Over the past 12 months our LGBT+ Network has been revitalised and is now looking forward to celebrating and promoting equality at Pride events across the East Midlands.
The network continues to promote equality across the organisation by increasing the visibility of our colleagues who identify as LGBT+, and to better understand the care needs of our diverse population of 4.8 million people, especially those that identify as LBGT+.
Caroline Scott, Chair of the EMAS LGBT+ Network, Specialist Paramedic and Clinical Education Development Specialist, has worked at EMAS for 23 years and is pleased the network will be attending Pride parades again after two years.
Caroline said: “As a network, we’re hoping to have a more visible presence at this year’s Pride parades across the region after we had to take a step back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pride events are still vital in 2022 when you consider that not every LGBT+ individual has the same legal rights that we now have in the UK. Being gay in certain countries is still punishable by death.
“It’s important that we attend as many events as possible, to be able to show our wider communities that the ambulance service is accessible to everyone who needs us in an emergency.
“All our patients will be treated with kindness, respect and dignity regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The re-established network is growing steadily with 55 members and a handful of Committee Members who support on a voluntary basis by attending monthly meetings to share ideas on how to grow the network and engage with other groups.
The network is important because it provides a safe space for people who may not feel ready to disclose their sexuality or gender identity with all of their colleagues.
Caroline added: “I identify as cisgender gay woman and my sexuality has never been an issue at work.
“Colleagues and friends have been supportive, and I am very appreciative of that. However, there is always more that we can do to raise awareness throughout EMAS which is why I am part of the EMAS LGBT+ Network.”
The network’s ambitions don’t stop at attending Pride events; they are currently committed to working towards its Rainbow Partnership Accreditation with the Derbyshire LGBT charity. This is part of a Derbyshire-wide charter to help ensure that EMAS and our partner organisations remain inclusive to all service users and each other as colleagues working across a wider system.
June is LGBT+ Pride Month which we are acknowledging at EMAS by allowing colleagues to wear rainbow laces throughout the month if they wish to do so.
Neelesh Sutaria, Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion at EMAS said: “I am fully supportive of the important work that is being undertaken by the newly revitalised LGBT+ Network which enhances our existing organisational values.
“We encourage people to be themselves and having this network allows our colleagues to be able to do this in a safe space where they can talk openly with others about matters that affect them and our patients.
“This is particularly important for those LGBT+ colleagues who, for a variety of reasons, do not feel that they can openly talk about their sexuality or gender identity with colleagues outside of the network and/or their family and friends outside of work.
“I strongly encourage those who want to learn more about becoming an effective ally to the LGBT+ community to visit the Stonewall website to find out more about how you can actively get involved.”
A few images submitted by our colleagues showing the rainbow laces on their boots