LGBTQ+ History Month: Role Models

14 Feb 2022, 10:21 a.m.

February is LGBTQ+ history month, where diversity and inclusion is vital for performance, wellbeing, and making a meaningful difference to all colleagues.

This month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. In the United Kingdom, it is celebrated in February each year, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.

This year, we asked colleagues who their LGBTQ+ role models are and why and here's the response we had:

Abigail Hopewell

Abigail's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Caster Semenya

"Caster is a middle-distance runner from South Africa who has won Olympic Gold twice and World Athletics Gold three times. She has faced a catalogue of discrimination from sports federations and critics who have questioned her eligibility to compete in women’s sports. Caster was assigned female at birth and was born with a condition that falls under the umbrella terms (used variously) of intersex, and Differences in Sex Development (DSD). All women naturally produce testosterone in their bodies; Caster’s condition leads to naturally elevated levels of testosterone in hers.

"As a Black, lesbian woman with an intersex condition, Caster inspires me for her strength and fortitude in facing head-on prejudice and stigma throughout her life. She is a role model and inspiration for so many, including athletes, people with intersex/DSD conditions, the LGBTQ+ community, and allies."

Paula Hilltout

Paula's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is her daughter

Paula is a staunch ally and a proud mum of a gay daughter, who last year married her wife on a beach in Cornwall. Her daughter has long been her inspiration, ‘coming out' at 16, secure enough to know that her family would love her, no matter what, but with the understanding that others may not be so kind.

"She has been attacked in the street, vilified and embarrassed, but has never tried to be someone else, telling me ‘this is not something I’ve chosen, it is who I am’. She is adored by her entire family for the kind, generous, considerate person that she is, loved by her friends, and greatly respected by her work colleagues. The love we have for our daughter has no bounds, is unconditional, and is for always, and we couldn’t be more proud of her."

This is not something I’ve chosen, it is who I am.

Paula's Daughter

Raye Smith

Raye's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Elliott Page

Having watched him perform in Juno and loved it, Raye has always nursed a crush on this amazing human.

"They are such a talented actor and have become a visible role model for our community, especially the youth. Raye remembers growing up under section 28, she didn’t see anyone like me until at 15 when she was watching Buffy and Willow started dating a girl. It took her until she was 19 to work out, that there was a third option to gay and straight."

Deborah Lee

Deborah's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Steve Hams

The obvious role model that springs to Deborah's mind is gay Chief Nurse Steve Hams who, without fuss or fanfare, has championed the inclusion of LQBTQ+ colleagues and patients since he arrived in the Trust. In particular, he has championed the role of allies and will always be remembered for the introduction of the Rainbow Lanyards which she, and literally hundreds of staff still wear. Being awarded an MBE in this year’s Honours for his service to nursing AND his contribution to the LGBTQ+ community, speaks for itself.

Carol McIndoe

Carol's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Lou Reed

"Some refer to the influential singer as the 'first out rockstar' but Reed never openly referred to himself as bisexual. However the popular track 'kill your sons' was about his parents focusing him on electroconvulsive therapy after he expressed his attraction to the same sex at a young age."

Matthew Stanley

Matthew's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Shangela Laquifa Wadley

The oft-robbed Shangela Laquifa Wadley is Matthew's favourite Drag superstar to emerge into the limelight offered by the wildly successful Ru Paul's Drag Race.

"Shangela permeates so many forms of media it's hard to keep track, but they have been a key player in normalising gender non-conforming/queer entertainment within the mainstream, most notably becoming the first person to walk the red carpet at the Oscars in drag. They are hilarious, compelling, self-aware and boundlessly imaginative, and the world would be a considerably more boring place without them in it. Halleloo!"

Proof, if you ever need it, you get knocked down you just get right back up and sooner or later you'll be in a movie with Lady Gaga

Matthew Stanley

Emily Bestwick

Emily's LGBTQ+ History Month role models are my sister and friends

Emily has spent her life surrounded by role models, from her younger sister who came out as bisexual when she was 14, her friend in secondary school when she was the first person he came out to, also her best friend who is proud to be a gay Police Officer; Emily has grown up seeing the struggles they have all faced simply by being themselves and she's full of admiration for the courage and strength of character they have always shown.

Coral Boston

Coral's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Australian Footballer Josh Cavallo

She says "Josh made international headlines when he revealed his sexuality last year, saying he was done with feeling ashamed about his sexuality and the exhaustion of trying to live a double-life."

Naomi Davies

Naomi's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Olly Alexander

Naomi has chosen Olly Alexander from Years and Years, as he is very open about the struggles he has with his mental health growing, he also raised awareness of the lack of sexual health educations in schools for the LGBTQ+ community, which is something she really hope would be in place when her daughter goes to school.

Jake Shepherd-Barron

Jake's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is Boulet Brothers

A pair of drag performers based in Los Angeles (not actually brothers, that’s just the stage name!), Jake is inspired through their events and programmes they showcase and support a wide variety of drag performers and LGBTQ+ people, giving much-needed representation to types of drag beyond drag queens and to people of colour within the alternative drag scene. And they look great while they do it!

Mark Pietroni

Mark's LGBTQ+ History Month role model is his brother.

"He came out later in life, has been a great father to his sons, and is very happy as the person he is now."

The Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. The quote is thought to mean that although it is taking a long time, we are curving\moving towards social justice and fairness.

The Arc is long, inspired by Martin Luther King