Pride Month: Ally Moms – Nancy

Nancy shares her experience as an Ally Mom

As Southcoast Health celebrates Pride Month this June, Nancy shares her experience as both a Southcoast colleague as well as an LGBTQ ally and parent to her son, Rin, a member of the LGBTQ community.

Nancy Rezendes is an RN at Charlton Memorial Hospital. She has worked in the Emergency Department for the past 14 years and is now a resource nurse.

Nancy believes that Pride Month is a great time to show support for all LGBTQ community members. However, as a mother to a transgender child, she has learned that being an ally is not just about showing up for Pride Month, but 365 days a year.

The importance of being open minded

“Being my son’s ally means that I show up for him every day, that I offer him my love, acceptance, and support no matter what,” Nancy says. “It means that I really listen to him, allow him the space to explore his gender and sexuality with an open mind and without judgment, as this is his experience after all, not mine.”

As a parent to a child in the LGBTQ community, Nancy shares that the most important thing is being accepting and open-minded. She encourages others to research and ask questions of the community on topics that can be hard to understand. She also encourages parents to listen and learn from their children.

Speak up for your child until they find their voice

“Advocate for your child. Stand up for your child when bullied, harassed, misgendered, or otherwise disrespected whether at school, in the community, or even healthcare institutions,” Nancy says. “Speak up for your child until they find their voice, but never speak over them, then just sit back and listen, and allow them to shine.”

There are many private struggles that LGBTQ community members face as they explore their identities. LGBTQ teens statistically have a higher rate of depression and suicidality, which can help be reduced by family acceptance and support.

Nancy is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

At Southcoast Health, Nancy is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and a member of the Three P’s (pronouns, preferred names and policies) workgroup. Throughout the years, she has worn different rainbow pins on her badge holder at work to show her support for the community and help LGBTQ patients feel safe and comfortable when they see her in the Emergency Department.

As an ally, Nancy stresses the importance of education and advocacy for this community. “Being an ally is speaking up for the LGBTQ community at work, encouraging acceptance by educating on the spot, and teaching others the vital importance of respecting pronouns,” she says. 

Being an ally includes ongoing advocacy

To Nancy, being an ally includes ongoing work to advocate and offer advice and support to parents of children who have recently come out as transgender, both in person and in confidential parent groups. Additionally, Nancy believes that what makes a good ally is being unafraid to speak up against LGBTQ hate and discrimination when seen in person or on social media, to help shoulder some of the burdens the LGBTQ community faces.