1. Section Editor(s): Palatnik, AnneMarie MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

Article Content

"Imagine all the people living life in peace.

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You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one."


-"Imagine," by John Lennon, 1971


Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in 1998 because he was gay. Rutgers college student Tyler Clementi jumped to his death in 2010 from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate used a web cam to view Tyler kissing another man, then talked about it on social media. Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired in April for physically abusing his players and verbally abusing them using antigay slurs. Also in April, basketball player Jason Collins became the first professional athlete to "come out" during his professional career. Collins wears number 98 on his jersey in recognition of the year Matthew Shepard was killed. Some have said that Collins is paving the way for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) athletes the way that Jackie Robinson paved the way for black professional athletes.


I truly struggle with our nation's inability to accept people as they are, and I worry about the effect this has on the care that we provide for our patients. If it takes a major sports figure to "come out" to help us toward that general acceptance, then it's a good thing. But I think that as a profession, we need to expand our culturally appropriate nursing care to include LGBTQ patients.


This month we have an exceptional article on page 14, "Reaching out to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning patients." Two things in this article really resonated with me. First, the authors state, "Researchers have clarified the concepts of sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity, and agree that individual sexual orientations and gender identities aren't lifestyles or preferences, but an integral part of the person." The second thing that struck me was that when we consider the family of this population, we need to consider the family of choice, not only the birth family or family of origin.


Please take the time to read the article and think about the implications of the information to your practice and the practices in your clinical area. This is an opportunity to take one small step toward helping people live life in peace, and the world to live as one.


Until the next time, accept your patients as they are, don't pass judgment, and be great advocates for all of your patients!


AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

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LGBTQ Nation.