NHS Pride 2021: Anna’s reflections on inclusion, lived experience and effective allyship (she/her/hers)
NHS Pride 2021: Elevate, Educate, Celebrate September 6-10
*Trigger Warning: Mention of violence against the trans community*
This week, we are joining our NHS colleagues in celebrating the first ever national virtual Pride. We are recognising and celebrating the enormous contributions made by our LGBT+ colleagues within the NHS. Whilst we can acknowledge the steps we have taken to reach an inclusive society, many of our colleagues find it difficult to feel safe and bring their whole selves to work. According to a BBC documentary published in 2020, transphobic hate crime has quadrupled in the last five years. In addition to this, the House of Commons Hate Crime Statistics found that "Transgender people were around twice as likely to experience threats of physical or sexual harassment or violence compared with the LGBT community as a whole". Beyond this Pride week in the NHS, it is crucial that we continue to strive for equality and build a culture where everyone is able to be their authentic selves.
Anna Murray (she/her/hers) is a Sexual Health Promotion Practitioner at Solent NHS Trust, as well as the Deputy Convenor of LGBT+ and Allies Resource Group. Anna is passionate about empowering young people by creating safe spaces where they can feel comfortable talking about relationships and sexual health.
Having just reached her one year anniversary at Solent, Anna has reflected on a few of the milestones reached in that time. She explains: “In the first quarter of the year we launched our new page for Trans and gender diverse people. We created a page with lots of information to help people be informed and as comfortable and confident as possible in accessing our services.”
“A few staff members got together and designed a full day of training which we ran for the Sexual Health May education days. In these education days, we talked a lot about language and terminology; how it can be the difference between life and death for some people. We also spoke about how to be more inclusive through our language and terminology too. Stating our pronouns in our emails, when we first meet people or having them on badges opens the door for people who are gender diverse to be authentic in their interactions with staff. There was a lot of interest in pronoun badges and it was fantastic to see that Solent’s leadership team backed the creation of pronoun badges.”
Anna explained what joining Solent was like. She said: “I was so lucky coming into Solent, I had welcome emails from my whole team before I even started. Everyone was so welcoming and embracing right from day one. They were so open and willing, not only to have me as part of the team but they appreciated my skills and my knowledge base. I am in the right place to utilise my skillset and give out specialist advice.”
Anna reflected on her own experiences of being a part of the trans community and the struggles she has faced from a young age. She explained: “It started in nursery school, where we had a divide between the girl’s and boy’s toilets. I tried to use the girl’s bathroom but was forced to use a boys cubicle by a couple of my classmates. That was the first experience I can remember and since then I have countless experiences of a similar nature.”
“I have found that talking about my experiences so openly helps people to understand trans people more, and some of the struggles we face. It also resonates with people who don’t fit into society's stereotypes of what a man or woman are. These shared experiences can really change people’s hearts and minds.”
Anna spoke about discussed what it means to be an ally. She admitted: “There’s lots of ways to learn, but being an ally, for any protected characteristic, means being active. You can’t be an ally and do nothing about it, you have to keep pushing forward towards that common goal. It is about going to reputable sources to learn and educating yourself so that you truly and fully celebrate the LGBT+ community and Pride as part of that.”
For more information on the LGBT+ & Allies Resource group or to make a rainbow pledge, email: LGBTemail@example.com or follow on Twitter: @solentlgbtplus