Taking Pride

Image by Boris Štromar from Pixabay

June is Pride Month, the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and others (LGBTQ+).  Although I personally don’t identify with that demographic I manage a large staff group some of whom do, and I have friends who identify.  I see my role as a leader, and a friend, as being an ally to those who struggle to get support, who are victimised and who feel that they are not seen, heard or respected.  As such I am a member of our organisations LGBTQ+ equality and diversity network.

At today’s meeting we were discussing the use of pronouns and how difficult it can be to get it right or how some people feel that too bigger deal is being made of it.  Personally, I see it as everyone’s role to help normalise this so it isn’t a big deal and that everyone should feel comfortable being who they are and ate comfortable with how they are addressed.  I immediately changed my office email signature to include my preferred pronouns in an effort to support and help normalise this way of thinking. I did the same when I got home and updated all my personal email signatures.

We were also discussing ways in which this group of our staff could connect even if they didn’t want to be part of the network.  Spaces like Facebook groups or WhatsApp groups are too public for some and there were concerns about data transfer etc.  We should have a safe space for staff to ask questions, seek and share advice and information.

In the NHS we use a system that allows discussions, teams, consultations etc to happen in a safe, secure environment.  I use it for the Buddy Network that I’m also a member of.  It took no time at all to set up a new forum group, email the link around to a few other members of the group and see whether it would work.  It would need moderating and I’m not the best placed to be able to do that, but if my little bit of help assists others in finding a safe space, then I am more than happy to help.

We have some events coming up the organisation is supporting and I hope people don’t just use it as an opportunity to blag a freebie, but take the time to think about colleagues, friends and family, patients and visitors, who may need that extra bit of support, and learn not to spread hatred, victimise others and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness.

To all my colleagues, friends and family – Happy Pride  


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