The opening speeches were so positive and encouraging. Yes we had a lot of delegates present (110) and the atmosphere was one of moving forward but Paul Devlin, Chair of the NHS Lincolnshire Foundation Trust, reiterated that we still need to do far more with actively preventing homo-, bi-, and trans-phobia.
Professor Rachel Munton, Managing Director of the East Mids Academic Health Science Network, gave an illuminating, frank and humorous talk about her life and being who she really is; moreover, she discussed the battles she had faced with her colleagues not being able to understand and come to terms with Rachel as a lesbian. She asked 'How could we help people to come to terms with them being LGBT?' There was always a tension with not wishing to offend but 'why should we declare our relationships? as unhelpful disclosure can also be damaging. Would a heterosexual director arrive in a meeting and announce that they are in a straight relationship? What we did need was sincere authentic personal narratives and others being respectful towards our working colleagues of all positions. She said it may be fine to accept the Managing Director but would we react the same to the cleaner? We hope so.
if in doubt when wondering how to help #LGBTQ individuals just ask them... because
'the expert is in front of you ' Rachel Munton
Empower individuals; transform institutions; Change hearts;
and Change Laws to help all LGBT individuals
The main thing that came out of the day was that there is an awful lot of good will and desire to improve the services for the LGBT community but an awareness that it is not happening. As with all things these days they need the numbers to crunch and feedback to those holding the purse-strings so that budgets can be allocated to local groups, GP's etc for specific support.
If anyone would like to feedback to the relevant people your experiences of any part of the NHS that has not met your needs, or indeed if you have met providers who ARE getting it right, then the people in suits need to know. Every GP's practice should now have Patient Participation Groups (PPG's) which you can join to help influence policies at the surgery. There are also opportunities to speak to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who are the people who influence budgets. They love their acronyms we discovered!!
For us, lots of networking was done & as well as being in contact with more parents of LGBT children, we are hoping to launch a Teens LBGT group in the Sleaford area but more of that later.