“Pride is so much more than just June for me”




Rikki Clark, who recently gave birth to twins, teaches inclusion and acceptance as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a medical assistant.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior writer, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Rikki Clark sat listening in the quiet auditorium as Taryn Fledderman talked about identity, acceptance and love.

Fledderman, a Riley Children’s Health social worker, was speaking at a Rainbow Read in celebration of Pride Month.

“Build a community for your kids that will unconditionally love them, letting them know they have multiple safe people,” Fledderman said.

While people are beginning to have more open minds, the social worker said, the trick is to encourage them to open their hearts as well.

For Clark, who identifies as gender queer and uses “they, them” pronouns, it was an important message.

The 27-year-old certified medical assistant in Riley’s nephrology clinic recently gave birth to twin boys.

Clark and Brandon holding their children, Emmett and Emerson

Emmett and Emerson, born at Riley’s Maternity Tower, are now 3 months old, and Clark wants to make the world a safer place for them to grow up.

“Pride is so much more than just June for me. Pride is who I am, and it is who I want my kids to be – to be able to have pride in who their parents are.”

Clark is married to Brandon (he/him), a trans-masculine man, so the journey of becoming parents was difficult and expensive, they said.

“We hold pride in that too. We were able to say, this is what we want. It’s my life, it’s my family, and it’s my future. That’s what Pride is to me.”

Clark said that for several years they didn’t feel like they had a community because they were not involved in a lot of the activities or advocacy work of the LGBTQ+ community.

That changed when Clark began working at Eskenazi Health as a medical assistant with the gender health program.

“There I connected with the community and dove deep into it. That’s when I took off. I started educating small businesses and schools on terminology the community uses, what to say and what not to say.”

Coming to IU Health has presented more opportunities to be involved, including with the IU Health Pride affinity group.

“I love IU Health, and there’s obviously a lot of work that needs to be done statewide, but it is trying,” Clark said. “Leadership is trying. That’s what matters."

Clark hopes to someday work with the organization’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team “so I can continue to grow where IU Health is headed.”