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  • Anna Harrington

Why be an LGBTQ+ Ally?

I am an LGBTQ+ ally.

The way this is activated is by me trying to inform, educate and explain to others largely through social media channels. Educate myself and others. For this purpose, I have found GIRES to have good eLearning courses.

I am a public health nurse. Our role is to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of populations. Professionally I have a responsibility to speak up and out, to defend. Personally, my dominant values are social justice, fairness and equity. As a young person from birth, I experienced discrimination, aggression and violence due to my colour. All this adds to me being triggered to action when I observe the actions and inactions of people in power in relation to the trans community; as I have some experience of what it is like to not fit in, to be excluded and professional understanding as to how damaging this is for the individual and our society.

I thought I would do an opinion piece as a blog wrapped up with explaining sex and gender. Great places to learn about gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and sex are – World Health Organisation Q & A and GIRES. Both of which many in our current Government would do well to dedicate time towards exploring.

A person’s gender is inextricably linked to their sense of knowing who they are, no-one can tell another that they are wrong in knowing who they are. The reality is that people are assigned a sex from birth based on external anatomy. The person usually is brought up with the cultural and societal norms for the gender associated with that sex – a penis=male=boy, a vulva/vagina=female=girl. As a person psychologically, socially, biologically develops so does an inner sense of what gender they are. Mostly this coordinate in a binary way to the sex assigned at birth but sometimes it does not. This can lead to a discomfort and distress known as gender dysphoria. Mental ill health can occur as a consequence of gender dysphoria. Gender variance or gender nonconformity is not gender dysphoria.

It is a complicated world but part of me says it really does not need to be if we can just accept and respect the way people present themselves, listen to and if able implement requests to assist people live as who they feel they are.

Most people have been socialised to binary gender terms. Consequently, conclude that people who do not fit into these groupings are different. Difference can provoke questioning, doubting, suspicion and on the extreme end violence. Or it can trigger intrigue & questioning. Debates can become heated, polarized and regressive. Trans people are at risk of what the British Medical Association, UK Council of Psychotherapies and Royal College of Psychiatry state is damaging, degrading, discriminatory & not a creditable form of treatment. As a healthcare professional I pledge to provide fair treatment and care of all who declare themselves as LGBTQ. & btw do you know what the flag above represents as it may be different from the one you are used to seeing? The brown and black stripes are recognise people of colour, pale blue and white stripes, represent marginalised people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the trans community, and those living with HIV/AIDS. The arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made. The circle represents those who are intersex.

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