Celebrating LGBT History Month with first Trust conference

Published/updated: 12/02/18 14:35

The Trust held its first LGBT conference this month, exploring sexual orientation and gender identity. The day was a huge success with over 120 people attending, including Trust staff and guests from partner organisations.

Dame Julie Moore, Interim Chief Executive, was our first speaker. She told her story of being out and a woman in a senior role in a world where many chief executives and senior staff are not willing to be who they really are for fear of repercussion.

Next up was Antony Cobley, head of inclusion, engagement and wellbeing at UHB, who shared his story of training as a nurse and how he ‘came out’ before meeting his now husband, Roger. The couple have fostered several boys aged eight and over. They made this decision because boys in foster care aged eight and over are less likely to leave care. He shared photos of his foster sons and grandsons and how the couple experienced hate crime as a result of their decision to foster children. He also spoke of the homophobic actions of others many years ago that still have a lasting effect on him now.

Pete Mercer from Stonewall outlined some concerning facts and figures regarding the health of LGBT people and highlighted the health inequalities which exist for transgender people.

Gary Stack, Force Lead for Sexual Orientation Hate Crime from West Midlands Police, spoke about the work which needs to be done in order for the LGBT communities trust in the police to be restored.  

Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, reinforced the disturbing figures around LGBT health inequalities and explained that although a lot has happened over the past 14 years to change legislation, there is still more to be done to change culture. He mentioned the need for calling out the media and providing much more equality and diversity education in schools.

Next up was Lisa Mead, who also hosted the day. Lisa works for the Trust as a software support manager in the emergency department. Lisa shared her story of transitioning whilst working at the Trust. With the support of her managers she is now able to use that experience to benefit the Trust through her contribution to policy development, network activity and being a part of the Trust role model campaign.

Our final speaker was Rikki Arundel, a professional speaker, coach and diversity trainer. Rikki got the audience thinking about the difference between sex and gender. She spoke about her Masters research and how many transvestites are probably transgender but cannot transition through fear of losing everything.

Sally Lawson, Trust workforce diversity manager, was involved in organising the event and was delighted with the response to the day: “Everyone has worked so hard to make this day happen and I’d like to say a special thanks to our partners, the University of Birmingham and Health Education West Midlands, the delegates and our wonderful speakers. Feedback has been really positive and one delegate said: Excellent. Pioneering. An example for others to follow.”

If you’d like any more information about the inclusion initiatives happening across the Trust, or are a member of staff that would like to join the LGBT Staff Network, please contact Sally Lawson by email, sally.lawson@heartofengland.nhs.uk. The LGBT staff network welcomes all staff including allies.

If you can’t view the video below, please click here: https://vimeo.com/255700443 

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