LGBT Invisibility

11.8.2016 | 23:26

Flag_Rainbow

I’ve noticed this before, but I got a major reminder earlier this week:

There doesn’t seem to be much of an LGBT presence in the health and wellness community.

I was listening to a podcast from one of my mentors a few days ago, and he alluded to next week’s episode where he was going to be talking with a male practitioner, all about men’s health.

He said that all of his male listeners would love it.

And that all of his female listeners would too.

Well….

Not so fast.

Sure, maybe from a professional perspective, if they have male clients.

But there was an underlying assumption that women would want to listen because they’d want to know what made their partners tick.

Their male partners, of course.

two beautiful girls with a baby outdoor

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m offended about this.

There was no offense intended, and none … or at least very little … taken.

But this is a very common assumption I see being made all through this little niche.

That all of our readers/listeners/viewers are straight.

Well, guess what?

We’re not.

And I see very few people reaching out to potential clients who might be gay, whether men or women.

There are a few people who use gender neutral language, or openly acknowledge the existence of gay men and lesbians.

But in almost all of the podcast or summit interviews I’ve heard, in almost all of the blog articles I read, there is this tacit assumption that partners or spouses are of the opposite sex.

Now, granted, I haven’t exactly been under the impression that there are hordes of gay men and lesbians looking for gay-friendly health coaches.

Same sex male couple having dinner with their son and daughter in their home.

But maybe they’re not looking because there’s a perception that there’s no such thing.

I haven’t seen anyone openly marketing to the LGBT population, or hinting that they would even be welcome.

A lot of practitioners are marketing to “busy moms,” or women with no libido who haven’t had (or wanted) sex with their husbands in years.

And I’ll be the first person to admit that I haven’t exactly been marketing to the LGBT crowd myself.

Mostly that’s because none of my lesbian friends seem all that interested in healthy eating, exercise or mindset tools.

But Debra isn’t gay, and so, as a business team, we don’t want to restrict ourselves to one or the other group.

Debra is what we call a “straight ally,” and we share a circle of friends that includes gay men and women, and someone who’s transgender.

Basically, I just want to remind everyone that our clients may come in many varieties, and I’d like to think that none of us would turn someone away just because they’re gay (or straight, for that matter).

Two happy senior gay couples isolated on white background. Older men and women in casual clothes holding hands. Simple and cute cartoon style.

Some of those “busy moms” needing a health coach might just be partnered up with (or married to) another woman.

And some of those super-fit, athletic guys might have boyfriends.

So I guess this is my unofficial way of “outing” myself.

I haven’t gone out of my way to advertise that I’m a lesbian, but I haven’t exactly tried to hide it from my friends and colleagues in this business either.

And if you’re reading this, and you’re a lesbian who thinks there aren’t any health coaches out there who might be able to speak to you from a familiar place – think again.

I don’t know how many of us are out there – I’ve heard rumors, but I don’t want to repeat them, in case they’re just gossip – but I’d like to think I’m not the only one.

And for those of you who write articles, record podcasts and shoot videos – and host summits – just try to keep in mind that you might be ignoring a large part of the population that could use your help.

We should all be capable of coaching clients regardless of gender, race, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity.

And that starts with recognizing – and acknowledging – that those differences exist.

Bright hearts on wooden background

[Editor:  Some online LGBT resources include the following]

Human Rights Campaign

P-FLAG

GLAAD

8 comments


  1. Catarina
    August 12, 2016 | 4:46 pm
    Reply

    This is a much needed topic, thank you for bringing this up Diane! I can’t wait to see where you’ll take it 😀


    • daletchworth
      August 12, 2016 | 6:40 pm
      Reply

      Thank you, Catarina — I know Diane appreciates the support! As do I.


  2. Brandi
    August 12, 2016 | 4:50 pm
    Reply

    This is so right on! I never hear people targeting this market in the health world (except for my one friend in Boulder who offers personal training for LGBT). I am so happy you wrote about this. I hope it becomes an opportunity to make waves, create conversation and overturn assumption!


    • daletchworth
      August 12, 2016 | 6:41 pm
      Reply

      Thank you so much for the support, Brad, and so glad to hear of your friend in Boulder. I think Diane’s started something important here too — we’ll see where it goes and I know she’ll be blogging more on the subject. 🙂


  3. Brad
    August 14, 2016 | 7:09 pm
    Reply

    Important to be overt sometimes. It could certainly help people who don’t feel accepted or understood. While there might be many health practitioners that are welcoming, making it clear that you acknowledge and can relate to this can go a long way.


    • daletchworth
      August 25, 2016 | 8:02 pm
      Reply

      Subtlety can be overrated, or just plain missed. You’re spot on, Brad.


  4. Barbara
    September 11, 2016 | 3:32 am
    Reply

    I’ve always approached it that health is health. We are human beings and all have the same basic human DNA. I could not care less what my clients do sexually. I know I have several lesbian clients, and probably more that I don’t know, and their health needs are no different from straight ones. I don’t believe that every area of life has to be divvied up into “them” and “us”.
    If someone wants to “cater to” a particular demographic with some super selective info that couldn’t possibly pertain to the rest of us, great. Advertise that to save wasted time and confusion for those of us who may otherwise stumble in to something unfathomable. But otherwise, why not an “all are welcome” approach?
    As to being “left out” because of some coordinator’s or presenter’s language skills, or their not being able to conceive a language that doesn’t offend someone somehow on some level, I personally am capable of extrapolating possible value and evaluating my interest from whatever words are offered. Meaning, if the class is for Sheltie lovers and I only have cats, I can figure out I’m not interested. But if it is for lonely guys trying to decipher odd cat behaviors, and I have a weirdo cat, I can go even if I am a girl as the subject matter may be useful. No one will toss me out because I’m lacking a penis. I don’t feel excluded, I’m just not their target market of the week. Maybe if I show up, their views will be expanded and their targets will shift to everyone’s benefit.
    I’m all for inclusiveness but I get testy when including some means excluding others.
    And I can only imagine the hubbub if anyone anywhere ever advertised targeting for straight clients. Health Coaching Cis Style. OMG. The shaming that would ensue. But for some reason, flip that to LGBTQ… and it becomes noble.
    Don’t judge. Don’t flip out. I’m trying to keep up. And be honest. Not everything in life is an affront.


    • daletchworth
      September 15, 2016 | 12:52 am
      Reply

      Beautifully put, Barbara — excellent perspective. And yeah, about that weird cat behavior….

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