Pride Month: Queen’s Hospital employee on importance of being LGBT+ ally

BHRUT security advisor Mark Stephens

BHRUT's security advisor, Mark Stephens has been a "key ally" for its LGBT+ community since it started. - Credit: Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

A security advisor has shared why he became an ally member for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) LGBT+ network for this Pride Month 2021 and called for others to do the same.

Mark Stephens, who works mostly at Queen’s Hospital in Romford but also across BHRUT, has shared his Pride story in celebration this June. 

Attending BHRUT's LGBT+ Network for staff - which relaunched in 2019 - Mark said he remembers finishing the meeting and colleague commenting on the fact that he is straight.

He said that it didn’t bother him much, but got him thinking: “What did it matter if I was?”  

"I’ve seen a difference in how people are treated right back to my days in the military in the early 80s, when my girlfriend at the time was kicked out for being accused of lesbianism, just for lying on opposite ends of the same bed with another female," Mark said. 

“The rule was that you had to have at least a foot on the floor. We’ve come a long way since then and I find that the inclusivity between staff in our trust is mostly good, however, I’ve seen the way patients and visitors sometimes react to our staff due to their sexuality.” 

As an ally member in the LGBT+ network, Mark provides support to its chair and head of patient experience, Victoria Miles-Gale, who said he is the most “consistent ally”. 

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She said: “He supports us in everything we do and this makes a huge difference to me, to our network's members, and our wider LGBT+ community, including those we care for. 

“I am so grateful to Mark for his support, and would like to encourage more of our colleagues to join us as allies.” 

Mark said: “I’m proud to be an ally and doing my bit to ensure our trust can offer the most inclusive service for our LGBT+ community.  

“We need more people to become allies to challenge negative behaviour and help us get to a place where everyone is treated equally, on a level playing field.”