Tips and strategies to overcome the challenges that are present today
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Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: So moving forward, Michael, what would be a piece of advice as we're closing out, that you would give to somebody that might be in our profession that might be struggling a little bit with their sexuality?
Michael Lark, CVT: I would tell like any vet student or any vet tech student to just go in and be themselves. I think you also have to educate others. But I also feel like you need to be willing to speak up and take risks, because no one knows what you prefer what you want unless you say it. And I feel like, if you don't say it, you live with it internally, and you don't want to work at a place where you're feared or you don't feel valued, or you don't feel safe, or you're afraid of retaliation. So I think just being upfront about it from the start would help. And if there's a place that doesn't want you, then you go look for somewhere else.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Exactly. Right. Amen. Right.
Erik Zager, DVM, DACVECC: Yeah. I mean, the veterinary community, luckily, is pretty clear. I mean, we are an industry that I think has a very good representation here. And what that means is, if you are in a place that you feel uncomfortable, get out. Don't put yourself through that. Yes, we should all work for change in advance of that. But it shouldn't come at the risk of your own safety, your own well-being, your own mental health. If you are in a hospital that doesn't appreciate you, that doesn't value you as a member of the community, get out. Find someplace that does, because there are plenty. And you know, it's just finding that that place that you feel at home, so that you can then continue to flourish and continue to work for the rights and the happiness of other queer individuals.
Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM: You know, I think one of the things that I think so many gay people experience is loneliness. And I don't know what you're going to tell somebody in that predicament to buck up. If somebody were to go back in time and talk to me about, "Well, don't worry, it gets better." I'm not sure that messaging would last me through the loneliness that happens and the isolation and the shame that you experience. So my advice for anybody that is experiencing that is to, you know, either through counselling or through social groups online or through groups like dvm360 is to find some like-minded people so that you can have some peers to talk to care about you. You know, the queer community is, not to be prejudicial, but it is fabulous. It's fabulous. They're smart, intelligent, capable people, especially because they've gone through the gauntlet that they have, the crucible that they have to get where they are. So they come with all kinds of wonderful resources. They're wonderful people to know. And if you're experiencing that, you got to try to find connections with those people to help you realize everything that you can be.
Jennifer Evans: I'm gonna add just a little something on this. I believe strongly, Brené Brown is like a major idol of mine, but she likes to say the statement "clear is kind." And I believe that even when you're entering into a situation where you're starting a new job, to make it clear that this is what you need to thrive, that is kind to your leadership. For leadership, in what's been said here, I think it's important for you to recognize that...it's astounding the amount of LGBTQ+ that is coming up in vet med. And if you are not on the bus, you are going to be left behind because there are a lot of us in this in this community and in the vet community. And as a pet owner, myself, I would rather have a full staff of queer individuals looking after my pet, simply because they're so kind and so loving and so accepting. So I think it's vital that everybody understands in vet medicine how important it is to work on being more accepting and more welcoming to all walks of life.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Excellent. Well, this has been fantastic friends, thank you so much for being on. This is wonderful. This is how we move forward, right? And Happy Pride Month to you all too, by the way. So yeah, thank you for being here. Thank you for tuning in. And I wholeheartedly mean this: that every single one of you, that every single one of us that are on this panel, we are more than welcome to chat with the chat with you. If you want to reach out to us, please go ahead and chat with us. We'll have all that information around this video too. So thank you so much for tuning in and continue to keep that light shining. Thanks for being here. Take care, everybody.