"I have the freedom to live life as my true self at work" | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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"I have the freedom to live life as my true self at work"

For Pride Month, Bart’s Health LGBTQ+ Network’s newly appointed Pride Rep, Jess Alexander, gives us an insight into her role at Barts Health, and explains why Pride Month is important to her.

What is your role?

I am a paediatric nurse, usually working in the Children’s Outpatients Department at the Royal London Hospital. However, for the last three months, I have been redeployed to the Paediatric COVID19 Ward (7D - PASSU).

What have you been up to lately at work?

I have re-learnt a lot of nursing abilities I had not utilised in four years and have acquired some new skills too!

How has your role changed during the pandemic?

I am the Barts Health LGBTQ+ Network’s newly appointed Pride Rep. Pre COVID19, this meant organising the Trust’s presence at the ‘Pride in London’ parade - designing banners, flags and t-shirts, and collaborating with Siobhan Cockram (our amazing Site Lead!) to generate staff involvement and trust-wide awareness of the Network’s existence.

What does being a part of the LGBTQ+ Network mean to you?

Being part of the LGBTQ+ Network for me means feeling part of a community of people, but also advocating for others who sometimes do not have the privilege of being able to do so themselves. I have the freedom to live life as my true self at work, and that freedom allows me to implement a gold standard of care for my patients.

Why is Pride month important to you?

Pride Month is important to me because it highlights the vital importance of being visible and ‘seen’ as a LGBTQ+ human; of standing together in a world where, historically and currently in 73 countries, LGBTQ+ people are criminalised for their existence. Visibility can make a significant difference in ‘tearing down the barriers’ of exclusion and to encourage an accepting, non-judgemental environment.

How has Pride month been celebrated differently this year, can you give some examples?

Pride Month has been celebrated differently this year - we have moved all our events to a virtual platform, with a range of webinars, quizzes and film nights. Not to mention the visible presence of stalls throughout the sibling sites.

Any final thoughts?

Finally, we want to celebrate the arrival of an additional three new reps within the LGBTQ+ Staff Network: Bi, Disabilities and BAME. We are continuing to work on intersectionality between the networks, offering our solidarity and support. We have a lot to look forward to, and a lot of which to be proud!

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