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The long-running organization is partnering with its student-run arm, Pride Student VMC, to create scholarship and mentorship opportunities.
Traditionally, LGBTQ+ members of the veterinary community haven’t been well represented, says Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC) President Dane Whitaker, DVM, MPVM. When Whitaker, now a transgender man, applied to veterinary school, he identified as a lesbian but kept his identity to himself.
“The importance of having this organization and this recognition is to allow queer folks in our profession to be our authentic selves,” says Whitaker.
The organization, founded in 1978, has had several different names over the years and was officially rebranded as PrideVMC in 2018. Despite all the name changes, however, the organization has always strived to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ community.
Recently, the group staged a letter-writing campaign to advocate for gender and pronoun options on veterinary school applications.
“It is very important to recognize that there are gender-nonconforming folks that are coming into the profession,” says Whitaker. PrideVMC membership is also increasing and the organization is fortifying its relationship with Pride Student VMC to help create scholarship opportunities and other resources.
PrideVMC is also building a mentorship program. Whitaker says when he was in veterinary school, he had no LGBTQ+ mentors. “There were no queer mentors that I was aware of, so to be able to see that when you’re in school will be incredibly impactful and very powerful," he says.
Whitaker encourages anyone experiencing identity-related discrimination or harassment to reach out. “Contact us. We are here to help,” he says.
Watch the video below to learn more about PrideVMC.