LGBTQ+ Equity: What’s Your Pronoun Presentation 

Southside Behavioral Health is partnering with local groups to host LGBTQ+ Equity: What’s Your Pronoun presentations for interested community members and organizations. By increasing awareness and education around LGBTQ+ health, Southside Behavioral Health hopes to reduce stigma, improve community health outcomes and create safe zones for our local LGBTQ+ populations. This will, in turn, have a positive impact on the regional quality of life in our communities of Mecklenburg, Brunswick, and Halifax, Counties Virginia.

These presentations are led by Wesley Cook, MSW, who also serves on the Roanoke Diversity Board. During his presentation, Wesley goes over LGBTQ+ terminology, trauma, and stereotypes experienced in the LGBTQ+ community. He also works to increase knowledge about working with LGBTQ+ populations, with special attention on how to better support these populations as they come out or experience negative behavior within their communities. 

The first presentation was this past Friday, August 13th at 10:00 AM over Zoom. About 45 virtual participants represented the counties of Halifax, Brunswick, and Mecklenburg. They learned that there are 13,042,000 LGBTQ+ people living in the United States and that 3.9% of all Virginians identify as LGBTQ+. Additionally, they learned how to appropriately respond if an adult or youth “comes out” to them as well as how to respond to bullying or other negative behavior. 

Overall, participants found the training helpful. 92% say that they now better understand LGBTQ+ terminology and gender affirmative language. Some of the feedback received includes the following: “I really thought it was well done- and I have attended several trainings like this but I still learned something!” as well as “I would be interested in attending another training that may include more about clinical practices, and how I as a clinician can support my clients.”

Southside Behavioral Health is confident that this feedback shows an acceptance and openness within the community to learn more about creating safe environments for those who identify as LGBTQ+. For more information on services, please contact Ryan McCoul at To attend our next LGBTQ+ Equity Training on August 30th, register today at