Having worked in the NHS for almost 10 years I’ve seen many changes come about. Some for the better, some for worse. I feel I was lucky when I started, having some impressive LGBT role models that I could approach and ask questions of. Now I like to think of myself in that role, with my team being responsible for inducting the new starters within the hospital and impressing the importance of their attitude and behaviour towards others. I’ve always tried to get involved in the LGBT+ network here, and took up the Rainbow badge pledge, to be visible as someone that can offer support and advice to anyone struggling with their sexuality. I feel it is important that everyone that comes to work, or to the hospital for treatment, feels comfortable and confident to be their true selves without discrimination.
Pride month, to me, remains a very important time to celebrate and mark the progress we’ve made towards LGBT equality – and also accept that we have a long way to go yet.
The LGBT community still receives unacceptable discrimination and stigma – evident within the media and on social media, ranging from the increased risk of domestic abuse, homelessness and a landscape of worsening mental health.
We are committed to reducing health inequalities within the NHS and working on supporting the LGBT community is a big part of that.
Pride month gives us the focus and awareness to try and increase our efforts and address the outstanding issues. We will be working closely together with Brigstow (a HIV support charity) and the University of Bristol to address, and understand, stigma relating to people’s HIV status within the next few months and are looking to bring some national training on-line to support this.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the very first pride march in the UK. Our chance to be visible and remember that we continue to fight for equality.