Inclusivity in Focus: Commemorating LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Coming out for people who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, nonbinary, and other gender and sexually expansive identities) can bring relief and joy as they continue to learn who they are and find support within the LGBTQ+ community. While being part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a source of strength, it also can present challenges. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, members of the LGBTQ+ community are at a higher risk for mental health conditions, especially anxiety and depression.* That’s why it’s important to be aware of these challenges and learn what you can do to help.

How to support the LGBTQ+ community

Supporting LGBTQ+ family members, friends, and co-workers is vital to helping them feel comfortable and accepted for who they are, which also bolsters their mental health. Being an ally also helps others grow in understanding and knowledge. Here’s what you can do:

Create an atmosphere of acceptance

  • Be open and approachable, and consistently show you are supportive of LGBTQ+ concerns.
  • Be sensitive and respectful to all gender orientations and sexualities. Don’t assume that all people are heterosexual and/or cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Use inclusive language and correct pronouns.

Listen and be willing to engage in conversation

  • Offer empathy and support by validating concerns, experiences, and feelings.
  • Spend time with your LGBTQ+ family members, friends, or co-workers. Be present and aware.
  • Ask how you can be supportive yet be sensitive about the type of questions you ask.

Speak up in a caring way

  • Always show respect through your words and actions.
  • Say something if someone makes an insensitive comment or joke. Silence can be viewed as acceptance.
  • Normalize that there are a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Expand your knowledge

  • Seek out information and resources to grow your understanding. Three good sources are the Gay-Straight Alliance Network at org, It Gets Better at itgetsbetter.org, and The Trevor Project at thetrevorproject.org.

 

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers resources and support* too:

  • Online resources: Go to anthem.com/eap to log in. You’ll find helpful videos, podcasts, and articles.•
  • Professional counseling: Connect with a licensed professional for confidential online or in-person sessions by going to the EAP website.
  • For 24/7 emergency help, call 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Acknowledging the profound importance of supporting LGBTQIA+ employees underscores the need for ongoing, substantive efforts to uphold this commitment. By embracing such strategies, we cultivate an inclusive and respectful workplace culture and reaffirm our dedication to creating environments where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered.

Participate in Pride Month in Henrico County 2024

As we celebrate Pride Month and reassert our dedication to fostering inclusivity within our workplace, we are excited to spotlight the diverse range of initiatives across the county to champion equality and support our LGBTQ+ employees. From engaging community events to enlightening discussions, there’s something for everyone to participate in:

Love is Love at Belmont (4 pm, All ages): Join us in commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride month with a delightful assortment of activities. From arts & crafts to games and access to the community game room, there’s fun for all! Visit page 7 of the Summer Program Guide to find more information about this event.

Victorian Flower Language and the LGBTQ+ Community at The Parsons Center (2 pm, All ages): Explore the intriguing history of courting and dating in the Victorian Era, where flowers were used to convey romantic intentions. Discover how the LGBTQ+ community of that time adapted these floral exchanges to express their own romantic interests. Visit page 7 of the Summer Program Guide to find more information about this event.

Hands-On History: LGBTQIA+ Virginia: Delve into the rich history of LGBTQIA+ life in Virginia from 1970-2003 with University of Richmond Professor Dr. Pippa Holloway. Following the lecture, unleash your creativity with a hands-on craft session, crafting Pride pins to take home. Visit the HCPL events calendar to find more information about this event.

Libbie Mill LGBTQIA+ Book Discussion: Join in on a thought-provoking discussion of “True Biz” by Sara Nović, centered around students and faculty at the River Valley School for the Deaf as they navigate personal and political crises, celebrating language, Deaf community, and human connection. Visit the HCPL events calendar to find more information about this event.

We encourage you to maintain your engagement, involvement, and activity by taking the opportunity to explore the rich resources available on Henrico County’s Multicultural Community Engagement website and dedicated LGBTQIA+ page. Your continued presence and participation not only contribute to the ongoing celebration of inclusivity and diversity but also serve as a testament to our collective commitment to creating a more welcoming and supportive environment for all.

Sources:
U.S. Census Bureau: LGBT Adults Report Anxiety, Depression at All Ages (December 14, 2022): census.gov.
American Psychiatry Association: Five Ways To Support LGBTQ+ Mental Health (June 26, 2023): psychiatry.org.
The Trevor Project: Friends & Family Support Systems for LGBTQ Youth (August 20, 2021): thetrevorproject.org.
EAP products are offered by Anthem Life Insurance Company. In New York, Anthem EAP products are offered by Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Company. In California, Anthem EAP products are offered by Blue Cross of California using the trade name Anthem Blue Cross. ANTHEM is a registered trademark. Use of the Anthem EAP website constitutes your agreement with our Terms of Use.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Georgia: Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. and Community Care Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc., dba HMO Nevada. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. HMO plans are administered by Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. and underwritten by Matthew Thornton Health Plan, Inc. In 17 southeastern counties of New York: Anthem HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Anthem HealthChoice HMO, Inc. In these same counties Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield HP is the trade name of Anthem HP, LLC. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and its affiliate HealthKeepers, Inc. trades as Anthem HealthKeepers providing HMO coverage, and their service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI) underwrites or administers PPO and indemnity policies and underwrites the out-of-network benefits in POS policies offered by Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare) or Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Corporation (WCIC). Compcare underwrites or administers HMO or POS policies; WCIC underwrites or administers Well Priority HMO or POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.

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Adventure Begins at Your Library

Whether your summer adventures take you inside or out, be sure to make lots of room for the 2024 Summer Reading Challenge, Adventure Begins at your Library, with Henrico County Public Library. This year, we’ve made it super easy to focus on the things that really matter: Books, reading, and library fun! Visit our website HCPL – Summer Reading (henricolibrary.org) for information about how to sign up via Beanstack starting June 1. 

All locations will have lots of programs for all ages to keep the fun going all summer. By reading books and attending these activities, you can earn points to win cool prizes, as well as opportunities to earn entries for our grand prizes. Visit your local library branch for even more adventures and ways to win. You can also follow along with us on social media to participate in our Where’s the Sloth challenge and watch Scooter the Sloth, our Summer Reading mascot, have adventures throughout the county. We look forward to seeing you at the library this summer! This program is made possible by the Friends of Henrico County Public Library and all of our readers.

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Respiratory Virus Guidance from Employee Health

Respiratory viruses, including the viruses responsible for influenza and COVID-19, cause millions of illnesses in the United States every year. While there are many types of viral respiratory illnesses, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and others from increased risk and associated health complications.

Did you know that the CDC has recently updated its guidelines on respiratory illnesses? (While Henrico County does not currently have any required protocol, we recommend that employees follow the directions provided by medical professionals, their primary care physician, and the CDC.) A notable change is that you are now advised to stay home and isolate yourself from others until you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved. After this time, you may return to work but should continue to take standard precautions such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask if applicable for the next five days.

In all cases, preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses can be key. Core prevention strategies include proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, staying up to date on immunizations, prompt treatment, wearing a mask and staying home to prevent the spread.

It is important to stay informed and follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself and others. If you have any specific questions or need more information, feel free to call Employee Health Services at 804-501-1600.

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The 8th Battle for the Fittest Public Safety Division of the Year

From the first hour through the last, the 2024 Public Safety Games truly revealed the heart and character of both sworn and civilian employees within the Police Division, Division of Fire, and the Sheriff’s Office. The 8th annual friendly, fitness competition for the Fittest Public Safety Division of the year turned out to be the greatest yet. This year the Human Resources Department’s Division of Fitness and Wellness provided mobility fitness tools as an incentive to the first 30 registered participants and for all challenge winners.  For five weeks (April 8 to May 10) over 120 different individuals from three public safety agencies participated in various events:

The “Command Staff Challenge” kickoff.  A team from each agency command staff worked together to complete an accuracy “Free Throw Challenge,” a communication “Blinded Maze Challenge,” and a synergy “Tangram Challenge.” The energy from the camaraderie amongst the teams established the atmosphere for the rest of the competition.  Each team enjoyed the challenges, and the Division of Fire led the way with a 132-point lead.

The “Team Challenge”.  Over the 4-week time period of qualifying events, teams of 2 competitors whether male, female, or coed competed against one another in the endurance “Double Deuce” challenge, the work capacity “Yard Work” Challenge, and the strength “Tetrathlon” challenge.  The top ranked teams were then qualified to go head-to-head in a final obstacle course challenge. 

The “Individual Challenge.” Over the same four-week time period, individual competitors in the masters (>45 yo) or youngsters (<45 yo) male or female divisions also completed in one or more of the endurance, work capacity and relative strength challenges. Both Police and Fire earned six 1st place medals between all of the events, including 3 athletes that were recognized as All-Around for placing 1st after completing all 3 events.

The “Mini Events.” We continued the mini events from the 2023 Public Safety Games which included 10 different honor-system challenges designed to boost the agency’s totals without the intimidation of competition. Police produced nearly double the number of points than Fire during this portion this year.

The Final Event & Rally Event. The 2024 Public Safety Games Final event began by recognizing all our amazing athletes who participated and giving medals to those who won first place in their event.  Simultaneously, two different events happened on the final day of the Public Safety Games:

  • This year two coed teams, each from Police and Fire, including Police Officer Scottie Shoemaker & Detective Ninamarie Elliott and Firefighter Wayne Clevert & Lt. Julie Jennings, respectively, faced off in the “Conquer the Hill” challenge for the 2024 bragging rights. After another tough final event was accomplished by both sides, the Division of Fire team Wayne Clevert & Julie Jennings finished first with a time of 28:24. The Division of Police team, Scottie Shoemaker & Ninamarie Elliott finished just a few short minutes after. Congratulations to the Division of Fire for claiming the top team for the sixth time!
  • Our newest addition was the Rally Event! During the rally event we invited all civilian public safety personnel to come out and join their sworn teammates to earn as many points as possible by completing ten different challenges as many times as they could. Many folks from both Police and Fire came out to support their division and each added over 19,000 points! After all the events and the points were tallied, the Division of Fire claimed the title of “The Fittest Public Safety Division” of the year for the 6th time in our Public Safety Games history!

Congratulations to the Division of Fire, and thank you to all of our athletes, civilians, and supporters who came out and made this event the best we ever had.

To view the leaderboard and all the photos from this year’s Public Safety Games, please visit the Fitness and Wellness SharePoint site!

The 2025 Public Safety Games are closer than you think. Our new design will soon be launched with the goal of a yearlong format including various challenges throughout.  More details coming soon!

If you are sworn public safety personnel and are interested in either the Public Safety Games or joining any of our sworn only fitness programs please contact Joshua Gaskins at [email protected] or 501-7218.

For more information about our programs, please view the Fitness and Wellness Division SharePoint or contact any of our trainers!

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