Monday, 20 February 2023
We’re proud to be celebrating LGBT+ History Month, a month-long annual celebration and remembrance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. It looks back at the history of gay rights and celebrates how far we have come in the fight for equality. The month aims to educate out prejudice and make LGBT+ people visible in all their rich diversity. For allies, it's a chance to better understand the struggles that LGBT+ people face and how to better support them. At South West London and St George’s, we want everyone to feel safe, part of our community and proud to be who they are.
Here, Eduard Mărgărit, Assistant Psychologist and Interim Chair for our LGBTQIA+ staff network, explains more about his role, the role of our network and the importance of celebrating LGBT+ History Month.
Q: How did you first get involved with the LGBTQIA+ staff network?
I asked how I could get one of the NHS rainbow lanyards (pictured in my photo) and was introduced to the network. The lanyards are a voluntary way for staff of any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression to indicate that they're a 'safe listening ear' for LGBTQIA+ staff, service users, patients and our wider community. To receive a lanyard, staff are required to sign a pledge committing to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, challenge where necessary and represent the Trust’s values. Feedback from patients has been positive, with some telling us they feel safe around staff who are wearing a rainbow lanyard.
Q: What does your role as Interim Chair of the LGBTQIA+ Staff Network involve?
I think the main role of the Chair is to ensure the network represents its members and its mission. I’m involved in various different committees, task forces and meetings across the Trust where I represent the network and help ensure that any concerns our members have are properly voiced and addressed. The network also supports staff across the Trust to understand the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals, staff and patients included
Q: What do you hope to achieve as the chair?
My goal is to ensure that the network is properly represented and organised, and that it continues to be a safe space where our LGBTQIA+ colleagues feel supported.
Q: What does the network offer staff?
In short, loads! From monthly meetings where we hold discussions, to social and CPD (continuing professional development) events. I think that so far, we have managed to achieve a diverse range of activities for our members to both learn from and enjoy.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month?
Learning from the past is probably one of the most efficient ways for us as humans to move forward. It is also an opportunity for us to remember those unsung heroes and look at those who have really paved the way for us. I can speak for myself when I say that almost every single year I learn something new, so it really is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn.
Q: What do you have planned for LGBTQIA+ History month
We’ve got some great events and talks lined up for staff. We’re covering a range of topics, including: LGBTQIA+ health, care and social services, exploring schools as heteronormative spaces, queer symbols and collective memory, and navigating healthcare as an LGBTQIA+ parent.
We’re also delighted that Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will be visiting our Trust to talk about the College’s equality action plan, with an emphasis on their work on LGBTQIA+ matters!