It was a full house at the Sunrise Grill in Des Plaines on Friday, July 22, as current and prospective members of the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce came to network, enjoy a delicious full breakfast, and hear Dr. Margo Jacquot, Psy.D., founder and director of The Juniper Center, talk and take questions on “What’s all this Gender Business, and what does it have to do with my business?”
“It’s a topic that a lot of people have questions about,” said Sara Koveleski Kraut, PT, DPT, NCS, owner and physical therapist at Advanced Physical Therapy & Health Services, LLC, who attended the event. “It’s important as a community to be welcoming to everybody,” said Kraut. Kraut was interested in the topic both as an employer and also in terms of serving patients and building her business. “We always try to do programming that is attractive to our members,” said Gail Haller, Executive Director of the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce. “That particular product was timely and very well received,” added Haller, noting the higher attendance for a Friday in July.
“It makes sense to have an LGBTQ inclusive business,” said Jacquot, who opened with a review of what the letters in the LGBTQ stand for: Lesbian: Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning. She also mentioned other newer additions such as A for Asexual or Ally and I for Intersex, or having the biology and identity of both genders. “There is a lot of legal protection now for LGB,” said Jacquot, but not as much yet for those who are Transgender.
According to Jacquot, studies show that 55% of those who self-identify as LGBTQ will research ahead of time to know if your business is welcoming. 70% will pay a higher price if they know you are welcoming, and 78% of friends, family and loved ones will switch brands. “Sometimes it can be as simple as displaying a rainbow flag decal on your door, or providing gender neutral bathrooms,” said Jacquot. “It’s always best not to make assumptions—a simple ‘how can I help you’ is a way to open the door to good and welcoming service.
Questions ranged from how to handle dressing rooms, to one from someone who was going to a wedding that weekend, where a longtime friend had recently come out as transgender. Jacquot said sometimes asking is the best way to be supportive or to know how someone would like to be addressed. “Certainly don’t ask ‘Did you have surgery?’ or ‘Are you taking hormones. ’ But it’s okay to let them know you care and are open to talking about it if they want to.”
The Juniper Center is a long-time leader in providing appropriate and affirming therapy for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).
Whether or not someone is seeking counseling for an issue specific to their sexuality or gender identity or they simply want therapy for another matter in an LGBTQ- knowledgeable and welcoming practice, The Juniper Center is the right choice.