Posted 2 weeks ago

Let’s celebrate with PRIDE

June is national Pride Month and is dedicated to celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, and transgender pride. Pride Month began after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a series of gay liberation protests.  The riots began after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located within Lower Manhattan in New York City.

Let’s start off by taking a moment to clarify terms associated with this community.

“To truly understand others, we must first learn to see things from their perspective” ~ Maximus Freeman, author and archaeologist.

Sex refers to the categories (male, female) to which people are typically assigned based on clinical traits—chromosomes, hormones, or reproductive anatomy. Sex may be referred to by concepts such as sex assigned at birth, birth sex or sex recorded on original birth certificate, to provide context for estimation of a patient’s clinical needs.

Gender refers to the intersection of an individual’s gender identity (how an individual perceives themselves) and gender expression (how a person signals their gender to others).

Transgender is an umbrella term often used to refer to people whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not correspond.

Cisgender refers to people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Some individuals may prefer or also identify as nonbinary. The idea that there are only two genders is sometimes called a “gender binary,” because binary means “having two parts” (male and female). Therefore, “nonbinary” is one term people use to describe genders that do not fall solely into one of these two categories, male or female.

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, queer, and/or intersex. Individuals with same-sex or -gender attractions or behaviors and those with a difference in sex development are also included. These populations also encompass those who do not self-identify with one of these terms but whose sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or reproductive development is characterized by non-binary constructs of sexual orientation, gender, and/or sex.

Australia’s Out with Cancer group recently conducted a large online survey of 430 LGBTQ patients with cancer in Australia and other English-speaking countries. Among their findings, published in Frontiers of Oncology:
– More than 40% reported high or very high distress levels, 3-6 times higher than in non-LGBTQ cancer studies.
– 82% of respondents experienced discrimination in their life in general.
– 33% experienced discrimination during their cancer care.
– Trans and gender diverse people had higher rates of distress and lower quality of life.

Not only are risks of cancer for the population higher, but Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) people also experience low access to tailored resources and ultimately lower satisfaction with care after treatment.

At Ironwood, we want everyone in this community, as well as the community at large, to feel supported and safe to receive excellent cancer care at all our facilities.

Here are some great resources to share during this month of Pride.
– The National LGBT Cancer Network has a wide variety of supports available to cancer patients and survivors, as well as their friends, family, and allies. They also offer a large variety of continuing education for healthcare providers to ensure they are offering Welcoming Spaces and judgement free care for all. This organization also hosts a cancer support group that is virtual and free to attend.
– CancerCare provides free, professional support services for the LGBTQ+ community affected by cancer, including practical information and additional resources
– The National LGBT Cancer Project – This nonprofit organization claims to be the first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender cancer survivor support and advocacy group. They offer an online support community called, Out with Cancer, that is committed to improving the health of LGBT cancer survivors with peer-to-peer support, patient navigation, education, and advocacy.
– Living Beyond Breast Cancer – Emotional Support for LGBTQ+ people affected by breast cancer
– ZERO Prostate Cancer – Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community with Prostate Cancer

If you need a safe person to talk to and find support through, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Social Work team at Ironwood. We are here for you! Feel free to contact us through email at

Nicole McCallister, LMSW

Nicole McCallister is a Licensed Master Social Worker.  Nicole received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State University in August 2017.  She received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies in April 2003 from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI.

Nicole has spent the last 15 years working with children and families in the child welfare system of Arizona.  She completed a social work internship with Ironwood under the supervision of Kelly Huey from August 2016 through May 2017.

Nicole has volunteered with Ironwood’s breast cancer support group in Scottsdale after her internship was complete.  Nicole is looking forward to working with cancer patients and their families in hopes of supporting the positive change to those in need.