“We have a huge responsibility as a country to keep changing things for LGBTQ+ people” | Our news

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“We have a huge responsibility as a country to keep changing things for LGBTQ+ people”

To celebrate LGBTQ+ history month at Barts Health, our LGBTQ+ network hosted an intimate event with activist and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.


Peter joined network members and allies at the Great Hall in St Bartholomew’s Hospital on 14 February and hosted a talk around the theme: “Claiming our past, celebrating our present and changing your future”.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Ajit Abraham, group director of inclusion who introduced Peter.

Peter talked about the journey and history of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK along with key milestones, how things are at the moment and where we hope to be in the future.

“1999 was a very important year as fundamental changes kicked off and these positive changes helped us to get to where we are now”, he said.

“But we have faced so many challenges in our history and currently one of the biggest challenges are for our transexual community, especially over the past few months”.

He highlighted that we need more research and funding for hospitals to have trans health care programmes in place. He added that currently, there is a backlog of people trying to access gender identity clinics, so investment is needed for this.

Peter also addressed some of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ refugees who are facing constant discrimination.

“Lots of LGBTQ+ people have fled from war in their home countries, escaping from crimes against them, but these refugees have been facing a lot of harassment and discrimination when they come here to the UK”.

He added:

“We are not doing enough to tackle crime and hatred against LGBTQ+ people in our country. We have a long way to go to ensure LGBTQ+ freedom all over the world.”

Peter shared alarming statistics which highlighted that around 67 countries currently criminalised same-sex relationships, and 11 countries still have the death penalty for this.

He also talked about some of his reflections on the future which included how in western counties, we have a new gender revolution led by women, transexuals and LGBTQ+ people.

“Huge changes are happening, and we must celebrate them. We are moving into a more open and diverse society where the focus on the humans rather than just the sexuality and identity.

“That’s the bright and positive future that we can all be our authentic selves and don’t need to fit a predefined social norm."

Finally, he remarked how important LGBTQ+ allies are for our community:

“We need allies on our side and allyship is very important and it’s important to listen to what they have to say and how they can support us.”

“We all have a duty to become a better society and pass on improvements for the next generations as well.”

At the event, we were also joined by colleagues from BHRUT and Homerton Hospital, as well as Shane DeGaris, Jacqui Smith and Charles Knight OBE, chief executive of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and executive sponsor for the LGBTQ+ network.

Watch the recording of Peter's talk.


To find out more about Peter and his work, you can sign up to his free weekly LGBT & Human Rights email bulletin.

Peter Tachell


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  1. David Burbidge Thursday, 9 March 2023 at 01:20 PM

    This a significant step forward for Barts in acceptance, now we have to do this in the provision of services for patients