Name: Jonas Raider
Background: I grew up in the suburbs outside Philadelphia, and have spent the past 5 years living all over the US and Europe between grad school, travels, and a year teaching American culture in Spain. I was recommended OT by my older sister who is also an OT, and it came naturally as I wanted to find a profession that focused on helping individuals to increase their independence through collaboration and open dialogue. Outside OT, I value learning about languages, street photography, thrifting, cooking, biking, hiking, and house/techno music.
Profession: Occupational Therapist Turned User Experience (UX) Researcher
Area(s) of Practice or Interest: I love advocating for OT in non-traditional settings and paving the way for our role in areas we haven’t previously existed. Refugee resettlement, community health, and the design world are my preferred areas of practice, and I hope to continue expanding upon this and advocating for our importance!
What does being ‘Out in Healthcare’ mean to you?: Unfortunately, many within the LGBTQIA+ community have experienced and continue to experience difficulties in accessing affirming healthcare services. Although I plan to work outside of direct client care in the healthcare sphere, being out means advocating for queer clients’ and coworkers’ voices in the design world to address more inclusive products and experiences. It also means setting an example for younger generations to see themselves represented and thriving, something I didn’t have many models of when I was younger.
What is one thing everyone should know about your identity?: Since coming out publicly at 16, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and grow in the ways I connect to the queer community over the years. I think it is important to realize that just like other aspects of life, your queer identity fluctuates in the role it plays! Years ago due to internalized homophobia, I would distance myself from queer people as I felt the proximity would take away from my perceived idea that living closer to a “straight passing” identity was important. Although this may work for other individuals and I in no way look down upon people who feel that needs to be an important theme intertwined with their queerness, it was liberating over the years to unlearn this perceived necessity, and just exist. My queerness is as integral to who I am as the fact that I love spending time outdoors.
How do you feel when your identity is included?: When I see other cisgender people put their pronouns in their profiles, emails, or other spaces, it makes me happy to see that it is finally becoming more of a movement. It is on us cisgender people to normalize this so that our trans and non-binary friends, coworkers, students, and clients don’t have to put in extra emotional energy to advocate for their livelihood. I feel whole when the actions of my peers allow my trans and non-binary friends to feel safe, heard, and seen.
What does “taking up space” mean to you?: Taking up space means showing up in straight spaces with confidence and remaining unapologetic in how I present my queer identity and exist. It also means constantly questioning the systems that exist that center whiteness and heteronormativity and making room for others who deserve a seat at the table. Taking up space in queer spaces means realizing the privileges I embody in being white and cis-gendered, and taking a step back to center, hear, and listen to the lived experiences of Trans, Non-Binary, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) within the community.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to healthcare workers who aren’t sure how to honor the identities of their patients?: If you’re unsure of how to interact or honor your patients, be honest with them and ask questions! Honesty in admitting when you don’t know something and a commitment to seeking out information to expand your expertise goes a long way in terms of affirming the care, safety, and trust of your clients. If you want to validate your clients, ask them what their lived experiences and preferences are, take criticism when you are corrected or informed, and go from there.
Has your identity influenced healthcare that you’ve received?: Returning to the suburbs where I grew up to see a doctor for check ups occasionally, there have been (many) frustrating moments of internalized homophobia and unnecessary awkwardness that have been displayed by healthcare providers towards me.
Where can people find you?: You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me via email at Jonasianraider@gmail.com!