June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and sexual and gender diversity. Members of the community and allies unite in pride and solidarity to recognize, honor, and uplift the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning people.
As we honor the LGBTQIA+ community this month and beyond, we must also commit to better understanding and addressing the issues it faces. One such issue is eating disorders, which affect LGBTQIA+ people at disproportionately high rates.
In this article, we explore eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community and offer ways to support affected community members during Pride and throughout the year.
At The Emily Program, Veritas Collaborative, and our parent company Accanto Health, our care extends beyond eating disorders. We care for people—those we serve and those we work with. We share a firm belief that each person belongs here, understanding that diversity in identity, experience, and perspective is critical to our work. In our relationships with colleagues and clients, we value trust, respect, and a commitment to inclusion.
This commitment is a shared responsibility. Helping us ensure that our values are reflected in our practices and policies is Accanto Health’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council. With staff from both The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, the EDI Council plays an essential role in advancing meaningful change both internally and externally.
Each June, members of the eating disorder community unite to recognize World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD). People experiencing eating disorders firsthand, along with the friends, families, providers, researchers, and policymakers who support them, rally across the globe around a common goal of understanding, connection, and healing.
We invite you to join us this year. Here are five actions you can take today to support eating disorder awareness, education, and recovery.
To our communities, friends, and colleagues:
The events that have occurred in the Twin Cities and across the nation are heartbreaking. The Emily Program is a member of the communities in which we live, work, and serve. We stand in solidarity with the community’s call for change and we are seeking ways we can listen, learn, and participate to fight systemic racism and injustice.
We have been asked about concrete actions that we are taking, so I will share that here. I want to emphasize that this is the beginning of our response; it is not a one-time response. There is a necessity for real action to have a real impact across the country, and we, as an employer, as community members, and as caregivers play a critical role in that action and the extent of its impact.
What I describe below is what we’re doing today. Over the coming days and weeks, we must listen, learn and open up to understanding, so that the plans we make, the actions we take, the participation we engage in is effective and informed. We don’t want to see the impact fall short, as so often seems to be the result.
With the warm weather and summer activities, it can be easy to forget to take time to yourself over the summer. The Emily Program knows how essential taking time to care for yourself during recovery is, so we reached out to our community and staff to see how they practice self-care. If you aren’t sure where to start, try using one of their ideas!
“To practice self-care I force myself to lay down, even when and if my eating disorder tells me that I’m lazy, and I watch my favorite show—Grey’s Anatomy!” – Kara
“My favorite way to practice self-care in the summer is to lay in my hammock and read a good book in the evening, while the world is settling in for another night. Of course, I need plenty of bug spray!” – Maggie Meyers
“I make a glass of tea and I take a nap on bad days.” – C. F.
“I offer clients this handout to read. I also remind them that ‘self-care’ is not always bubble baths and pedicures, but it’s also nourishing the body, adequate sleep, therapy, etc.!” –Abbie Scott
**This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on the path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptom use. Please use your own discretion and speak with your support system as needed.dis
Bhakti Doroodian is an independently licensed marriage and family therapist who currently works for The Emily Program as a Clinical Manager and DBT Therapist. Her background includes treating individuals, couples, and families with a wide variety of mental health and family dynamic concerns. Her passion for eating disorders surfaced as she noticed the detrimental effects of it on not just the individual, but on the family system as a whole. She hopes to continue educating clients on the importance of health, wellness, and body acceptance in all forms.
Food equals love. This was a concept I learned early on when my grandmother would secretly give me all of my favorite treats before dinner. When I would fall sick, my mother would make me eat bitter melon for dinner followed by a tall glass of ginger-turmeric milk to nurse me back to health. After my grandparents passed away, friends and distant relatives brought my family many of our favorite dishes to comfort and support us through a painful time in our lives. Although I was born and raised in California, my relationship with food was largely influenced by my South Asian roots. Every summer, my sister and I would pack up our most precious belongings, and head to India to spend our break with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. While our cousins would fantasize about a life in the United States with the education opportunities, fast cars, and fashion models, my sister and I relished in the simplicity of living in India, even if it was only for a few short months.
Every day, hand-in-hand, my grandmother and I would walk to the market to see what produce was available for that day’s dinner. There was no refrigerator, pantry, or grocery store where we could store the essentials. Instead, our variety was 100% dependent upon what was in season or available that day and whether or not we could afford the farmers’ ever-changing price for produce. Options were limited so rarely did we choose our meals based on our mood or cravings. Rather, the focus was on counting our blessings and eating nutrient-dense meals to have energy for the day’s work.
Copyright © 2019 - Emily Program. All rights reserved.