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Senior staff support for Pride month

2022 marks 50 years of Pride in the UK. Pride honours the Stonewall riots, which began a movement for LGBTQI+ rights in the USA that spread across the globe. To recognise Pride, some of our senior members of staff have written statements of support and reflection.

Steve Bambrough

Trust Professional Lead for Social Work and Associate Clinical Director
Associate Clinical Director for Complex Needs and Vulnerable Children

I would like to add my voice to all those who celebrate and affirm the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community. While in some societies there has been progress, unfortunately, LGBTQI+ individuals throughout the world continue to face murder, violence, prejudice and harassment because of who they are.

This June, we celebrate Pride Month by supporting and congratulating the accomplishments of LGBTQI+ activists and their allies, who are working to ensure that every individual, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, receives the protection of the law. Research has shown that LGBTQI+ adults can and do have negative experiences in a range of health care and social care settings, which can impact negatively on health and wellbeing. Mental health, anxiety, depression and loneliness disproportionately affect LGBTQI+ people.

Pride Month supports communities, educates and informs wider society about the harm and damage that discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community has on all of us. With an increase in persecution of LGBTQI+ people across the world, it is also important to remember that Pride Month is not only a celebration but a protest against the attacks on the rights and welfare of LGBTQI+ people in all societies.

Nell Nicholson

Headteacher of Gloucester House

I’m delighted to support marking Pride Month. Marking this month formally is an important way to promote the visibility of our LGBTQI+ colleagues and patients. It is also a helpful reminder to consider those who do not feel safe enough to be out in their work places, schools or homes and how we can keep this in mind when we interact with others; a reminder not to make assumptions when we meet people.

As a member of the LGBTQI+ community I acknowledge that as well as Pride month being a time for pride and joy it is also a time to remember the abuse, suffering and discrimination that people in the above groups have been subject to. There are still many countries in which it is not legal to have same sex relationships; indeed in the UK ‘gay marriage’ has only been legal since 2014.

So though this is a time for celebration it is also a time for reflection on where we were, where we are now and where we want to get to in the future.

Claire Kent

Patient and Public Involvement Team Manager

This is a statement of support solidarity and celebration of Pride for LGBTQI+ Pride month, for my diverse family, friends and work colleagues. Pride in the work we are doing in my team, Patient and Public involvement (PPI) includes an expression of gratitude for the young people we work alongside from GIDS . This work has included my PPI colleague supporting the application and successful appointment of our first young governor – ex service user of GIDS – into role.

Joining the work of the GIDS PPI team establishing co-production projects includes young people who will be presenters at the BAGIS conference (British Association of Gender Identity Specialists), working as members of the PPI Stakeholders group on various projects as well as being involved in training and recruitment of staff members into the GIDS service. From the GIC, our colleagues and service users have been instrumental in working with the MET police this year to raise awareness of trans identity issues and the work that needs to be done there is ongoing.

The GIC PPI staff and service users also run a regular forum which feeds into service development, and both the young people and adult services are represented by current and ex-service users from GIDS and GIC in the Trust Wide Forum which allows our chief executive, directors, governors and senior managers to listen to and act on the views of the patients and families we work for. There is still a lot of work to be done to raise awareness and co-create work together and as Pride is a celebration of identity and freedom of expression, this is to be valued and protected, as Lena Waithe said : To be yourself is a truly revolutionary act’.

Tim Kent

Divisional Director of Adult and Forensic Services
Consultant Psychotherapist and Social Worker

I am sending a message of support and encouragement for Pride Month to our LGBTQI+ colleagues, friends, family and patients and service users at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

In the NHS we have seen the galvanising and catalysing effect of a catastrophic pandemic on health inequalities for people who experience wider prejudice that effects their access to and trust in health service and in us, the clinical staff. This experience of socially determined inequality, as well, as the too-frequent profound bias and unconscious prejudice, can make it hard for cisgender and/or ‘straight’ people to appreciate the privileges that growing up in a heteronormative society or family offers, and why we are all implicit in the continuity of heteronormative assumptions, approaches and thinking. Just as in the re-appraisal of white privilege in order to de-colonise our minds, we need to re-visit or perhaps even visit the notion that, despite convictions of fairness and the focus (in psychoanalytic work) on internal object relationships, the internal life can be profoundly influenced by external political reality as well as our emotional ‘truth’.

In 2019 I walked into the HR Office on the third floor of the Tavistock Centre and saw the new rainbow lanyards, colourful, interesting and bold. A recognisable statement of support for LGBTQI+ colleagues & communities and a way to show patients or service users that the NHS is engaged and accessible. A small but important step. For a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist raised within the Psychoanalytic tradition of a ‘neutral frame’ (not blank or unfeeling) it is generally discouraged to show an external commitment or allegiance to supporting a particular group, view, ideology or political idea through identification or complicity – the focus instead is on the internal, emotional landscape and its features. This notion has its place in making sure we are open to the minds and communications of our patients without them having to deal with our ‘stuff’, but the experience of LGBTQI+ starts off with inequity and inequality. Surely we have a responsibility to balance the scales here and visibly, audibly demonstrate awareness, understanding and appreciation that coming into a healthcare setting for many means taking a leap of faith and hoping for rather than expecting fair, unbiased care, not fettered by fear or hate.