TORONTO, June 26, 2008 – A group of Ontario nurses will march in this weekend’s Pride Parade in Toronto to show support for diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
Members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and one of its affiliated groups, the Rainbow Nursing Interest Group (RNIG), want to draw attention to the realities this diverse population experiences. Although more than 1.25 million people in Ontario identify themselves as members of gender or sexual minority communities, there is evidence their health-care needs are not always being met. A study by Health Canada showed the unmet health-care needs among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people was nearly double that of heterosexuals.
“We are thrilled to be taking part in this year’s parade. This event celebrates our province’s potential to be an open and diverse society,” says Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of RNAO. “However, we haven’t done enough work to address issues of homophobia and heterosexism in the health-care system. Grinspun says that is why the association developed a policy statement aimed at educating frontline health-care providers and health-care organizations.
Judith MacDonnell, an RN and Co-Chair of RNAO’s Rainbow Nursing Interest Group, says one reason this diverse population doesn’t always receive the care it needs is because some avoid traditional health-care settings out of fear they will experience discrimination or be refused care.
“We have to confront these issues head on and ensure that nurses and other health-care providers treat all patients respectfully. That will go a long way towards making the system more inclusive,” she says.
Doris Grinspun, Executive Director, RNAO
Judith MacDonnell, Co-Chair of RNAO’s Rainbow Nursing Interest Group
Other members of RNAO’s Rainbow Nursing Interest Group
The Toronto Pride Parade
Bloor Street (between Church and Jarvis Streets)
Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 1 p.m.
The RNIG group number is 185
RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
P: (416) 599-1925/1-800-268-7199 ext. 209
C: (647) 406-5605