by survey. And surveys have the problem of selection bias, which is particularly, uh, important in the, uh, case of suicidality. Since, you know, people who have suicide attempts or have died by suicide cannot.
[00:03:32] Dr. Antony Chum: Be there to answer the surveys. So that is a huge issue with the prior research. And then another issue that we found was that prior research relies on samples that were convenient samples. So these are surveys that are targeted and disseminated by, for example, L G B T community organizations or in apps.
[00:03:52] Dr. Antony Chum: And there’s going gonna be a, a community of people that are not reachable. Through, um, normal channels, maybe in rural [00:04:00] communities or Northern Ontario or Northern Canada, uh, that are not very well connected to the L G B T Q community who are gonna be missed out on these previous surveys. So using health administrative data, which is the data that we get through oip, hospitalization records, clinical records, we’re better able to capture suicide events from a healthcare perspective.
[00:04:21] Jess O’Reilly: So, In changing the research methodology, the sampling to eliminate some, most of that sampling bias. You’re not using convenience samples. I’m curious, were the key findings, I know I gave an overview, but you can give us more. Are the key findings very different than what were, you know, what they found in previous studies cuz they were omitting this accurate data.
[00:04:42] Dr. Antony Chum: So what we found was that, so in epidemiology we tend to talk about person years. So what that means is what happens to one person in a single year, right? So, um, when we look at heterosexual individuals, there’s around 200 events. Per 100,000 person year. So in a population of 100,000 people in a single year, we would expect 200 events.
[00:05:03] Dr. Antony Chum: That’s the general population, uh, number of events in gay and lesbian individuals. That number jumps to 650 per a hundred thousand person year. And then in bisexual individuals, what we found was a number over 5,900 events. Per 100,000 person. So you could see the stark differences. You know, th these are the unadjusted numbers.
[00:05:24] Dr. Antony Chum: So this is not accounting for things like, you know, the bisexual community being slightly younger than the general population, or that they tend to have lower socioeconomic status. So these things are risk factors as well for suicide related events. And we found that when we adjusted. For all of these risk factors, bisexual is three times more likely.
[00:05:47] Dr. Antony Chum: But what that also means though, is that the three times more likely actually hides some of the nuances, which is that the bisexual community actually is younger, they are more female. They’re more female people [00:06:00] in amongst the bisexual communities. They are also of lower socioeconomic status. So all of these factors actually, Can contribute to higher suicide related events as well.
[00:06:11] Jess O’Reilly: And so in terms of explanation for these outcomes, so you talk about age, you talk about socioeconomic status, but also, um, stigma, harm, harassment, discrimination. What did you find, I obviously you did a big literature review. What do we know about these other social determinants of health that are putting queer folks and specifically bisexual folks at risk?
[00:06:34] Dr. Antony Chum: So in terms of bisexual women, I’ll highlight that first and I’ll talk about things more generally. For bisexual women, they’re in increased risk, even relative to lesbian and gay folks. Relates to the fact that often they’re, um, much more likely to be targeted for intimate partner violence. So we know that, you know, approximately a very large proportion of women are experienced intimate partner violence, but this is much higher.
[00:06:58] Dr. Antony Chum: It’s actually two to three times higher in bisexual women than heterosexual women and lesbians. So this is one of the issues, is the intimate partner of violence.
[00:07:07] Jess O’Reilly: So, we’ll, we’ll go with what you just said around intimate partners, violence and so other social determinants of health that put bisexual folks at risk.
[00:07:15] Dr. Antony Chum: There are a number of risk factors. We know, for example, rejection from family is a big one. Another one is, you know, being targeted on social media. Bullying at school. So these are all sort of individual level risk factors, but then there’s also sort of policy and societal level risk factors. We know that, for example, between the years 2019 and 2021, hate crimes in Canada, targeting LGBTQ plus individuals increased by 60%.
[00:07:43] Dr. Antony Chum: Also, there’s a number of. Different policies, so we know, for example, in New Brunswick, there’s new rules requiring parental consent for any sort of name change or pronoun changes, which can put certain people at risk for coming out to their families before they’re ready to, [00:08:00] which also then, You know, in turn can affect their mental health, increase their suicide related behaviors.
[00:08:05] Dr. Antony Chum: So, you know, we have to think about both the individual level and societal level risk factor. You know, uh, the human rights campaign, for example, in the US issued a national emergency call, call to action for L G B LGBTQ Americans because of the number of, uh, policies such as anti-drug sort of policies.
[00:08:24] Dr. Antony Chum: Policies that require teachers to out students, if they find that they’re LGBTQ to their families as well as, you know, don’t say gay, you might know about that bill as well. So, you know, things are not necessarily like necessarily moving towards progress for the L G B LGBTQ community, especially in 2023.
[00:08:43] Dr. Antony Chum: So we have to keep. You know, in my, all of these sort of policy and societal issues as well that can affect suicide related behaviors.
[00:08:51] Jess O’Reilly: So, you know, we’ve seen previous research indicating that trans youth, for example, in Canada, are at a significant, uh, I think last year the data said five times higher risk of suicide than cis youth.
[00:09:00] Jess O’Reilly: So were trans in non-binary folks. A part of your sample, were you, were you able to attract, extract some of that data or is it aggregated?
[00:09:07] Dr. Antony Chum: So trans and non-binary folks are included in this study. But it’s, it’s not a sort of focus of this study. We have another study happening right now that is looking at trans and non-binary folks specifically.
[00:09:20] Dr. Antony Chum: We’re also looking at, um, the impact of gender affirming care, uh, and therapies and what happens when you, you know, implement this care and what happens when you take it away. As you know, you know, a few years back in Ontario, we delisted a cross-sex hormone therapy back in 2016. So that’s no longer covered by the public drug plan, for example.
[00:09:42] Dr. Antony Chum: So you know these taking away. Of the, uh, hormone therapy can also affect people’s suicide related behavior,
[00:09:51] Jess O’Reilly: of course, when you’re forced to not live as yourself and there are extra barriers. And just for a little bit of context for American and international listeners, we have single payer [00:10:00] system here in Canada, which means each province, which is like our states, pays for medical care.
[00:10:05] Jess O’Reilly: Like that’s, that’s the way, you know, I have to go to the doctor, for example, today, uh, I’m actually going to the OB G Y N for a follow-up, and I don’t. I don’t think about paying for that because it’s a single payer system where I don’t wanna say I don’t pay for it. I pay for it through my taxes, and I’m, I’m happy to do that, just as an aside.
[00:10:18] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. So you’ve, you talked a little bit about some of the, you know, anti-trans bills, antique bills. What do we need to see in terms of the opposite of the, that based on your study findings that show. That queer folks are at such greater risk, and this is just one negative health outcome. Of course there are many.
[00:10:35] Jess O’Reilly: Uh, what policy changes do we need? Uh, what call to actions should we be considering to ensure the safety of lgbtqia plus folks?
[00:10:44] Dr. Antony Chum: So I think maybe I’ll speak about more generally for the general population, but then also. You know, to mental health practitioners, teachers, and people sort of in positions of power.
[00:10:54] Dr. Antony Chum: So I would say, you know, stay informed about LGBTQ health issues, terminology, current research. You know, try to understand the unique challenges and disparities faced by G B LGBTQ Q individuals. Try to update your knowledge and seek, you know, any opportunities to learn more about this in in this area.
[00:11:11] Dr. Antony Chum: There’s resources out there like, uh, rainbow Health Ontario for example, which is a great community-based organization, a program that educates folks about LGBTQ issues, including teachers or mental health professionals, you know, about how, how to deal with LGBTQ individuals in their practice. You know, thinking about, you know, we have a shortage of gps.
[00:11:32] Dr. Antony Chum: In, in Canada right now and in Ontario specifically. Uh, so accessing mental health care is quite difficult And, you know, even getting your GP to, you know, I have people telling me, you know, they’re going to gps but they don’t even know about prep, for example, for H I V prevention. So there’s needs to be a, a greater education amongst healthcare professionals as well.
[00:11:51] Dr. Antony Chum: Mm-hmm. About L G B LGBTQ issues. So, you know, that could start even by creating a more welcoming environment in the clinic. So, [00:12:00] You know, try to create a safe and affirming space for LGBTQ patients. You know, maybe try to display lgbtq plus friendly symbols, literature, resources in the clinic. Uh, train your staff to use inclusive language and respect patients’ chosen names and pronouns.
[00:12:16] Dr. Antony Chum: These are some of the issues. Another thing that I could talk about maybe is screening for mental health concerns. So, you know, amongst even teachers and, and you know, people in sort of positions of power and clinicians, regular assess. The mental health of, uh, LGBTQ folks in terms of the clinical practice.
[00:12:33] Dr. Antony Chum: You can incorporate questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, experiences of discrimination into your routine assessment. Pay attention to science of depression, anxiety. Substance use, self-harm, things like that. Offer resources. Actually, this is a really good one and if you’re, if you have a friend who is L G B Q T Q individuals who is experiencing some of these issues, maybe you don’t have the resources to provide, you know, help, but you can try to connect your friend to relevant community resources, support groups, social organizations.
[00:13:04] Dr. Antony Chum: So, you know, provide information about, um, LGBTQ friendly therapists, helplines online forums. Support networks can be vital for the person’s wellbeing. So even if you know you’re just a regular person, you know, and you have friends or family who are experiencing problems, try to educate yourself and learn about these resources that are available and then offer them.
[00:13:25] Dr. Antony Chum: To your friend or family? Let me see,
[00:13:27] Jess O’Reilly: and I find these really helpful. Sorry. Um, I think one, one piece is that we, we are raised in a culture that is patriarchal, that is homophobic, that is inherently transphobic. All of us, I’m queer and I hold these values just like so many of us. We can be people of color and still have internalized racism.
[00:13:43] Jess O’Reilly: It’s a constant having to work against it, a constant undoing. And I think one of the steps that gets missed is rooted in perfectionism. This notion that. We cannot, like, I’m not homophobic, I’m not transphobic. I can’t possibly be, and I was having that conversation with a family member yesterday. It was [00:14:00] around actually racial bias, and it’s a white family member.
[00:14:03] Jess O’Reilly: And he was like, no, I don’t, I’m not racist at all. That can’t be why I’m thinking this about this person. But he was basically saying, this person with an accent was, I think the word he used was stupid and dumb. And I said, maybe you, you know, It has to do with our perceptions around accent. He said, no, I don’t hold any racial bias.
[00:14:20] Jess O’Reilly: And so how do we even begin to chip away at racial bias if we can’t acknowledge that? Yeah, our culture is rooted in it. You’re not a bad person for holding racial. Like we all have it. Sh this, this woman, to give you some context, is Chinese. I am also Chinese and I acknowledge that I hold my own biases against my own people.
[00:14:39] Jess O’Reilly: Right? Whereas my, you know, white family member was like, no, I can’t possibly be racist. I have Chinese family members sort of thing. And so the same thing around. Queer folks of all of us having to realize that, you know, whether you’re a doctor or a nurse or a therapist or a teacher or a friend or just a, not just, or a community member, we hold these biases and so we have to actively work against them.
[00:15:00] Jess O’Reilly: Like we have to go do the readings, do the workbooks, check ourselves, right? When we think that we think something because we’re neutral, I’ll just stop and say, okay, is there a little piece holding me back here? Is there a piece that’s pushing me over the line? And. Not be hard on ourselves, right? Like if we’re so afraid of being wrong, then we can’t undo the work.
[00:15:19] Jess O’Reilly: Cuz we’ll never admit that, hey, you know what? I actually struggle with this. Uh, and I think that’s been, you know, at the front of the conversation for a couple of years. I think it was stronger in 2020 and we need to bring it back and not kind of take our, our foot off the pedal. So as individuals you mentioned like the Rainbow Health Network in Ontario, and I’ll leave some links in the show notes as well, folks.
[00:15:39] Jess O’Reilly: But, um, Like today, what is, can you think of something we can do today as individuals to support the mental health or overall health of our lgbtqia A plus loved ones, whether you know them or not, because it they, I mean, human love people in our community. What can we do today?
[00:15:56] Dr. Antony Chum: Yeah, so I would say speak out against discrimination, [00:16:00] stigmatization marginalization of LGBTQ people.
[00:16:03] Dr. Antony Chum: Advocate for policies that protect their rights. Learn about your, what your policymakers are, what their platforms are. Right. I know in Toronto specifically, we have a Tor Toronto mayor election coming up. And there are certain candidates that have anti L G BT Q policies. So learn about, you know, who you’re voting for and be as ally and support the broader b lgbtq community.
[00:16:26] Jess O’Reilly: Absolutely. We, uh, we prevo because we’re back on the road tonight. But, uh, yeah, we have a, a big election coming up and it’s interesting, I don’t know if it’s the same in American cities, but in Toronto, like there’s, I don’t know how many people on the ballot. It looked like there were like 50 of them or something like that.
[00:16:41] Jess O’Reilly: 40. Yeah. Yes. You had to really weed in there to find, find your candidate. Is there anything else you want people to know with relation to your work overall or this research study specifically?
[00:16:51] Dr. Antony Chum: Yeah. We have new studies coming out about substance use disparities across, um, sexual orientations. We also are gonna take advantage of the census.
[00:17:00] Dr. Antony Chum: So in Canada, actually, it’s the first census in the world to ask about gender identity back in the last census, and that information’s coming out. So we do have. Over a hundred thousand trans and non-binary folks that have been identified in the census. So we’ll be looking at their sort of health trajectories from a healthcare point of view as well, to try to get a deeper understanding of the trans and non-binary, uh, part of our community.
[00:17:24] Jess O’Reilly: Okay, great. Yeah, and, uh, folks can follow along with your research. We’ll make sure we leave your Twitter handle in your links as well, um, for the work you’re doing at York University in partnership with other community organizations. So thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for your research.
[00:17:37] Jess O’Reilly: Thank you so much. Now, the language of Ally came up in that conversation and, and I think it’s important to talk about what that is, and you may have heard a distinction between Ally versus Accomplice, and I think I’d like to differentiate between those two terms, but also acknowledge that I obviously am not the arbiter.
[00:17:55] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t have the perfect definitions. I think in really short form, an ally is a [00:18:00] supporter of a cause and an accomplice takes action in the cause, even at the cost of our own privilege. So my friend Adam Mauer from Moon Tower Counseling says, allies are like cheerleaders, rooting for you from the sidelines, and accomplices are down on the field playing the game with you and other members of the LGBTQIA plus community, using their skills to help further the cause, which I think is really funny.
[00:18:23] Jess O’Reilly: Since Adam hates sports so much,
[00:18:24] Brandon Ware: I mean, he’s an excellent Frisbee player.
[00:18:27] Jess O’Reilly: Adam honestly was like, how can I mess? With Dr. Jazz here. So whereas, and then Adam goes on to say, accomplices are helping to dismantle the systems that oppress queer people, while allies simply boo them. Oh, more sports analogy.
[00:18:41] Jess O’Reilly: Thank you. Thank you, Adam. And then he says, you know, we appreciate the thought, but we actually need the effort. So I, I, as I said, I was facilitating a workshop on interracial relationships, um, among, you know, d e i folks the other day, and we were talking about, Examples of this. So for example, as an ally, you’d say, yes, I support all gender washrooms at my child’s school.
[00:19:01] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, I’m on board. Whereas in accomplice, you’d bring the topic up at parents associations, meetings, even if you’re met with resistance, even if it affects some of your relationships. You do your own research on how to ensure that washrooms are safe for trans and non-binary staff and students. You work to ensure the implementation of the processes, uh, and the facilities.
[00:19:21] Jess O’Reilly: And this is really because. Advocacy onus. Continues to fall on the laps of queer folks, but as an accomplice, you lighten the load and you don’t center yourself. And I wanna say, you know, other things that came out of the conversation this week in the session was that, you know, these words, ally is AC ally, accomplice.
[00:19:38] Jess O’Reilly: They’re not titles that you bestow upon yourself. Like one woman was saying that somebody put ally on their resume. It’s not like that. Okay. I’d look at them more as. Ongoing actions. Right? And as my friend Davin c Baron, who’s also in D EI work says, allyship and accomplish is about the person needing support and not the person providing it.
[00:19:58] Jess O’Reilly: So it really is about not [00:20:00] centering yourself, which, you know, Bryn, we’ve talked about that these things can feel hard, but it’s really just that they’re a little uncomfortable and we’re really just talking about you being uncomfortable versus somebody being. Unsafe. And those are two very different things.
[00:20:14] Jess O’Reilly: Um, you know, so I I, I always was also thinking that so many of us, we fall on both sides. It’s not like, oh, here are the people who are allies and accomplices and here are the people that are supporting. But for me, for example, sometimes I. I am the person who needs the support of an ally or accomplice, and sometimes I have lots more privilege.
[00:20:31] Jess O’Reilly: So I’m, it’s my job to act as an ally and accomplice.
[00:20:35] Brandon Ware: I agree with you on every single part. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s uncomfortable.
[00:20:39] Jess O’Reilly: Mm-hmm. Why is it uncomfortable?
[00:20:41] Brandon Ware: It’s uncomfortable because you’re, you’re standing up or important issues and you’re pushing yourself outside of, um, complacency. Like you’re, you’re pushing yourself and you’re, you’re, you’re forced to confront white supremacy.
[00:20:54] Brandon Ware: All of these issues with people who think that you’re okay with them.
[00:20:59] Jess O’Reilly: Well, I’ve overheard you and I try not to listen when I hear you on these calls, cause I just Please do. No, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna be a part of it and I don’t wanna be the one who’s like, critiquing you or anything. But I’ve heard you, for example, on the phone with other realtors, so.
[00:21:11] Jess O’Reilly: For context, Brandon is or was in real estate. I don’t know what this guy does these days. I’m not. Just kidding. And I’ve heard you when they’ve said things about neighborhoods that are either blatantly racist or coded racism, and I’ve heard you say the words, well, actually, That’s just racism. Like when they talk about different things around school districts, and I know that it’s upsetting, like you’re potentially burning a bridge with someone with whom you need to work.
[00:21:38] Jess O’Reilly: And I do think, and I’m not here to be like, yay, Brandon, you get a cookie. That’s not at all what I’m saying, but I’m saying that that is the difference between being like, yeah, I’m anti-racist. I’m just saying it, versus actually doing it. And I’m sure those conversations aren’t easy because when you tell someone that, These views could be rooted in racism.
[00:21:56] Jess O’Reilly: They hear I’m a racist. And when of course when someone hears I’m a racist, they’re like, I’m [00:22:00] not. I’m absolutely not. Cuz none of us wants to be racist. But again, it goes back to what we were just talking about, that we all hold these biases and we have to actively always be working against them.
[00:22:10] Brandon Ware: Yeah, and what you just said, speaking up is.
[00:22:12] Brandon Ware: The action itself is not hard, it’s just uncomfortable. So I have to learn to be uncomfortable. And the other thing that you said that resonates with me is this idea of allies and accomplices. Getting, getting there, like achieving that status like
[00:22:25] Jess O’Reilly: I’m done.
[00:22:26] Brandon Ware: Well, and, and, and the way I see it is I can never do enough.
[00:22:29] Brandon Ware: I can never read enough. I will never be there. And I think I have to maintain that approach that I need to continue to learn, continue to invest, because things are also always changing. So,
[00:22:40] Jess O’Reilly: and, and to be imperfect.
[00:22:41] Brandon Ware: Yeah. And I, I struggle with that. I definitely struggle with that, but I think the biggest thing, like you just said is it’s just like this idea that you’re there, and I think that once you think you’re there or somewhere mm-hmm.
[00:22:50] Brandon Ware: I, I, I’m afraid that I might get complacent, so I never. Wanna feel like I’m there. It’s not something I strive to achieve. It’s an ongoing process.
[00:22:58] Jess O’Reilly: Somebody might hear that and think, well that sounds stressful. Like why would I, why wanna, why would I wanna put myself through that?
[00:23:03] Brandon Ware: Yeah, because it’s important, because all of these things are important
[00:23:07] Jess O’Reilly: and I think because the outcomes of your discomfort and your stress, and I’m not saying they’re not real, cuz you’ve got one nervous system and we all only know our own individual nervous systems.
[00:23:15] Jess O’Reilly: Like if you have stress and it’s related to fragility or something like that, it’s still stress. It’s real stress in your body. When we talk about the research and the health outcomes, so. Suicide ideation, suicide risk. Yeah. All these other health outcomes that are so much, so more serious than, and again, this is not to downgrade your experience of stress, cuz your stress is real when you have to stand up to somebody around homophobia, around transphobia.
[00:23:41] Jess O’Reilly: But it is, it is so important. And I think our discomfort oftentimes pales into other, in comparison to other people’s risk of really just not being safe. Like I, I noticed that, you know, as a cis person, I have to stand up more. And even as a. Straight passing. I hate that freaking word, but people don’t even realize I’m queer.
[00:23:58] Jess O’Reilly: Mm-hmm. Because I’m married to [00:24:00] you. And then sometimes that’s very frustrating. Like, I do feel like, okay, you know, I’m queer. I’ve told you so many times, I’m queer, you know, you know me, you know my work. Mm-hmm. And you know, my life a little bit. Mm-hmm. And people forget because we just go back to, you know, being heterocentric.
[00:24:13] Jess O’Reilly: But other times I, I benefit from that privilege. Right.
[00:24:16] Brandon Ware: Yeah. Yeah. And, and again, there’s so many things here. I’m just listening and absorbing and, and, and you’re right. I, I mean, I’m afraid I’m fearful of being wrong, but that perfectionism stops me from, or could stop me from standing up, from speaking up.
[00:24:28] Brandon Ware: And you said, think about, you know, you have a nervous system. You feel uncomfortable when something’s wrong. And when I step back for a minute and I think about, what about the person who does identify like that? Like what kinda stress are they under in this environment when somebody else is saying something that is hurting them?
[00:24:43] Brandon Ware: I, I, I feel a responsibility to stand up.
[00:24:47] Jess O’Reilly: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:47] Jess O’Reilly: And then, and I think you don’t have to have all the answers. Like I think sometimes we don’t stand up because we’re like, well, what if somebody argues with me? And I think it’s also not about us versus them. It’s not like, oh, I’m an ally and you’re not an ally, or I’m an accomplice.
[00:25:00] Jess O’Reilly: And you’re just an ally. It’s not about status. Cuz then that is really just centering yourself. Mm-hmm. It’s about, okay, here’s justice. Like I don’t even love the language of D EI cuz I feel like it’s just been commodified or whatever. Mm-hmm. But like when we think about justice, this is about. We’ve got this one life to live.
[00:25:14] Jess O’Reilly: We’ve got one planet, we’ve got one community around the world. Let’s, let’s stand up for what we feel is right and let’s be imperfect and let’s leave space for nuance and growth and repair. Um, I screwed up big time yesterday with some language. Mm-hmm. And I had to just pull back and apologize and, Of course my first reaction, cuz we’re all self-centered mm-hmm.
[00:25:31] Jess O’Reilly: We wanna protect ourselves, is like, how do I, how do I protect myself? I wasn’t even truthfully thinking about like, well, how do I make amends? And I had to, in that moment, stop myself in that imperfect moment. So, so I wanted to, before we go share some actions, so I interviewed Adam Mower. Davin c Baron, as well as Jamie Pandit for the Astroglide blog.
[00:25:51] Jess O’Reilly: And together we put together a list of actions that folks can take to support loved ones near and far, who are queer, who are trans, who are gender nonconforming and [00:26:00] otherwise marginalized due to sexuality. And one of the first things that came up is, Talk to people who wouldn’t necessarily listen to us.
[00:26:08] Jess O’Reilly: So if you are straight, if you are cis, we, I’m gonna put myself in both categories. I’m not straight, but I’m cis. We are more likely to get a seat at the table. And it really is our job to amplify messages and advocate for the needs of other folks. And if you are wondering what we. Say if we had a seat at the table, you can ask us or you can do some reading on your own.
[00:26:27] Jess O’Reilly: But really speak for, speak up for us. Not speak for us, but speak up for us even when we’re not in the room. And that’s, I think one of the keys when we go back to relationships, to me, like if I’m gonna feel safe. In a relationship in this D e I event this week, we spent a lot of time talking about safety.
[00:26:43] Jess O’Reilly: I wanna know that you stand up for these values. Even if I don’t hear it, it’s not like, oh, don’t say something queer phobic, cuz Jess might hear and be hurt. It’s like, no, don’t say queer phobic shit. Sorry. Ooh, I swore that’s not like me. That’s not like me. It’s really coming out. Don’t say it because it, it’s harmful.
[00:26:58] Jess O’Reilly: So that’s number one. Talk about these issues even when we’re not around. And I put myself again in both categories. I need to do both. Donate to causes that benefit L G B T Q I A. Folks, you know, the income gap related to gender identity and sexual orientation begins in youth. And, you know, teens who are queer and trans disproportionately deal with homelessness.
[00:27:16] Jess O’Reilly: There’s, you know, a hashtag called Trans Crowd Fund for links to current fundraisers. If you wanna just. You know, share within the community Mutual aid. It doesn’t have to be Stu something for a tax receipt. You can just help somebody with their rent, and that hashtag is Trans Crowd Fund, and you’ll find that online.
[00:27:34] Jess O’Reilly: The third thing, And this is for me personally, we talked about this when we talked about interracial relationships, but it applies to mixed orientation, mixed gender identity relationships is to do your own research so that the burden doesn’t always fall on the other person and do your own practice, right?
[00:27:50] Jess O’Reilly: Like if pronouns changing the way you. Speak about people feels hard. Go and practice. Um, you wanna celebrate pride? Go and learn about the history of pride. You know, update your libraries so that [00:28:00] it’s not just, Hey, you’re my gay friend. What can I ask, ask you about gay people, or, you’re my trans friend. Uh, and that’s a big thing for safety in relationships so that you don’t create, first of all, it’s very hard to have equitable.
[00:28:12] Jess O’Reilly: Fruitful, fulfilling relationship if you’re in that student teacher dynamic because it also replicates a parent-child dynamic, and that’s a whole other kind of psychological and relational can of worms. A big one is just listening and believing because individuals experiences are unique and personal.
[00:28:30] Jess O’Reilly: So when someone says, you know, I’m experiencing this discrimination, listen and learn and don’t always feel you need to chime in with, you know, well, here’s my story, and then the big. Thing I think more theoretically is just to de-center yourself. Like amplify the work of lgbtqia plus folks who have been putting in the time and effort and make sure you’re giving credit where credit is due.
[00:28:53] Jess O’Reilly: I mentioned already, we all need to be working on our own biases and acknowledging, you know, our own privilege and it’s an ongoing. Process. And, uh, again, I think we have to get used to not being perfect. I think that for me and so many of us, that’s the scariest thing.
[00:29:07] Brandon Ware: Oh man. Yeah. No, I, I definitely fall into that boat.
[00:29:09] Brandon Ware: I don’t ever wanna screw up, but it’s like, that’s human. That’s, you know, and if you’re doing all of these things that you just said, educating yourself, it’s gonna become less likely. Mm-hmm. And it will still happen. Absolutely. And, uh, it’s gonna be uncomfortable.
[00:29:21] Jess O’Reilly: Next, we have recognized that our experiences of sexual orientation and gender identity also intersect with layers of our identity, right?
[00:29:28] Jess O’Reilly: So there’s that, you know, obviously Kimberly Crenshaw, we credit with intersectionality theory, but. It’s not just I’m gay, or it’s not just I’m trans. It’s also, you know, what is our race, our class, our body type, our age or immigration status, ability, disability, and there’s kind of no monolith, right?
[00:29:46] Jess O’Reilly: Because I have ran into that where it’s like, well, my gay friend said, or my, that’s cool. Then they can speak for themselves. Like, I don’t, I don’t pretend to speak for ever anyone. About myself really. And now I’ve compiled this with Davin, Adam, and Jamie. So [00:30:00] I’ll say that they’re to credit for this, but I don’t speak for them.
[00:30:03] Jess O’Reilly: And they’re not the same person. They’re three different people.
[00:30:06] Brandon Ware: I mean, I’m only disappointed because as a fellow sportsman, I would’ve enjoyed sitting in with Adam to have this conversation. Perhaps you could’ve spoken about the sports.
[00:30:14] Jess O’Reilly: We have to get Adam back on the podcast to talk about sex and sports.
[00:30:19] Jess O’Reilly: We’re gonna do, we’re gonna do a podcast, sex and Sports with Adam. Our last couple be open to being corrected. You don’t have to have all the answers be open to learning. And then finally is, you know, take action when it comes to policy and laws. So anti-trans laws, the volume of anti-trans legislation is tragically too great to list.
[00:30:35] Jess O’Reilly: And, but there is a live tracker, like the transformation project online. I, I can put the link in there, has a live tracker. So you can look at how you can take action in your local area, especially more American centric in your state. So like where you can sign letters of support, where you can donate to local organizations, where you can send.
[00:30:52] Jess O’Reilly: Messages to lawmakers, and I’ll put the link in. But, um, there, it’s, there’s one called the ard.com. So the. Dash a r d.com. So just some thoughts, imperfect thoughts as we celebrate pride all year long and hone in on this research today. And that’s it.
[00:31:12] Brandon Ware: Amazing. Uh, lots of, lots of great content today,
[00:31:15] Jess O’Reilly: I think.
[00:31:16] Jess O’Reilly: So I wanna say a couple things. Thank you so much for the folks who are writing the supportive reviews. We really, really, really appreciate it. We do see them.
[00:31:29] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t know how you say review. I, I’m not sure I, yeah. And we, we see you, we acknowledge you. Um, I’m gonna get kind next time it’s gonna be in Spanish. Okay. Yeah, we don’t have any Spanish reviews, so I know people are bilingual, trilingual, quad lingual, way more lingual than me. Before we go, we have reactivated the code podcast to save 25% off of our video [email protected].
[00:31:55] Jess O’Reilly: So if you’re interested in boosting confidence, learning new techniques, Slowing [00:32:00] down, being more mindful, perhaps learning to last longer in bed. If that’s something you’re into. Happier couples.com video courses with audio guides, worksheets, all that jazz. We’ve reactivated that code Podcast, save 25%. Go check it out.
[00:32:14] Jess O’Reilly: That’s all she wrote. Thanks for being here, babe.
[00:32:16] Brandon Ware: Thank you.
[00:32:19] Brandon Ware: You’re listening to The Sex with Dr. Jess podcast. Improve your sex life, improve your life.