Being Real, Producing Health and Wellness: Ruby Corado and Janet Mock

I am an ally for inclusion. This is part of my journey.

Yesterday myself and colleagues from Kaiser Permanente spent time with two extraordinary women, one who makes Washington, DC her home, Ruby Corado (@CasaRubyDC) and another, Janet Mock (@JanetMock) who makes homes across the nation healthier.

Casa Ruby, where people produce health (and life)

We visited Ruby to present her with our support on behalf of KP-Pride, the LGBTQI multicultural business group of Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States (@KPMidAtlantic)

.. is a multicultural center and safe space serving the Latino LGB & Transgender communities of any race, color, or economic background in Washington, DC, MD, VA Where all are welcome.

Ruby, who is a Washington, DC Sheroes award winner, told us about how she got here, her story, and her vision for the health of the community. We talked about everything from clothing donations to the challenge of sex work (“it takes something out of you”) to taking risks, having confidence, being a leader in one’s own community.

Ruby said she wants Casa Ruby to help people find jobs and productive lives. Denying employment opportunity to someone on the basis of their gender identity is illegal, and yet there are significant job disparities, from the 2011-2012 Washington, DC, Trans Community Needs Assessment:

  • 50% are currently employed
  • 34% work in the underground economy
  • 44% report being denied a job they were qualified for
  • 45% discriminated against at work

The Institute of Medicine euphemistically calls this situation “unexplained differences” in the treatment of people.

Casa Ruby is nestled in the Petworth neighborhood of our nation’s capital, a stone’s throw from one of our most iconic educational institutions, Howard University, a short walk in any direction towards communities that are exploding with innovation and diversity. 

You can tell when someone is making an investment in your learning, even when they don’t have to. Ruby carries this over into her work with the community, who she connects to educational opportunities, with certificates, so that they can have pride in serving others, too.

Janet Mock, Redefining Realness, Martin Luther King Jr., Public Library

Bestselling author Janet Mock was also in Washington, DC, yesterday, for a book reading/signing of “Redefining Realness.” I haven’t read the book yet (but as a good citizen, I checked it out from the library while I was there :)).

She has recently helped educate people across the country what it really means to be an ally, in appearances on the Piers Morgan show and Colbert Report. Being an ally is not easy, but it doesn’t compare at all to being who you are in this community. Piers, let’s talk :).

Besides Janet herself, it was important to see the audience. The ground floor of the library was filled with people. It’s so important to see people in environments where they have control over their destiny in addition to ones where we take away their control (as sometimes happens in health care).

I’m glad Martin Luther King, Jr., was watching over us; the ability of our generation to produce health for all is in our hands.

Photos are below, all creative commons licensed, enjoy.


Ted Eytan, MD