The Ethics of Nurses Being “Political”


A few weeks ago (I know, don’t tell me it feels like months!), when the 45’s “Muslim Ban” was in full swing, Pamela Cipriano, the current President of the American Nurses Association, issued a statement that reads as follows:

“Nursing is committed to both the welfare of the sick, injured, and vulnerable in society and to social justice. The ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements establishes the ethical standard for the profession in its fervent call for all nurses and nursing organizations to advocate for the protection of human rights and social justice.Therefore, ANA opposes any action that erodes the human rights of people, and strives to protect and preserve the rights of vulnerable groups such as the poor, homeless, elderly, mentally ill, prisoners, refugees, women, children, and socially stigmatized groups.This underlying principle must be considered in light of the current Administration’s efforts to halt refugee admissions…

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Selfcare as Warfare

Working on my workshop for True Colors, and as I was looking for a source on the famous Audre Lorde quote about self-care, found this excellent post that examines why she would even have needed to say it. As a bonus, this blogger has an actual resource section with full citations! Many thanks for that!


“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

This is a revolutionary, extraordinary sentence. It is a much loved, much cited sentence. It is an arrow, which acquires its sharpness from its own direction. It is from the epilogue to Audre Lorde’s A Burst of Light, a piece of writing so profound, so moving, that it never fails to teach me, often by leaving me undone, beside myself. This writing is made up of fragments or notes put together as Audre Lorde learns that she has liver cancer, that her death could only be arrested; as she comes to feel that diagnosis in her bones. The expression “a burst of light” is used for when she came to feel the fragility of her body’s situation: “that inescapable knowledge, in the bone, of my own physical limitation.”

A Burst of Light

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The Call for Community, Art, and Artists in the Resistance Movement

A reminder that the arts are one of the ways we not only #resist but also rejuvenate ourselves.


This week, members of the Nurse Manifest Team gathered together by the warmth of our computer screens for engaging video conference. We took the time to welcome some new members and talk about the future of the movement. I have to say for me, being with like minded #NurseResisters was so energizing (even though I have been suffering through a bout of the flu this week!) and also very comforting.

It’s important for #NurseResisters to remember we are not alone and to gather those around us during these challenging times: when change seems to be happening at a rapid pace, when social media pages are filled with what resisters might find to be concerning or bad governmental news, when there are 10 things you would like to take action on, but you can’t be on the phone all day….it can become easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, or burned out. This is…

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An Activist’s Deipnon for Hekate

This post gives some excellent ideas of ways to blend self care and planning for action in the context of a monthly ritual. Even if you’re not a Hellenic Pagan (or any flavor of Pagan), you may find the seeds of ideas for your own approach to both avoiding outrage fatigue and committing to attainable goals of activism on a regular basis.

Magick From Scratch

I’ve got nothing for a pre-amble. These are trying times. Every day brings a new assault on someone’s rights. I’m pissed, and I’m tired of hearingrationalizations about why certain people areentitled to systematically mistreat, oppress and do violence to our most vulnerable.

If you are feeling me on this, I want you to read this article on self care, stat. If you are in a TL;DR headspace, let me give you the most important thing the author said:

This is really important, because at some point itwillbecome too much to handle. You can cope by shutting it out for a while — binge watching Netflix, playing with your dog, going to yoga. But if you don’t do that, if you try to maintain this fever pitch of anguish and fear and outrage, something far worse than a little down time is going to happen. Your brain, to protect you…

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Supergirl Takes On Its Biggest Bad Yet: Compulsory Heterosexuality

This was one of the two things I saw on tv this week that, quite frankly, I really needed to see for my sanity. (The other was Dean Winchester taking out a re-animated/reincarnated Hitler last night with the help of a terrified med student who found her courage at the 11th hour. ) This blog post does a great job analyzing just why Alex’s coming out was so very different than anything we ever see on tv, why it was so important, and some hints of what to (and not to) expect from Supergirl’s sister.

raching for it

The last few days have been absolute garbage. You know that, I know that. I don’t mean to take away from the terrible things currently happening in America and the rest of the world. That’s truly the last thing I would ever want to do, but I think it’s important to focus on little positive things in whatever way you can, and I’d been planning on writing this before the nightmarish election results happened, so here I am, writing it.

Characters come-out onscreen. This isn’t new. Is it something that doesn’t happen often? Yes. Do we need more of it? Absolutely. Coming-out scenes for characters who are in the process of realising their queerness are just as important as the need for openly confident and out queer characters. Basically, we need more queer characters. But that isn’t news.

However, coming-out scenes often seem to take the form of the same…

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Report from the 4th Annual GLMA Nursing Summit!

GLMA Nursing

Caitlin Stover and Michael Johnson Caitlin Stover and Michael Johnson

What a terrific Nursing Summit in St. Louis!  We started the day with an inspiring and tonda-hughesinformative presentation by Tonda Hughes, whose career has always focused on the health of sexual minority women. The title of her presentation “From gay bars to marriage equality: The evolution of research on sexual minority women’s health from one researcher’s perspective” prompted a great discussion!

Speed Networking! Speed Networking!

The networking event that followed was a huge success!  It was actually a “speed dating” kind of opportunity to meet and network with folks that we might not otherwise have met!

The plenary panel presentations inspired us to envision possibilities for a career focused on LGBTQ health in nursing.  The panel was moderated by Sarah Fogel, nurse member ofpanel-with-sarah the GLMA Board.  Here are the titles and presenters on the panel:

  • Cultural Competence of Nurse Practitioners: Providing Care for Gay and Lesbian…

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The work of visiBIlity

It’s been awhile since I’ve added much in the way of original content, as opposed to reblogging items of interest (mostly so I can find them again later!), but it seemed like Bisexual Awareness Week was really nudging at me for a post, so here it is.

It’s interesting to have come into this week after just having attended the annual GLMA Conference and Nursing Summit.  It was a great week for meeting with and hearing presentations by people in various aspects of health care working specifically on LGBT health issues, both for patients and providers.  We got lots done at the Nursing Summit in particular, and are looking to keep that work going between now and next year’s meeting, which is exciting.  It’s so easy to come home from a conference fired up with ideas … only to have that fire sputter in the wind generated by day-to-day responsibilities.  Having a plan to keep fueling that fire, however, so far does seem to be a recipe for Getting Things Done.

Throughout much of the week, as great as it was, I did often find myself feeling invisible.  This is not at all unusual.  As with many bisexuals, particularly those who are married or otherwise partnered, I tend to be invisible until and unless I a) say something or b) paint myself pink, purple, and blue, and neither of those is guaranteed to be effective.  Being married to a man means I’m assumed to be straight, just as if I were married to a woman I’d be assumed to be a lesbian.  The fact that I’ve developed a fondness for makeup over the past year probably increases the likelihood that I’m assumed to be either straight or a “lipstick lesbian.”  (Tangential note to self: you went to the trouble to figure out how to do rainbow and bi flag eyes for Pride, how’s about doing the same for the GLMA Gala instead of being boring, silly? Next year!)

It’s also, unfortunately, not unusual to experience biphobia in what are meant to be LGBT-inclusive spaces.  It’s generally unintentional, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens.  I’m frustrated with myself in that, while I did say something to someone about the fact I was bothered by a particular aspect of one event, I didn’t explicitly address the biphobia (and ace-phobia, though that doesn’t impact me directly but still bugged me) that had gotten under my skin, but rather talked about the overall tone of that particular aspect of the event.  It’s not that concerns I brought up about the overall tone were untrue, because they were true.  What frustrates me is that I let my own internalized biphobia stop me from voicing the particulars of why I was not comfortable with this one aspect of this one event.  (ETA: Clearly either the leadership recognized the issue independently or others were more able than I to speak to these specifics, as a follow-up email both apologized for this having been an issue and laid out how this will be prevented from happening in the future.)  In other situations, that same internalized biphobia had me being very cautious about mentioning the gender of my spouse, lest I be shunted into the “not really one of us” category.

This is one of the reasons that doing something visible for Bisexual Awareness Week feels important, even if that just means making a long and rambly blog post.  I think of myself as out, but it is actually quite a bit of work to be visibly out as bi.  And that’s work I need to do if for no other reason than to challenge my own internal biphobia.  Of course, there is no stereotypical way to appear bi, short of walking down the street holding hands with people of more than one gender at the same time.  I suppose that wearing hiking boots with everything from jeans to evening wear can be seen as some kind of statement, though the reality of that statement is, “I have awful feet and ankles.”

One of the things we tackled at the Nursing Summit was what it means to queer nursing research.  I’m still wrestling with what it means to queer anything or to be queer, even though this is a term I apply to myself alongside “bisexual.”  One conclusion, though, was definitely that there is no one answer to what those things mean.  That makes the work of visibility harder, too.  Not only are there no commonly accepted visual cues for being bi, the ones that tend to go with “queer” are generally more closely associated with being monosexually gay, and ultimately have more to do with gender presentation or performativity than sexual orientation.

Tomorrow is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, which would seem to be a day to find some way to be as visibly bi as possible.  Of course, I’m working at my clinical job, which limits my options on personal appearance.  In the plus column, the uniform is purple, so I’ll have at least one stripe of the flag covered … but so will all my coworkers who would continue in blissful oblivion as to why that would be any different tomorrow than any other day.  I’ve always got my rainbow caduceus on my badge lanyard, but I’ve yet to find any specifically bi-themed jewelry that I’m happy with.  And again, most wouldn’t get it.  I’m certainly not going to wish everybody I meet a “Happy Celebrate Bisexuality Day”!  Patients, in particular, would probably find that a bit confusing, and they have other things to be concerned with.  Except some of them are likely bi too, or if not them, then perhaps one or more of their family members or friends, and I feel like being somehow quietly visible for them is as important (if not more so) as any other reason.

Perhaps I’ll find an answer.  Perhaps it’ll be effective.  Perhaps neither of those things will be true.  But thinking about these things and at least striving for answers is, I think, part of the work of visiBIlity.  Doing some of that thinking “out loud” on the internet is, I suppose, another component.