Reflecting on Pride month
When we think of Pride month, we think of fantastic parades which are colourful and full of people expressing themselves with massive smiles on their faces. While the global pandemic has meant the last couple of years of Pride have been rather subdued, members of the LGB&T+ community across the globe have found other ways to celebrate a month that’s dedicated to people coming together in love and friendship to show how far LGB&T+ rights have come.
Pride is such an important month in the LGB&T+ calendar as we celebrate how far the LGB&T+ rights movement has come, but also highlight how far there still is to go. There is still discrimination against LGB&T+ people in the UK – particularly against trans people and other gender identities, and across the world it still remains illegal to be a homosexual in over 70 countries. There is still a lot of work to do and Pride month brings this to the fore and re-energizes the fight. Of course, the drag queens, parades and parties are fun too!
Closer to home, members of the LGB&T+ community and allies at our Trust have shared what Pride means to them. It has been incredible to hear the stories from people we work next to every single day and how being Pride month gives them courage and a sense of belonging.
I have been the chair of the Trust’s LGB&T+ network for just over a year now. It has been a strange year to take over as chair of the LGB&T+ Network! The network is really well supported by senior leadership in the Trust, and we have some strong and dedicated network members who have made this difficult time a lot smoother than it may have been. The necessity to use Teams to undertake meetings has meant that some people who wouldn’t have been able to attend a physical meeting on-site have been able to join in virtually, which is awesome.
The network has a number of functions: to provide advice and support for LGB&T+ staff members and patients, to increase visibility and awareness of LGB&T people and issues, and to support the Trust in being an inclusive employer by ensuring decision making and policies are inclusive of the rights and needs of LGB&T+ people.
It is so important to ensure that LGB&T+ people have a voice and are represented in the organisation – the more we can work to promote inclusion and visibility, the more staff can be their authentic selves and be the best that they can be for our patients. It’s also so important to show our patients that we embrace and celebrate diversity so that LGB&T+ patient feels comfortable and safe using our services.
If you want to get involved with the network, we have a mailing list and monthly network meetings and absolutely everyone is welcome, whether you identify as LGB&T+ or as an ally. Drop us an email at LGBTnetwork@wsh.nhs.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter.
Sam Holloway, deputy chief pharmacist and chair of the Trust’s LGB&T+ Network
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