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Found 10 results

  1. Marching with Pride (July 2008) On Saturday (5th July 2008) it was London LGBT Pride and, with bright sunny weather, my partner and I had a wonderful day there. The highlight, as always, was the Pride March. People were laughing and smiling, enjoying walking through central London together and openly. The march was headed by groups representing many of our uniformed and emergency services. First came lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the navy, army and RAF, all in their uniforms. Next followed the police and British transport police, again in uniform. Members of the fire service, complete with a bright red fire engine, followed them. Finally came members of the ambulance service and St John’s Ambulance service. It was a very impressive sight and the crowds cheered and clapped as they passed. But I was left with one thought, where are the nurses? True, there was an NHS float, much later in the march, but it was a general float. It didn’t have the impact of a group of nurses or healthcare professionals marching with the others at the head of the march. But why do nurses need to march at Pride? Still so many lesbians and gay men have little trust in healthcare. A recently published survey, from Stonewall, on lesbians’ experiences of healthcare, found that half of the women taking part had had negative experiences of healthcare in the last year (1). An earlier study found that 50% of gay men were too uncomfortable to come out to their GPs (2). We have a long way to go, but nurses marching at Pride will help along that path. Previously the police had a very poor relationship with the lesbian and gay community, there was no love lost on either side. Now, while still far from perfect, there has been a great improvement in police attitudes and an increased trust in the police in recent years. This has been achieved through a lot of different activities but not least of these has been the presence of police officers marching at Pride (not just “policing” it). The presence of those police officers has given confidence in the police. Nurses marching at pride could give so many lesbians and gay men far more confidence in healthcare and nursing as a profession. Nurses may not be able to march in uniform, with the duty of care that a nurse’s uniform carries, but the presence of nurses marching at Pride, even not in uniform, will go towards building up lesbians’ and gay men’s confidence in healthcare. Who will march though? Well, people like me. (This was originally published as a comment piece in Nursing Standard magazine) Drew Payne Find out more about this short blog series here
  2. Something New Every Year (July 2019) The other Saturday, I did something I’d never done before. At my age, it isn’t often I get to do something as new as this, but the other Saturday I marched in the London Pride March openly as a nurse. I’ve marched in the Pride March many times before, with friends, with LGBT organisations, but never before openly as a nurse. This year, a group of staff in my Trust’s LGBT Network organised to take part in the London Pride March and we had the blessing of our Trust. On Pride Saturday, all of us in bright yellow tee-shirts (with our Trust’s name and logo emblazoned across them) and all wearing our security bracelets, we took our place in the march. We were LGBT staff and our straight allies gathered around our placard that announced who we were, Whittington Health Staff Inclusion Network. Marching in Pride openly as NHS staff was one thing, but the reaction we received from the crowds along the route was amazing. People smiled and waved at us, they clapped and cheered us, people were so happy to see us. All we were doing was marching. The NHS is still not an inclusion or safe place for many LGBT patients. A recent Stonewall report found one in four LGBT people have witnessed homophobia from NHS staff and one in seven of them have avoided treatment because of fear of discrimination from NHS staff (1). Yet how much has the NHS done to reverse this situation? Very little. This isn’t the first report by Stonewall, there have been many over the years, all reading the same, and yet the NHS does so little to change this. In the four years between 2014 and 2018, LGBT hate crime rose by 144% (2) and yet the NHS is still not a safe place for LGBT patients. What my colleagues and I did at Pride was not a great step forward and for most of us did not require a large amount of effort, yet the reaction of the crowd was almost breath-taking. Those people cheered us on because they were happy and grateful for us being there, and our presence told them that our Trust was working towards providing care in a safe place. Taking part in London Pride fired all of us up, our WhatsApp group has gone crazy, and we are already making plans for next year’s Pride and getting off the ground an LGBT Staff Network. We need to work hard at making our Trust an inclusive organisation, a safe place for all, but we are starting. We talk a lot about person-centred care but are we just paying lip service to it when so many LGBT people do not feel able to be open with us about themselves for fear of discrimination? Every long journey starts with a single step, but who would have thought that step would be marching at Pride? So why aren’t more NHS Trusts taking part in the different Pride celebrations around the country? Our presence would say so much to the LGBT people there. (This was originally published as a comment piece in Nursing Standard magazine) Drew Payne Find out more about this short blog series here
  3. Do Unhealthy Attitudes Ever Change? (August 2015) During my first year of nurse training (twenty-five years ago) I ran into a wall of homophobia. I was told by some of my vocal colleagues that I only wanted to be a nurse to see naked men, that all gay men deserved AIDS, that I was a danger to children, and that God could heal me and make me “normal”. I endured it because it was 1990 and homophobia was what I expected as a gay man. It's now 2015 and our society has changed so much since my student nurse days. We are so much more open, we have so many legal protections now against homophobia; last year my partner and I got married. I thought we had come so far and then I was brought down to earth with a crash. This month, Stonewall (the LGTB campaigning organisation) published Unhealthy Attitudes (1), their report on the treatment of LGBT health and social care staff, and it was a shocking read. It felt as if I was right back there twenty-five years ago, like nothing had changed. The report, written following a YouGov survey of health and social care staff, found that one in four people had heard a colleague make negative or homophobic statements about LGBT people and one in five had heard negative statements about trans people. A quarter of them had been the victims of homophobic bullying from patients and service users. 10% had heard colleagues make claims that LGBT people can be “cured”. These statistics may sound cold and not greatly impressive but the report also carries the realities behind them, it is full of personal quotes. The nurse who was told by another nurse that he should be hung for being gay. The nurse whose manager told her that homophobic comments were “only banter”. The nurse who was ostracised by his whole staff team, at work and socially, when it came out he's gay. And many comments where trans people were called “it” or “she-male”. Then there were the comments that were themselves homophobic. A healthcare assistant (HCA) who said people are not born LGBT but “choose” this “lifestyle”. A doctor referring to anyone he doesn't consider “normal” as “deviants” whose needs shouldn't be “forced” on the majority. Yet this report has created little outrage or even comment from our nursing leaders or the wider community. If this report was highlighting racism or sexism surely there would have been an outcry about it, articles in our newspapers or items on the television news. Yet this report barely caused a ripple. Homophobia still seems to be the prejudice that we most easily accept, it's just “banter”, it's just someone's personal belief or personal views, and any challenge to it is seen as “political correctness gone too far”. But it's none of these; it’s prejudice and it can damage or even destroy people's lives. Why, as nurses, are we tolerating this? There have been several reports previously from Stonewall highlighting the poor treatment experienced by LGBT people from the NHS and how reluctant they are to be out to healthcare workers. The results of Unhealthy Attitudes only reinforce these earlier findings. How can we offer patients open and non-judgmental care when we can't offer non-judgmental support to our own colleagues? We have spoken a lot about “person-centred care”, but it seems that if the person is LBGT then a large part of their personality and needs are ignored, at best. LGBT people have their own healthcare needs, more than just using the gender-natural term “partner”, but the evidence is that they are still being ignored. How have we got to this point? Unhealthy Attitudes has a clear recommendation, staff training in LGBT issues. It found that three in four people haven’t received any training in the needs of LGBT people and only one in four have been provided with any equality and diversity training. Yet the NHS has a legal responsibility to eliminate discrimination. In the last three years my own equality and diversity training has consisted of one fifteen-minute, online presentation that covered the needs of disabled people, black and ethnic minorities people and LGBT people, but in no depth at all for any of them. How can we say we focus on person-centred care when LGBT staff’s safety is so bluntly ignored by the NHS? (This was originally published as a comment piece in Nursing Standard magazine) Drew Payne Find out more about this short blog series here
  4. A Safe Place for All? (January 2015) Freddie Mercury died from AIDS in November 1991. I was a student nurse at the time. One of my colleagues told me that he “deserved it” because of his “lifestyle”. I exploded faced with her homophobia, but I was turned on by others who supported her, saying their views were right because they wanted to be parents and any parent would want to protect their sons from the likes of Freddie Mercury. And I was wrong, they said, because I was defending someone like Freddie Mercury. Their homophobia cut me deeply that day. Last year, my partner Martin and I got married. When I returned to work, my colleague Wendy wanted to see our wedding pictures. When I got them up online, the whole office gathered around to look at them. Nobody made any homophobic or prejudiced remarks; nobody said they didn't “agree” with same sex marriage, though I was asked a lot of questions about our guests. I have been out as a gay man throughout my entire career, at first I regularly came up against blunt homophobia from many colleagues, but as the years passed society has changed, homophobia is declining (I do work in London, one of the most metropolitan of all our cities). We now have openly gay MPs, police officers, soldiers and military personnel, and no longer is it “career suicide” when an actor comes out. This year, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was named to be the most lesbian and gay-friendly employer in Britain (1). Every year Stonewall, the LGBT campaigning organisation, name their Top 100 Employers and this year the top one was an NHS trust, the first time an NHS trust has achieved this. So life is rosy and we have achieved all we need to? No, far from it. I have also experienced the NHS from the other side of the nurses’ station. I have asthma and have been an NHS patient for years as an in-patient, out-patient and GP patient. I am an out gay man, but when I'm a patient I suddenly rush back into the closet, it's the only time I do, but I have good reason to. I always fear that if a clinician finds out I'm gay they will give me prejudiced treatment because it has happened in the past. I have had clinicians try to force me to have a HIV test, wear two pairs of gloves when treating me, and make comments suggesting that it is my fault I am ill because I’m gay. As a patient I am so vulnerable, I rely on good relationships with the people treating me. The fear of homophobia hangs over this, if they know I'm gay will their homophobia come out and suddenly the quality of care I receive fall? I can't take that risk. There have been a lot of high-profile cases where people have gone to court for the “right” to discriminate against lesbians and gay men. Registrars not wanting to marry same-sex couples, counsellors not wanting to see same-sex couples, therapists wanting to “cure” gay people. How do I know the clinician treating me doesn’t have these views too? In the past I have met enough nurses who have had these attitudes. This is not paranoia but an all too real fear for many. Stonewall found a third of gay men and a half of lesbians have received negative experiences from healthcare professionals because of their sexuality and a third of gay men and half of lesbians aren't out to their GPs (2). These statistics are nothing to be proud of. The picture for lesbian and gay staff is equally as patchy. Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust might be the most lesbian and gay-friendly employer in Britain but there were only eight other NHS organisations in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. We can’t sit back and say the job is done. Yes, we have marriage equality and gay characters on our soap operas, but the NHS still isn’t a safe place for all people, and how can we rest until it is? (This was originally published as a comment piece in Nursing Standard magazine) Drew Payne Find out more about this short blog series here
  5. The next six blogs form a short series, which I have called “With Pride” because they were all originally comments pieces, on LGBT rights and healthcare, published in the Nursing Standard magazine, and I am proud of having written them. For nearly fifteen years, on and off, I have written comment pieces for Nursing Standard and a lot of them were on LGBT healthcare. These pieces chart changes in attitudes, but they also had recurring themes and one was responding to a very disturbing piece of research, reading which just left me frustrated and angry, I felt nothing had changed. The first and last pieces here almost become companion pieces though they were written eleven years apart. The first one asks a question and the last answers it. I am posting here the original versions, with their original titles and all the links to their source material; they were edited for publication but mostly this involved reducing their word count. The last one was written in 2019, we had every intension of following that one up the next year, but history had other ideas. There were no London Pride marches in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. This year was the first one since then and fate has intervened again for me. I want to say “happy reading”, but some of these pieces are on uncomfortable subjects. I am very grateful to the Nursing Standard for giving me the opportunity to write these pieces and to be able to shout above the crowd. Find out more about London Pride here. Drew Links to the other With Pride blogs: With Pride July 2008 With Pride January 2015 With Pride August 2015 With Pride January 2017 With Pride July 2019
  6. PRIDE & PREMIUM The stories are starting! That's right, we're getting you started on the Pride ride before June begins! Our Coming Out themed event starts with a great short story by GA author @Drew Payne! This two chapter short story just for our Premium subscribers, so if you haven't signed up for your membership yet, what are you waiting for? You can also discuss here, if you want to talk about the story beyond the story comments and reviews. The Passenger on Platform Six Length: 8,190 Description: The journey of a lifetime starts with one train ticket. Owen, nineteen and single, is finally making his journey to coming out, but this is far more difficult and complicated than the train journey he has to take from his small home town to London, the only place where he feels he can come out. What has led him to such an extreme move and what will he find when he arrives?
  7. As some of you know, New York City recently hosted World Pride, and it fell on the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. They estimated that close to 6 million visitors came to the city to celebrate, and I can tell you New York, especially in certain areas, felt like a gay-majority city. It was amazing. Some personal highlights: Dancing with 13,000 other people at WE Party: Magic Planet at the Javits Center. Literally I have never seen that many people at a single party before. We really showed our numbers at this one. Cindy Lauper, Bette Midler, STOMP and Cirque de Solei all performed before the main dance party started. It was one hell of a sight to see. The weekend ended with Alegria, which is the traditional Sunday night marathon closing party of Pride. It went for 11 hours, both outside and inside. This is probably the single best party of Pride every year. When they unrolled the massive rainbow flag you see in the video, I swear I've never seen so many grown men cry. It was beautiful.
  8. Today, inspired by the good feels of Oslo's Pride celebration, I had a very public coming out on Facebook (very public; I even set it to 'public' so that any bigots who want to friend me will be able to see it and think better of it). I don't know what I expected, but my friends have just been heaping love and support on me, which is really wonderful. My mum hasn't acknowledged the post, though. I don't know if she just hasn't seen it yet or doesn't know how to handle it or what... What I have told almost every person in my life today is that I'm pansexual (which means that if you're an adult capable of giving consent, I don't care what gender you are or what gender you identify with, or what bits you have or don't have that may not match the binary gender you may or may not exhibit), and that I myself identify as genderqueer or genderfluid. Some days, I feel totally comfortable as the gender I was born as. Other days I just want to slip out of this fucking body and into a different skin. It's a difficult and painful feeling, and one I still don't quite understand. I'm working on that. I'm so grateful to all of you for not questioning me about my gender identity and for just accepting me as I come before you. Being here has played an important part in forming my current identity and helping me figure shit out. Thank you. You're all wonderful and I love you.
  9. This past weekend I had the singular privilege of being able to attend Denver Pride weekend. This was to be my first Pride Parade outside of Vancouver, and indeed my first Pride events outside of Canada at all. Naturally, this means it didn't happen because I got super sick and had to leave before the parade. Before I departed early and fled back to a climate that could support my biology, I was able to re-learn a number of things that we should never take for granted as LGBTQ people and allies. For those who need background information, I attended Denver Pride weekend as part of the Outsports reunion. Outsports is a website devoted to giving a voice and platform to LGBTQ athletes, no matter where they are and what level of competition they participate in. This is what I learned and remembered from being around my brothers and sisters-in-arms. 1. There are more of us than we will ever know, and we truly are everywhere. One of the first things we did on the weekend was hit up the bars and clubs as a group. We packed the house both times. More than half the people at the first club were Outsports people, and even though we didn't make up as big a share of the club later in the evening, there were more of us numerically than the start of the day. People kept coming all throughout the weekend, people who couldn't be there Thursday came Friday. People who couldn't make it Friday came Saturday. But they kept coming. Friday morning when I went to our big discussion event, there was a giant map of North America, and I was asked to put a sticker on where I lived. While the Canadian contingent was small (Go Team Canada!), it was amazing to see how many people from all over the continent were showing up just to celebrate Pride together. That was a powerful image, but of course no one has photographs of it because some of us are closeted and we used our real names on the map. I never thought I'd be going to Denver Pride and celebrating with LGBTQ athletes from Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii or Massachusetts. It was a perfect visualization for how many of us there were. 2. We are diverse, and our diversity makes us strong. Part of the Friday sessions was to learn about each other, so we all wore name tags with our names and what sports we were affiliated with on our clothes so we could make those instant connections. Like I said earlier, I met people from all around North America, and all of us played different sports. I was the only curler, but I met people who played sports I would never consider, and it got me to think that even though we're all different, we're all still athletes and we have a fraternity among ourselves relating to the dedication and the work we all did to succeed in our respective sports. 3. Most importantly; we are, both as individuals and as a whole, stronger than anything that life puts in our way. I got to hear so many people's personal stories, and it shocked me how strong my fellow LGBTQ athletes are, and how privileged and blessed I have been that my life has avoided many of these anxious, stressful moments. I heard from Olympic Athletes talking about their struggles to remain true to themselves in sports where they would be the only LGBTQ person they know, and how they feared losing the support of their teams and their sponsors for living their truth. I heard from closeted athletes, people who'd never considered going to Pride but knew they had to be in Denver to meet their fellows and realize how many of us there are. I heard from people whose families didn't accept them, who worked hard to change hearts and minds and turn people who didn't support them into their greatest champions. I heard all of this from people, and the underlying comment from everyone was that we all succeeded, but we have so much further to go and that together we can do it. We were empowered to change our communities and to change our schools and to change everything about where we are from, because the organizers knew we could all do it if we put our minds to it. The people I met at Denver Pride and the Outsports conference changed me. They reminded me of the good that we can do as individuals and as a group of like-minded people. We are bigger than mountains and stronger than those who hate us. I'll never forget this weekend, and I'm so ready for next year's reunion... assuming it's in a city that won't absolutely destroy me on contact the way the Denver heat and high altitude did.
  10. Follow this link to see a NYPD Cop who loved to dance... http://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/new-yorks-finest#.mrj9d3ADz He even gets a sticker and kiss as a reward
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