Always Proud: Becky introduces Pride month

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As Pride month begins,  our LGBTQ+ networking group has exciting things planned for our internal Always Proud campaign. 

This month is a time where nationally we all come together to highlight, inform, raise awareness, support, and celebrate the LGBTQA+ community.

And here at WDH, we recognise Pride is not just colours, parades and inspiring celebrations. It is about showing solidarity in the face of discrimination, demanding equality, being accepted and respected, feeling safe in your choices, and feeling free to love yourself.

A sentiment we stand by as an inclusive community and an ally. Not just for a month but always.

Becky Maulkinson, Vice-Chair of The Pride Network – WDH’s Employee Resource Group, is kicking off the month by chatting with us about why she feels supporting young people in the community is important, and why she is proud to be part of the group. 

“My passion for inclusivity as a whole and the LGBTQ+ community has always been strong, however working alongside young people at a local high school gave me the drive to advocate for them and their families.

“I’ve had the absolute pleasure of supporting young people through the difficulty of being a teenager and all the social and societal pressure intertwined with that. In addition, for some of these young people to be questioning their sexuality, their identity and everything in-between, it was extremely important to me that I could empower them to build confidence in the person they are.

“I helped young people through the process of coming out, changing their pronouns and the names they were known by. This was never an easy process for the young people and making sure they felt safe and understood was so important.

“It took such bravery and determination to get to a point where students would feel the benefits of gender euphoria outweighed the worries and pressures of other people’s opinions. It was so incredibly rewarding to see the sheer relief and acceptance the young people felt when they were called the name they really wished to go by, were given the correct pronouns that made them feel comfortable and that had a support network that would uplift them to where they needed to be for their own wellbeing.

“Supporting young people through processes and life experiences like these, in turn, filled my world with such warmth, knowing I had been a part of someone’s journey was so incredibly rewarding. Parents of the young people I supported were also wonderful. It was such a delight to be a point of contact for parents who just wanted to ‘get it right’ for their children. We would talk through ways that parents could be great allies to their children, discuss different resources  parents and their children could access and encourage each other to keep going for the young person’s best interests.

“Of course, challenges  arise when you are trying to break down barriers, bias and stereotypes. I would discuss with young people the importance of allyship, why inclusivity is important for all and how anyone in the LGBTQ+ community and with other protected characteristics deserves to be accepted and empowered.”

 

Why is Pride so important to you?

“For me, PRIDE is about compassion and paying it forward. If we can make a better, more inclusive world for our young people, if we can support parents in becoming brilliant allies and if we can empower those who haven’t always felt powerful, then we are going in the right direction.

“I am very proud to be the Vice-Chair of The Pride Network – WDH’s Employee Resource Group, and I am determined to keep developing a workspace which is inclusive for all, and where the LGBTQ+ young people I supported could work happily, feeling just as accepted and supported as they did when I was their person at school. The young people I worked with were phenomenal and I would be honoured for them to become my colleagues one day, so I will keep working hard to develop a workplace that would work for them.

“I am always proud of them all.”