Interview with Singer/Songwriter Dominique Morgan and Sana Goldberg, RN
Portraits by Anna Finocchiaro
Sana: What would you say are a few of the most impactful moments of your upbringing?
Dominque: I was raised by two parents who met in the eighth grade and married right out of high school. They spent 27 years married before my father passed away in 2000. When you grow up seeing that sort of fairy tale love you spend the rest of your life trying to recreate it. Let’s just say it rarely happens. I also came out at the age of 14 – so it was tapping to my identity at such a young age, I think, that gave me confidence my other peers did not have.
Sana: So, we both grew up in Omaha, Nebraska in the 90’s. What was your experience like coming out there?
Dominque: I was a survivor of child molestation at the age of five and spent a few years after wondering if the feelings I had towards males were based on that experience. Then I reached a moment where I realized it wasn’t just physical attraction – I emotionally was attracted to men. I had an uncle who was closeted most of his life and I watched him suffer. I knew I didn’t want to live that way. Coming out gave me this foundation to fight on… it also opened me up to what it meant to be queer in this world and the struggles we endure for it. It taught me to love myself early on in life.
Meet people where they are (in life and in location) and give them the same care you would give them if they walked in with diamonds and furs
Sana: How do you think it shaped your understanding of health (health in a broad sense… mental, physical, spiritual)?
Dominique: My thought? Secrets destroy. Even if you are the only one that keeps the secret. Your mental and emotional health will always suffer when you carry baggage like that.
Sana: I’ve noticed patients tend to share their secrets with nurses. This abstract sense of trust is bestowed upon us, sometimes before we’ve even done anything to deserve it. What have been some of your experiences with nurses?
Dominique: I think the fondest memories of nurses in general were the school nurses I encountered in public school. The nurse’s office always seemed like this safe space -and you knew you could seek refuge there. Its funny that now this same story applies to many of the young queer and trans youth that I work with. The nurse’s office is a magical place I tell you.
Sana: The nurse’s office is totally a refuge during adolescence- it was for me too. To shift gears- I know you are very involved in building community. Can I ask how do you define a healthy community?
Dominque: A healthy community is a space where everyone has access, everyone understands their power and agency of self, and there is equity in the services people are provided. I can’t imagine a community being seen as healthy and whole without these things.
Health care and access to it – should never be seen as a privilege. Does anyone have the right to say one life has more value than anyone else’s? In the words of Rosa Parks – NO.
Sana: What about health or healthcare scares you…makes you feel most vulnerable?
Dominique: I think the thing that scares me is that there are times I’m receiving care or getting medication and— because of my privilege and job and so on— it’s pretty easy. And then I’ll think of what someone without insurance or assets would do in the same predicament. The simplest thing like buying Tylenol makes me stop and be appreciative. Access is a real issue in our world. Health care and access to it should never be seen as a privilege. Does anyone have the right to say one life has more value than anyone else’s? In the words of Rosa Parks – NO.
Sana: If you could tell myself and other nurses one thing about how to better support you- what would it be?
Dominique: Meet people where they are (in life and in location) and give them the same care you would give them if they walked in with diamonds and furs or with complete understanding of their illness or with the ability to speak your language. Maintain your quality of care no matter what or where or who.
Dominique Morgan is an adolescent health educator and a singer/songwriter. He is currently working with incarcerated transgender youth in Omaha, Nebraska.