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The no-longer anonymous LGBT+ role model!

Jo Hall has written these beautiful words to share...

A new neighbour said to me during the summer that she was shocked that I wasn’t open about my LBGT+ identity at work to most I work with. Knowing me and my partner in her short time on our sociable road, she said some words to me that stuck, “I’m really sad for you”. I realised I was sad for me too.

There are a few reasons why I now felt able to step forward as an LGBT+ role model. A key factor for me was the openness of some of our DCHS leaders in the role models booklet, alongside the endorsement of the role models booklet by other senior leaders. I felt far safer to be ‘me’ in the organisation when I read it. I owe a heartfelt thank you to all those involved, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to join you openly until now.

Other small moments have made a difference in the past few months, such as a colleague I’d never met before openly bringing up wellbeing issues in relation to the LGBT+ community at a senior meeting where this wasn’t  an allocated topic. I loved the way the conversation was opened up, and the discussions that followed. I felt safe to be me in that meeting, without having to talk about me in any way. I thanked the individual afterwards for the difference they’d made in that meeting.

Numerous horrendous lockdown haircuts also need a mention! I’m now able to laugh when colleagues comment that my hair is the only hair getting shorter through lockdown, or when I can see I look different to everyone else in the meeting. Being seen as I see ‘me’ used to scare me, it now feels ok.  

As I write this, and reflect, being ‘me’ is also just a bit less hard work. Now I’m worrying less about how I’m perceived, it gives me more energy for what I care about – which is my job, and of course life away from work. And for once, I’m looking forward to this year at work and what it’ll be like, being more open with those around me.

I know this last year has been a tough one, including of course for many in the LGBT+ community. Articles such as these help other members of the LBGT+ community to feel safe, connected, and supported. That feels like it matters so much right now.

My advice. Small words and actions can make a big difference to the wellbeing of others.

Thank you Jo!