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Sept. 29, 2022

Teaching While Queer: Dr. Lulu

Teaching While Queer: Dr. Lulu

TW/This episode contains a conversation on the topic of suicide in LGBTQIA+ youth. Please proceed as necessary to keep yourself safe. 

In this episode Bryan speaks with Dr. Lulu a San Antonio-based physician, educator, coach and activist. She talks about her experience working as a pediatrician and addressing childhood suicide ideation in LGBTQIA+ youth. 

Information on suicide prevention can be found at www.thetrevorproject.com

Thank you for listening to this episode of Teaching While Queer Podcast! Please help me out by subscribing and reviewing the podcast on your favorite Podcast service.

If you are interested in being a guest on Teaching While Queer please contact me at teachingwhilequeerpodcast@gmail.com.


Teaching While Queer Dr. Lulu

Intro: [00:00:00] Teaching While Queer is a podcast for LGBTQIA+ teachers, administrators, and while anyone who works in academia to share their stories. Hi, my name is Bryan Stanton, a queer theater educator in San Antonio, Texas each week. I bring you stories from around the world centered on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ folks in academia.

Thank you for joining me. Journey and enjoy Teaching While Queer.

Host: Welcome back to another episode of teaching while queer. I am your host, Brian Stanton, and I have the pleasure to speak with Dr. Lulu today. We are heading to me medical school today, folks and I am so excited. Hello, how are you doing?

Dr. Lulu: Hi, Bryan. I'm doing, I guess I'm doing fine. I'm doing great. It's Sunday morning. It's easy, like Sunday morning. 

Host: Yeah. Awesome. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You [00:01:00] are an actual doctor, so that's pretty cool. 

Dr. Lulu: I know. I usually lead with I'm a real doctor and I play one on the radio. so you a physician I'm a 31 year old as a physician, 31 years.

As a physician. I did retire from what I call active duty medicine last year, but I'm still a physician. I still work. Part-time at the border here in, in. Southwest, Texas. I dunno, Antonio. I dunno where it was Southwest, I think. So yeah, I'm still a physician. I just, I'm less where my status scope less these days and more holding my microphone these days.

So yeah, I am, I was born bred, buttered, and slightly burned in Nigeria. Which is one of the two most homophobic countries in Africa, in my opinion. So growing up queer was interesting. And like I tell the parents that I [00:02:00] coached today, I check off two boxes. I. Was your child and today I am you. So when I say stuff I'm talking from lived experience, like I didn't just randomly, just come up with the information that I'm sharing. So I love what I do right now. It's what I define as the automate form of suicide prevention. 

Host: That's awesome. Let's dive into that a little bit. You said that when you're coaching parents you'll tell them that "I was your child and now I am you", so you identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. And so does your child. 

Dr. Lulu: Yes. So that's the best kept secret is I am proudly bisexual, even though I prefer to go with queer. And in the last several weeks, I've founded that I also am demisexual, which is underneath the asexual umbrella. I'm also sapiosexual and I just oh my goodness. Thank you God.

For all of these [00:03:00] information, that's just coming to me right now. I just feel like everyone is questioning it's my. I know Lizzo said everyone is gay. I came up with that. Everyone is questioning because if you just look a little bit deeper, you will see that. Wait, what? That's me too. And that's me too. So I grew up as a bisexual African child.

It was only recently that I settled with the word bisexual. I thought it was lesbian. And I was like no. I love men just as much as I love women. I I have phases obviously like anyone who wants to dabble into that, you know that there are phases there sometimes that you are more attracted to the one than the other.

But anyway, I don't wanna digress too far. And then I also have a child who was assigned a male gender at birth, and today are 24 where proudly transgender woman. So you can imagine being a black mother of a black trans woman in Texas. 

Host: Yeah. That seems [00:04:00] hard. 

Dr. Lulu: But I've been served 95 miles an hour tennis ball by the great tennis ACE herself, Serena Williams and guess what I returned to serve. I returned to serve I'm here for all of it yeah. 

Host: That's awesome. So let's dive back a little bit. We'll go back in time, if you will. And talk a little bit about your experience growing up in Nigeria. You said it is one of the most homophobic places in all of Africa. So can you tell me a little bit more about your experience growing up? 

Dr. Lulu: I said it's one of the two, the second one is Ghana, our next door neighbor. And that's purely my own. That's my own perspective. I don't know any other country because I only know my country. So my father is Nigerian he's Igbo and he is. So if I don't say, if you don't know anything else, the Catholicism aspect already and then Igbo people are extremely [00:05:00] proud. Extremely misogynistic. I got that word, right? 

Host: Yes. 

Dr. Lulu: Oh very male dominant mindset that said. The Igbo woman also has her place in the society. As a first daughter, I have a special place in the society, but no matter how high I was as an first Igbo daughter, which is what we call an ada, that ADA is the first daughter.

So I was the first daughter first granddaughter of a huge homestead. My grandfather had eight wives and you can just imagine how many grandchildren and how many great grandchildren now is the first the ACE. My dad is the first son. I'm the first daughter, no matter how high I am placed, I'm still beneath the man.

No matter what, the Igbo custom Igbo tradition does not measure up the woman [00:06:00] close to the man. So that said, you can imagine with that mindset and the Catholic sprinkling of hot sauce to now tell my dad at 16 gingerly that I like girls. what get me behind me state I'm here. But anyway, so my dad was like, no, in all fairness to him, he was like, no, that's a phase darling.

Next it was a, so when I grew up and never talked about it again, until I turned 42 and I met my ex-wife and the rest is history, as far as my father goes and growing up. So naturally I was confused. I was perplexed. I struggle with F A G, which is funny that he spells that. Yeah. F A G and you can put an S if you like, but fear, anxiety, and guilt.

And then the S is about my sexuality. So just F A G S you know what that spells and I like that because it reminds me of it centers me. [00:07:00] So I struggle with those four, those three things. And there was other things, a shame if you wanna put the other S is shame, actually. So F a G S spells fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame about my other S my sexuality.

And I just, went into that space of doubt, maybe. Maybe my dad is right. Maybe not because I was also attracted to men, which brings me to the topic of bisexuality and the fact that as a teacher, in that realm today, I just won the award for diversity and inclusion by the San Antonio business journal and the San Antonio LGBT chamber.

Namely the advocate of the year, this year. So I must be doing something right. So now that I know what I know about bisexuality, I know that 57% of adults, L G B T members identify as bisexual. Now that's only those who raise their hands want two because of the uniqueness of [00:08:00] bisexuality, many will go about their lives living.

It hetero heterosexual life. And I don't use, I don't ever say lifestyle. Lifestyle is a haircut. It's your nail. Polish is the way you dress. That's not a lifestyle. This is your life. So they can go undetected as heterosexuals because of the dynamic of bisexuality. . Like I said, everyone is questioning.

That's a global term that I came up with. Just that se that sentence. It's not a rule, but I like it. I think it's true. It's my experience. I know it's anecdotal, but it is. So I am the queer child that I coach the parents about. So I don't know how much your, what people say. Podcast. But I do know that as a pediatrician, I worked only with parents and their children.

 So naturally when I grew up and decided to become a live coach and get certified, it was a natural [00:09:00] progression to become a parent coach. It's hello. I was already doing this as a pediatrician, as a consultant. Why not take it to the next level and coach the same people. However, I settled with parents of LGBTQ kids specifically because before the lockdown, I had a private practice where I only saw high risk suicidal youth. Aged eight through 24 majority. I don't know what 80% is, but that's majority. So majority of my patients, maybe even 100% of. But I don't wanna say that, but almost every patient I saw struggling with suicidal was in the queer space.

Almost every patient that I saw now, almost every last one of those patients [00:10:00] struggled with one thing, acceptance by the family and by family. It's predominantly. I want people to notice my choice of words by family is predominantly their parents. Of course, it could be grandpa and grandma and uncle buck.

I know, but one of the things I tell my parents is you're not the most important person in your child's life. You're not, I know we think we are. Your child is always going to be the most important person in their life. You are always gonna be the most important person in your life, but you are the most influential person in your child's life.

They're different. Yep. And as a result, you must be aware of what you say, what you do, which all come from, how you [00:11:00] think. What once I settled on that mindset shift, I was like, Lord Jesus, thank you. I'm gonna quit medicine so I can do this. So that's why I said at the beginning, it is the ultimate form of suicide prevention.

Get it now get the con okay. Because why would any child choose to jump off the ledge? If life is good? We studies show that in the last 12 months, up to 47% of LGBTQ plus kids have seriously considered suicide. I don't know. Maybe we should give a trigger warning. It is September in a few days, suicide awareness month.

So this is actually what the doctor ordered, like literally speaking. Okay. So why will a child who is living happily living nada loca, make that decision? And while it is easy for people to Chuck it up to mental illness and depression, [00:12:00] I always ask, have you asked a child what happened? Because at six months old, there was a happy go.

Lucky baby. Maybe at six years old, it was a happy go. Lucky child. Why at 16, they wanna jump what happened? You can give all the antidepressants you want, but studies have shown that in the last five years, prescription strength, antidepressant, this person use has more than quadrupled suicide rates have continued to.

So allow me to ask you the question. Where's the what's what's wrong with that math and as a teacher, let's go there. So numbers don't mind. It's not Dr. Lulu's. Random thought process. You just do your research. That's what they say in America, right? This is not Dr. lulu.com. This is what I have on my first Ted talk.

The numbers show that [00:13:00] suicide rates are soaring in 2019. That number was 40% of queer youth had seriously considered suicide in 2021. That number was 42%. today is 47. Please tell me why. And so it's never because the child is LGBT cuz that's what people want you to believe. Yes, of course. You're gonna be suicidal because you chose that lifestyle.

And for that, I bet to say who in their right mind. In today's world, we'll say I would like gay with fries on the side as a choice, this world today. So I love that I've been chosen to this, to do this work. I'm M equals one. I'm the one black Nigerian physician, female mom [00:14:00] also queer. Doing this work that I'm doing, and then forget that I even have a transgender child.

Hello. And bring it home. So I don't know your question, but I hope my answer touched on it a little bit. 

Host: Yeah, that was fantastic. I think there's a lot to dive in there and I think the work that you're doing is so important. I actually am a pretty big advocate of making sure that there are brave and safe spaces in high school places for children to be themselves. And really that's for everybody. But what I'm struggling with as an educator in the public school system is that there is this pushback about Cishet children feeling uncomfortable while trans and queer students might feel unsafe. And so that's been a struggle. The last couple of weeks. There's been some stuff arising at my previous school district that I just left. And I'm so glad to be gone because it is, it's getting increasingly more toxic and I [00:15:00] fear for students there.

Dr. Lulu: I love that you chose uncomfortable versus unsafe. I. I love I'm a word Smith. I dig deep into words. I swim in words and it's funny. Every time I hear something, I say, that's the title of a book? Oh, that's the title of a blog or that's, I should blog about that. Or I should tweet that. I love words. Ironically, I have a sister who did fine arts in school and she says she thinks in color. And I think in words, so I love that you chose unsafe versus uncomfortable because I always go back to the parent who tells me my child wasn't gay when they were, in elementary school when they got to high school or when they got to college, they became gay. And I always say yes. And if your child hanging out with gay kids makes them gay than maybe let's put them to hang out with heterosexual kids and then they'll become heterosexual. It's not a thing that is catching. Like you don't acquire gayness, you don't and I love that you mentioned [00:16:00] cishet ideology in my, TEDx talk. One of the lines I use is what if we abolished? No, I think I said, what if we eliminated CIS heterosexual ideologies, like gender assignments at birth and just allow kids to be themselves like that line. I know it's controversial to those who choose to make it controversial, but we do assign gender at birth fact.

It is a cishet ideology fact. , what if?

Host: Honestly, and it's been around for millennia. Not, I don't really think that's true, cuz I do think in ancient times that there was much more queerness happening. It's just the onslaughts of patriarchal Christianity across the world. 

Dr. Lulu: Christianity let's go there. Yes. 

Host: That has led this way. And I'm not saying that all Christians are bad. I know very great Christian people who actually [00:17:00] follow the teachings of Jesus in a way that is...

Dr. Lulu: Inclusive. 

Host: Yes, that is inclusive because I read the Bible when I was a kid, I was not I was not forced into religion. My parents gave me choice. They didn't teach us religion. My mom sometimes regrets that, but I think that it saved my life. Because I told her, I don't know that I could have survived a Catholic upbringing. And so I did my own research and I went to church camp when I was a teenager to find out, what is this all about? Is it for me? It wasn't, but I don't think that everything that was being taught was innately, discriminatory. Yeah. And it's so interesting to see how, even in the last 10, 15 years it's gotten. So it has to be this way or that way. 

Dr. Lulu: Yes. Yes. And I love that you chose the word Not all, no, rather the sentence, not all Christians are bad. I don't even like the word. I don't even include the [00:18:00] word bad. I just know that we all have our own faculty and we all have our own agency to choose. And I like that because I used to teach Bible study when I was a younger version of me and St. Vincent to Paul. I was a Bible school teacher. So I've read the Bible just like you.

And I know I always end up. Two things. We only were given two commandments. They sum they summarized it all to two. And one of the questions I always ask people is that, can you tell me what were the criteria that Jesus gave for the neighbor? And then they look at me and they're like, what do you mean?

I said, "Jesus said, I want of all those commandments. I want you to just summarize it down to two. The first one is love God." And so we don't talk about that because hopefully you love God, but what about the part of loving your neighbor? I want you to qualify the neighbor. Did he say you're black neighbor? [00:19:00] Did he say you're a white neighbor? Did he say you're a tall neighbor? Did he say you're quick? No, he just said your neighbor. Who added the othering? We did. We are the ones that introduced the fact that if you're Jewish, you can't come to this church. If you're black, you can't come to this church. I have I'm Catholic and I have been to mass when my baby was seven it's frozen in time, we walked into the pew, sat down, the white family, got up and left at the Catholic church and sat somewhere.

So don't tell me, don't tell me that we don't have hateration in the church. Of course, it's not everybody in the church. Cause we sat there. Another white people came and sat and mass went on. So it's an individual thing. It's not a thing. It's a person thing. Sadly, people are gullible they believe what their pastor says or whoever they [00:20:00] believe it.

And then it becomes a guiding principle for their. That's my leadership. I agree with that. Let's talk a little bit about your teaching. You said that you've taught Bible study. You are now a coach, like a life coach for parents, which I think is fantastic. And there's so many, there's so many things like people think teacher and they're like, oh, high school, middle school, elementary school, but there are so many realms of teaching out there.

Host: So let's dive a little bit just into your teaching experience and how being a queer person informs how you work with students and their parents. If you have to interact with their parents. 

Dr. Lulu: Yes, I love it. So I am definitely an unusual teacher with regards to that. People forget that as a physician, I teach. That's what I do. People forget that as a consultant pediatrician, that's what I did. Ma'am your child has strip throat. That's a topic. And so it's caused by bacteria. That's the content and the treatment is penicillin. That is, the medicine. So [00:21:00] it is teaching on a daily basis. We're gonna take some medicine for fever.

That's teaching you need 200 milligrams or whatever that's teaching that's transfer of information is a definition of teaching in Dr. Lulu's book. From the person who has information to the person who maybe has less of it, maybe not none of it at all, or none of it. So that's what I did my whole entire life in the consulting room for 30 years, I was teaching and guiding and informing and correcting. Okay, And adjusting. That's what I did. I'm learning cuz a teacher knows that they're learning twice when they teach. This is not Dr. Lulu. This is not rocket science. This is as better dad. Like those same Spanish . So I taught parents for 30 years. And then in my latter years, when I joined the air force as a Lieutenant Colonel and command.

I taught my troops. I taught the medical students at the medical school. I taught them [00:22:00] medicine and I taught them life. And you know what? I was nominated two times for best teacher of the year. And the word was teacher of the year teacher of the year. I didn't win. I always lost to this other gay friend of mine. I don't wanna call his name, , but I was nominated as teacher of the year, two times. So even as a physician, I was teaching. And then I was sta I actually requested when I joined the air force at 42, I requested to be placed in a, to be stationed at a place where they had a medical school because of my love for teaching.

So I was handpicked and hand selected and hand placed. At Lackland because I requested a medic, what do you call it? GRE program, graduate, residency education or something like that. That's the name? So I was a teacher as a medical in the me, in the medical school. And then when I got done and I decided to leave medicine and become a life coach, another thing I'm doing is teaching.

Think, think about your [00:23:00] child's. I don't know, basketball coach. What are they doing? They're guiding, they're informing, they're correcting, right? They're holding space. They're letting you shine. The coach never plays the game in that sense. Same thing as a life coach, I'm not. Making any decision for you when you are playing the game, whether soccer or football or basketball, whatever your coach trusts, that you will make the right decision and make the right play.

Now you discuss the play, right? So I love using coaching as a best because people understand that life coaching is still a little new for some people, but I say, okay, forget the Lord. Insert basketball, and then they get it. Who makes the play ultimately in the game, the player, you, the parent, another P right, [00:24:00] or the queer student or the queer team who I coach, whoever you make the decision.

So my job is to hold space for you, show you a mirror of the way your brain. Is making decisions and how you came to where you are now, which is called stuckness. You're not gonna come to me if you're not stuck. Usually they're stuck because they're having a hard time deciding to accept their kid. That's really what it is, but that's what it is to the outside world.

However, when I come inside, cuz I'm an insider and I say, what you're struggling with really is acceptance of self. Your struggle truly is how to accept yourself as a parent of a queer child. That's it. And once we get you to self accept, your kid is fine. so I love it. I love what I do. I'm passionate about it.

I feel like I'm painting a canvas every time I talk about it. Like it's BU I love the choice [00:25:00] of words. I love. It's just amazing. And I'm just so thankful I've been chosen to this and I answered the call cuz many called and even of those two who were chosen, they had to say, here I am, Lord send me even amongst those who were chosen, you still have to accept.

They say your mission. And Max from 007. Yeah. Your mission. If you choose to accept it is. Go to wherever, I love that term. So my, I am Max and you are 007. So your mission, if you choose to act, is it Max five? I forget her name is if you choose to accept, you still have to choose to accept it. Yourself as a parent of coach and then come out of your own closet because what parents do when their kids tell them is they now replace the kids. In the closet, they don't wanna talk about it. They shut it. I don't wanna discover, I don't wanna talk about it's all about. . [00:26:00] 

Host: Yep. I agree with that. And there's a lot that you said in there, and I also am a huge proponent of words, but like your sister, I'm a fire fine arts person. So I see things in images. But I see the background. I see it in your background has paintings. Yeah. I teach theater. And what I love about this is that here, we're talking about what is, what does it mean to be a teacher? And I always go with my students down the path of what does it mean to do theater? Because my experience was working in theme parks working in live musical productions and whatnot. I've done a lot of varying theater.

Dr. Lulu: Mad oonna, Madonna. Yeah. 

Host: Madonna is theater, like everything. And so it's funny to me because I think that for me, theater is everything. I include football games in theater and basketball games, because you've got a halftime show. You've got special lights that are used. You've got announcers making voices. You've got a team on the field doing certain plays, it's their scenes

Dr. Lulu: And you've got the mascot also.

Host: Yeah, [00:27:00] exactly and the cheerleaders.

Dr. Lulu: You've got the cheerleaders. I was gonna say, you've got the cheerleaders doing the little Rockettes things. That's, and, but that's because you are a creative, so you see that you see, and I used to talk about it when I was a physician. Which I also got many awards as a physician for the same thing teaching. I got a lot of patience cuz you explain it to me like no other doctor did. So I've always known, I've been born to use my words.

Everything is coming full circle for me now at 53, I'm realizing I was born to do this and the words just come to me, like people are like, oh my God, the way you explain it. I said because I've leaned in. Yeah. To. Project that I've been given to manage I've leaned in. And so the words just come from wherever I can pick up a ball.

And I talk about it yesterday. I was giving a talk and I picked up a flask, this flask. Okay this is a, I'm just gonna pick up my candle. And I was trying to explain pronouns and [00:28:00] I asked the gentleman, I said, if you saw this candle lying on the root side, what would you. You would say someone lost? He said their candle.

I said, stop there. Someone lost their candle. They/them, their pronoun singular. And he got it and said, people. Because it push. Why they/them it's not listen at yourself. If you found my cell phone on the street, you would say, listen, oh my goodness, somebody lost their cell phone. You would say without even thinking about it.

So why, when your child tells you that their pronoun is they them, do you now push back, that it's all in perspective and thought processes. And so I'm just proud and thankful that I've been given this amazing gift. Explain things concrete, like to the granular version so that even the five year old will be a, I get it.

And if you say you don't get it, then you [00:29:00] are now it's about you having a block somewhere. So now it's for us to figure out where did that block come from? And usually it's just childhood socialization and you are right when you said in the old days, in my language. Our pronouns are only, they/them/theirs, indigenous, most indigenous language are non-binary , it's not even like a new concept.

I put two and two together. I was like, Hey, do they hit me? I screamed. I said, I called my mother. I said, do you know that we only use, they/them pronouns? She was like what do you mean? I. And I said it to her. I said "o" means he, and it means she, and it means they, and I said, ::gasp::. 

Host: That's wild and so great. I just wish for the world that we had more people connected to their indigenous roots, who would be able to explain this kind of stuff, [00:30:00] because I really do think that a lot of it comes down to Western sentiment. Western being, European, because that's where the colonization is really strong.

Dr. Lulu: Yeah. Yes. . Yes. Cause ancient, Igbo women took wives it's in the Harvard journals, the Harvard Chronicles, the Harvard library that ancient Igbo women, my ancestors women. Took wives. Now that's a fact, however, patriarchy will not let anybody look deeper into why they took the wives. Maybe they took the wife to their husband. I don't care. The reason we know the what yep. The wives and you can, and then when you go in, cuz my book called. My book that's coming up called "Invited in". I actually went and looked into dozens of African [00:31:00] countries who have a history of same gender, loving, relationships. And, the ancient drawings in Tanzania, they showed pictures of male, male to male unions. These are things that are, that have been there. And one group of humans came. No it's bad. The one that is easier, easily accessible to us as Americans in quotes is the two S the two spirits. Yeah. Two spirits. I was actually just talking last night. Exactly. That's down the street from us in Hawai'i. They have two spirits. And then what happened? The colonialist came and said, no, drive them out. They're evil. They're bad. But they were the teachers, they were the healers. They were the seers. Yep. Just because a concept is difficult for you to grasp. Doesn't make it wrong. Doesn't make it incorrect. My grandfather was not a Christian.

My grandfather never set foot in the, in, in a school yet. [00:32:00] He was a traditional bone setter, a traditional orthopedist. I got my traits from him in my fingerprints. I was a doctor. From my fingerprint, cuz we believe in that we believe in reincarnation and the lady that I reincarnated as her children will see me when I was a child and they'll be like, oh mom, I'm like, what's that?

They're like, mom they'll bring me gift them. Gimme fruits because they believe that I came back as their mother. I am their mother reincarnated. And but this is real authentic culture. I cannot toss that away. No, it's too. Power is beyond it's bigger than me. How dare I try to toss it away? This is who I am.

This is my kids' legacy. So it's powerful. And therefore there's so much more, I don't know. I don't know if I'm happy, you don't teach English because it teach art, which is great because the English language is so limited. [00:33:00] Yes. At the end of my TEDx talk, Isay, "Je voix merci".. That means I thank you very much, but really it's just thank you in English, but it's "Je voix merci"..

It has "muchísimas gracias de me corazón" means thank you so deeply for my heart, but in English, it's just thank. My language is "Ndi be m ekene unu", my people. I thank you. Let me say, I see you. I respect you. I give you honor. I give you praise, but in English, it's just thank you. So it's important that we who are the last of the moans, the last.

Of the last frontier of this, my kids speak a little bit of my language, but I'm sad to say that they don't get it. They didn't, they are not raised in Nigeria, not for any fault of theirs, but me as a quintessential Nubian God. I [00:34:00] must bring that, which I have to everything I do. So even when I talk to parents of queer kids, I'm bringing this information to the table.

They're mesmerized, they're amazed. They're like, wow. But really what I want you to do is recognize in yourself, the greatness that all relies within you, and that you can accept yourself first and then your child, because I'm about suicide prevention in your kid. So I'll do whatever it. To get you to get it. If it means reaching deep down into my own culture, my language, which has no, he him or she, her pronouns. 

Host: Gosh, there's so much unpack there that I absolutely love. Just one side note. I study theater. I'm a theater teacher and I'm getting my master's degree right now. This summer I saw a play that was written by written and performed by an indigenous woman.

Who is. Mohegan and so like she's sharing her culture and what is it, what it's like to be Mohegan after [00:35:00] "the last of the Mohegan," and so that, that. Like your conversation just resonated with me on that level because I'm connecting two stories. Now I'm connecting your your heritage and her heritage and just being like, boom, this is what I want. This is, I want all these voices coming together. And then there are two things that have come to mind that I kind wanna address one. I love that you are focused on acceptance. There was a long time where the educational field was a proponent of teaching tolerance. And it just rubs me the wrong way because I can tolerate the heat right now. I can tolerate eating this food that I don't really want to, but I shouldn't have to tolerate a person. 

Dr. Lulu: I love it. 

Host: It, it seems to me like tolerance is a negative. Like I just putting up with it. So the fact that you're focused on acceptance, I think is beautiful because that's what I started telling teachers. Take down the teaching tolerance poster and teach acceptance. You're seeing the person you're saying this is who they are and that you [00:36:00] don't have to have any opinion about it. 

Dr. Lulu: Exactly. I am here for all of that. And here's what my eldest child who is my transgender kiddo said to me, she said, mom, and I know, you wanna teach about acceptance. This is the smartest human being I've ever met. And not because I'm her mother. This is a full scholarship to Stanford kid. Okay. So just take that just right there. Just, I'm not making it up, but she said, mom, I know your whole, everything is about acceptance, but really what it should be is about affirmation.

Host: Oh, it's the next level. Whoa, absolutely. 

Dr. Lulu: And this is the power of teaching. To also know that you are also a lifelong learner and a student, and the fact that this child owns and understands herself so much, she was like, I know you wanna teach about acceptance. I know, but really. The next level up is really affirmation.

I [00:37:00] had to go look at the difference in the definitions. They are close, but not the same, just like importance and influential are close, but not the same. When you look at the context, when you really deep dig deep, that they're two, two different things. Acceptance is oh, I wanna wear this dress.

Okay. Sure. Let's go. Affirmation is I wanna wear. You look beautiful in the dress affirmation is I want to wear this dress. How do you feel when you wear the dress? I feel fantastic. Then you are fantastic. Affirmation. Acceptance is I wanna wear this dress. Okay. Sure. Let's go versus rejection.

I wanna wear this dress. No, go take it off. You see the differe. And then tolerance would be, I wanna wear this dress, fine. I, tolerance is I want, I wanna wear this dress. I don't care. Thank you. Yeah. I don't care. Exactly. Tolerance is. I want hear this. I love it. And this is four words we could do a whole, we could write a whole skits because I'm also an indie actress.

I know you probably didn't know this. I've been. I've been in my first movie, my first short [00:38:00] film. And, you've arrived when you play yourself in a movie . So I played my own self in a movie recently this summer, this past summer. And so these four words is a whole blog post. You see how I love talking about words is a acceptance versus as affirmation versus tolerance versus rejection.

Rejection is go change. That dress tolerance is I don't care. Accent says, okay, let's go. Affirm. Affirmation is you look amazing in it. What Dr. NuLu you blow my mind every day, girl. I love that my mind, but that's what I said by when you now understand what you are placed on this earth to do the words, just come to you.

Look at that. Nice rhyme. The words, just come to you. Once you accept what you're put on this earth to. .

Host: I love that so much everything you just said is just so powerful. And I think there's immense power in words. And I try to teach that to my own children because they'll say things and I'm like, [00:39:00] yeah, but do you understand where that comes from? Do you understand where these things are? What that word means and the power that it has or there are other words that may be more powerful for explaining. As a theater teacher, I've been really enraptured with Brene Brown' new book "Atlas of the Heart", because it's all about diving into emotions. And like really building a stronger vocabulary for emotion. And as an actor, you need to know more than I'm mad or angry. I'm. Content versus happy. Like you need to have a deeper understanding of emotion. And I think it's so powerful and that's where the words and definitions of words are immensely powerful as far as becoming strong humans.

Dr. Lulu: And I think to put in perspective, in context, English words, which again, I beg to say are not enough. I agree with you, but I do agree with you. I always say don't pray for happiness. Pray for contentment. I am the one I've always, I'm so happy that you said [00:40:00] that content is deeper than happy is deep. The next level. Then happy. But yeah, I love me some Brene brown. Matter of fact, I have a TEDx talk. My third TEDx talk is titled vulnerability and parenting. How to embrace vulnerability as the key tool in your parenting tool box. And this is again, because I'm a pediatrician. I work with parents my whole life, and I'm a parent coach.

So you see everything ties in and I'm just so thankful that I've gotten that I've lived long enough. When I was, when I started to retire, I call my father. And I said, dad, I wanna retire your name. My name was Dr. Umeh for a long as a pediatrician and Dr. Umeh and my dad said "you have earned it." He said, you have reached the pinnacle of your role as a physician.

You have my blessings. I wasn't taking [00:41:00] permission. I was telling, and my dad was affirming. now had my dad said why do you want to, maybe he will have planted doubts and I'd be like, oh yeah, I don't know. He didn't say that. He said you are enough. You have done what you want to do as a physician.

Now, almost every doctor that I told. Have you lost your mind, right? 

Host: Are you gonna lose that notoriety? 

Dr. Lulu: Why would you wanna leave medicine? But in, in more perspective, why would you wanna leave 300,000 plus a year to make less than 75,000? Cause that's all I make right now as a retired physician who is on disability from the military.

And just trying to build my business as a life coach. But guess what? That's not stopping me because I know that I. Fully in what I'm doing that ultimately once I can help enough people like [00:42:00] Zig Ziglar said the money will pour in and I'll be like, and one of the things I teach is what if it's turns out better than you ever freaking imagined?

What if on Monday I'm gonna be having an interview with Oprah. When I was a child in Nigeria, I watched Oprah and I declared them. I'm gonna meet this woman. I wanna be on her show. I have three vision boards. My third vision board only has one picture on it. Oprahs. My first vision board was made in June of 2019.

I can bring it and show it to you. Now it has Lady O and it said all magazine in it. June 18, 2019 or something like that. My second one has Oprah in it pointing at [00:43:00] me, me saying Oprah. Now, I don't know how it happened. That's the thing about vision boards, worry about the, how, just know the what, but I'm going to be interviewed by Oprah daily tomorrow at 2:30 PM central standard time. That's not an accident. That is me believing deeply in what I was put on this earth to do, and the universe serving it to me on a platter. And so as a parent let me bring it to you, cuz it's not about me. I wanna bring it to you. I want you to ask yourself, what do you want?

And by then, I what relationship do you want with your child? I say that because while your child might stumble while your child might even fall on their face from your rejection, still, they rise still. [00:44:00] They find that tribe still, they survive in spite of your reject. And so the decision is yours.

Are you gonna make their life a little bit easier and supports them and affirm them and accept them? Or are they going to stumble a little bit, but there's Dr. Lulu out there and there's Bryant out there and there are other members of their tribe and the other members of the village that it's gonna take to not only because people Don, oh, it takes a village to raise a child.

It takes a village to raise a child, but I said it also takes a village to save a. And we will come and we will raise your child up. And now you end up being like my ex-husband who my own eldest child has completely excommunicated and guess who is thriving? My kiddo, because the studies have shown that if you have just one single trusted adult in your circle, you will thrive [00:45:00] even as a suicidal.

You will try because suicide rates drop to 7% just by having one supportive parent. So the decision you have to make is are you going to be the parent that's going to hold your child. And proudly say, I am a proud mama or Papa bear. Those are the deep questions to ask yourself while parents are very busy saying I don't want, you know them to be bullied.

I don't want the world is cruel. I don't want, I don't know. They're gonna find someone to those are all valid questions, but the most important question is, are you going to be their first bully?

Are you gonna ask yourself, what does my child need from me today right now? How can I make their burden lighter? Are you gonna ask yourself those questions? Because that's where the chicken cross the road. That's where I have the [00:46:00] rubber meets the pavement that at that hinge point, and that's where I.

Because they say, if you could have done it yourself, you will have done it already. That's where you get a mentor. That's where you get a teacher. That's where you get a coach, someone who has lived through it, it doesn't get any better than that. I'm not just tossing out words. I struggled my own child said, mom, our home was mainly transf phobic.

When I was growing up. My child said that to me. My child said, mom, this is not about you. The first words in my. Mom, this is not about you. I made it about me by saying, what is my church gonna say, what is my mom gonna say? What are my friends gonna say? What am I what I made it about me. I centered it on me.

And that's why I'm preaching inviting in as opposed to coming out. I don't talk about coming out anymore. [00:47:00] Inviting in is about allyship. It's about. Earning your invitation from the queer child who's already, who was born that way and you assigned a gender to them. That is all so powerful. I just wanna take a minute and thank you for your time today.

Host: This has been a really fantastic conversation and it's gone in lots of different directions that I just love that there's your perspective that gets to be shared with everybody. So thank you for being here today. And I am looking forward to the Oprah interview. I will definitely be. Finding that once it is published and checking out your Ted talk, do you want to tell the folks where they can find you social media and whatnot?

Dr. Lulu: Yes, absolutely. So I am the quintessential Renaissance woman because I tell people that I'm a doctor and I do play one on radio. [00:48:00] So I have a radio show called the parent hour. You can hear on KLMO 98.9 FM and 92.1 FM every Saturday morning, allas ocho de la manaña. It's live. And I also stream it live on my TikTok on social media.

I'm on TikTok @Drlulu. I'm one of many Dr. Lulus, but I'm the only one who looks like me. I'm also on Instagram @DrLuluTalkRadio. I'm. On my YouTube, where I try to upload as many of my videos, as I can remember to on as Dr. Lulu talk radio, I am also on LinkedIn as Dr. Lulu, which in Dr. Lulu, maybe because Dr. Lulu is my registered trademark. So really if you type Dr. Lulu right now, I am the first four hits. I'm so proud of that. , I'm so proud of that. So if you type Dr. Lulu, you will find you find all that Dr. Lulu's, but I'm the. Who's talking about what I'm talking about. So just type [00:49:00] to Lulu LGBT things that you'll pull everything about me up, including my TEDx talk.

My second TEDx talk is gonna be recorded October 1st. So I'm really excited. It's titled rethinking the closet coming out versus coming out LGBTQ plus versus inviting.

Outro: Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of teaching wild queer. If you haven't done so already, please consider subscribing on your favorite RSS feed and sharing the podcast with your friends and family. New episodes will come out every other week during. School year. If you're interested in joining us on the teaching podcast, please email us teaching podcast.

Have a great day.[00:50:00] 

Dr. LuluProfile Photo

Dr. Lulu

Coach, Doctor, Educator

Dr. Lulu is a queer Nigerian-born, pediatrician, mom of a transgender daughter, and award-winning LGBTQ* and D.E.I.B advocate.

She works to eliminate youth suicide, particularly amongst LGBTQ+ youth, by coaching parents, caregivers, extended family members (and the entire village it takes to raise and save a child) struggling with acceptance and support of queer kids.

She speaks on parenting, LGBTQ* issues, and youth suicide prevention. She has been interviewed by Oprah Daily, CBS This Morning with Gayle King, and numerous local, national and international news outlets.

She is the host of the Suicide Pages podcast, The Pride Corner podcast, the Qweer Wednezday Wizdom talk show, The Parent Hour radio show, and the Parents of Queers podcast.

She is the bestselling author of "How to Teach Your Children About Racism, A Teen's Life, and How to Raise Well-Rounded Children. Her latest books are anthologies: The Warrior Women Project and The Mom's Truth. Her next book: “Invited In, How to Become the Parent Your LGBTQ* Child Needs”, is due out late Fall 2022.