Work That Matters

A Message for My Younger Self: Team Members Reflect for Pride Month

In honor of Pride Month, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles asked some of our LGBTQ+ team members: “What message would you give your younger self?” or “What message would you give to young LGBTQ+ people today?” Their responses are collected here.

Katelin Eden Dukes

Change Management Adoption Specialist 
2 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my younger self:

What message would I give to my younger self? I’d say, learn and appreciate your community's history. This is a month to be humbled and proud of those who came before us and of those we work to serve today. Don't be afraid if your path doesn't look like anyone else's path. You will get where you need to—there is no wasted time, only lessons.

Kelly Hobbs, RN

Registered Nurse, Behavioral Health Clinic 
4 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for young LGBTQ+ people today:

You are loveable and worthy, exactly as you are. I lived in fear for a long time because I was scared to be different and love the same gender. So, I hid my true self … and in that dishonesty was a lot of sadness and loneliness. When I learned to love myself enough to come forward with my truth, despite what others might think of me, I felt free and truly happy. Embrace who you are and who you love. Being true to yourself is the best gift we can ever give ourselves, and the best gift we can give to those around us. You never know whose life you may touch by simply living your truth and being yourself. You’re MORE than enough and worthy of ALL the love and support this world has to offer you. Be exactly who you are and SHINE BRIGHT!

Brian Michalko

Coordinator, Foundation Operations 
2.5 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for young LGBTQ+ people today:

If I could offer young LGBTQ+ people today a message it would be “thank you.” I came out relatively late, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the bravery of younger queer individuals rejecting heteronormativity and redefining what it means to be visibly LGBTQ+ in schools, workplaces and media. I was inspired by the platform and influence that young queer artists have in the mainstream right now to work through my fear and come out to my family. It’s incredible watching community spaces form online through social media to pass historic knowledge down to the next generation and challenge the beliefs about LGBTQ+ norms that I held for so long.

Matt Semler

Manager, Corporate Partnerships, CHLA Foundation 
2 years at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


A message for my younger self:

I’d say two simple things to my younger self: worry less about what others think and be kind to yourself. I didn’t come out until after my undergraduate college years because I was worried about how others might view me. I was constantly worried about being different. A fellow Pittsburgh native, Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers), said, “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” I wish I could have imparted that wisdom early on to my younger self to simply be honest and true to you. Mr. Rogers always said, ‘be kind’ and I think we forget to be kind to ourselves. Every LGBTQ+ youth out there today needs to hear it: Be kind to yourself, be gentle on yourself and know that even when times are tough, because they may be, kindness to yourself will help spark kindness in the world.