Alex Cooke 25/9/23
The reality of being an LGBTQ+ person, LGBTQ+ meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and many other identities that differ from our societies ‘norms’, especially for someone born before 1950, can be an experience that many of us could scarcely imagine. Having a partner in need of support but not being contacted as you’re presumed to be only an acquaintance, feeling different but not understanding why or having to hide your affection for a fear of being beaten. These make up just some of all too real and commonplace fears faced by those in the LGBTQ+ community, not just of those using our services, but staff and family that are also part of our care family. Although many of us may assume that in 2023 these are worries of the past, but we must not be naive to the prejudice that continues to prevail in our society. As our world works hard to support these individuals and spread awareness of the daily microaggressions that so many people face, we in the care industry must similarly ensure that we are an ally to all those who need one.
There has been movement in the care community to demystify LGBTQ+ in recent years, the charity Age UK in particular, has written a number of informative and excellent articles in line with this. A favourite of mine is one titled ‘safe to be me’, which shares lived experiences alongside more formal information on the history and journey of a community that has often been sidelined. It tells us of the importance of this topic, where even if we know it or not, there will be LGBTQ+ people using and working within our service. Hostility benefits no one, but acceptance and kindness can go a long way toward making someone’s life just that little bit easier. It must be acknowledged that many people still do not support the community, and as much as we may wish that we all shared a goal of acceptance, we must also accept that LGBTQ+ support is a journey for everyone. It is our duty, therefore, to offer gentle information and encouragement so that we are all able to reach a place where we can see our differences as a strength and feel proud of who we truly are.
What are we doing now and what will we do in the future?
One of our core values at Midlands Care is inclusivity for all, we understand that everyone is unique and therefore strive to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for all. Although we are very proud of our community already, this inclusivity for all is something we are continually working to improve and provide. Most recently we introduced our pronouns into emails signatures, a small change, but something that aims to represent to those reading that this is not a presumption, and we must always ask for and respect the pronouns that people give us. We also celebrated pride month recently, which was a chance for all to honour their true authentic self and share this celebration together. This is something we intend to acknowledge as an annual tradition of our support.
In regards to our future, we want to continue making these small changes to ensure inclusivity isn’t just a word, but a true encapsulation of what we present. We hope to withhold these standards within our community and will continue to educate our managers and staff on language use, such as when introducing a resident, staff member or formulating documents. It is this education that we see as key to our future of inclusivity, where we hope to involve more members of the community in enacting this in events. In Leicestershire especially, we are so proud of our wonderful diversity as a leading city in cultural appreciation, why should appreciation of one’s sexuality, gender or any other preference be anything less than wonderful too.