Wednesday, 4 February 2009

It’s February and it’s LGBT History Month

This year I have again been involved with Nursing Standard to mark LGBT History Month. Unfortunately they didn’t run a special edition to mark it but I was invited to write an editorial for them, and naturally I said yes.

The theme of it was The Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, the legalisation that makes it unlawful to deny anyone goods or services because of their sexuality or even perceived sexuality. This is a revolutionary law for lesbians and gay men, it takes away the shadow that I’ve lived with for most of my life; that shadow of worry that I would be turned away because I’m gay. “We don’t want/allow your sort here.”

One of the first effect we have witnessed has been the Lillian Ladele case. She was a registrar who refused to preside at Civil Partnerships because she said they went against her Christian beliefs. She was eventually dismissed and took her employer to an Employment Tribunal, claiming she was the victim of religious discrimination. She lost on appeal, the judge saying her behavior was discriminatory. We’ve repeatedly seen this, Christians claiming they are the “victims” of discrimination because they can no longer use their traditional homophobia. (Naturally, my editorial wasn’t as blunt as this)

I was so pleased to be asked to write this. Healthcare, in Britain, is still not the friendliest place for lesbians and gay men but Nursing Standard has been very positive in tacking homophobia in it. Their LGBT History Month specials have been wonderful and they have repeatedly promoted lesbian and gay rights. To be part of that is so important to me. Being involved with them has also benefited me, it has pushed my writing career up so many levels; I wouldn’t as well published as I am now with the experience they gave me. But most of all, I feel that their coverage of LGBT History Month is so important for moving nursing forward, and I’m so proud to be involved with it.

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