Marie Curie is working to provide inclusive care for the people of Yorkshire this Pride Month and beyond.
Every single person is shaped by the life they experience – the good and the bad moments in our lives make us who we are and dictate the way we move around life.
Marie Curie want everyone who uses our services to not hide or censor any part of themselves. They want the end of life experience for everyone to be the best it can possibly be, and that means they need to understand those barriers people have faced in life, particularly people from marginalised communities.
As a firm supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Marie Curie has been actively present at Pride events across the UK over recent years. However, due to coronavirus, many events in the UK have had to be cancelled, including London Pride.
Fortunately, a lot of activity is still taking place online. London Pride is running a virtual lockdown edition with a bid to generate 30,000 acts of allyship in support of marginalised LGBTQ+ communities, and the very first Global Pride will be taking place on 27 June 2020.
Marie Curie have published the Hiding who I am report which explores the reasons why LBGT people experience significant barriers to getting palliative care when they need it. This showed that nearly three-quarters (74%) of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people are not confident that health and social care services provide sensitive end of life care for their needs.
In July 2019, Marie Curie signed up to be a Stonewall Diversity Champion , building on our existing work to promote LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion among our staff and volunteers, as well as the patients and families we supports in hospices and communities across the UK.
Also, in December 2019, they launched their LGBTQ+ Ally Training programme, introducing a Marie Curie rainbow flag pin for staff to wear to show our service users that it is a safe space for them. To get the pin, staff have to complete a training module to understand more about the LGBTQ+ community and the barriers they face in accessing care.
Hannah Taylor, the Head of fundraising for Marie Curie in the North of England and Yorkshire, is proud to wear the new pin, as she has received verbal abuse and hate mail in the past because of her sexuality.
Hannah Taylor said:
In my early career I was asked if I had a boyfriend and I said ‘yes’. I regretted the words as soon as they came out of my mouth and I was so disappointed with myself – I’d betrayed myself and my girlfriend.
Once people have been corrected, most people learn not to make assumptions again, but the impact every time on the person is a reminder you’re not seen as ‘normal’. I mainly find it tiring but it also makes you feel vulnerable.
Now, if you put those same scenarios into context of someone being terminally ill and in the last days of their life, when the stakes are much higher – the decision to ‘out’ yourself is a big one.
The Rainbow Pin is such a positive move to help overcome these situations, and I am proud to wear my pin as a visual sign that Marie Curie is a place where people who identify as LGBTQ+ are respected, valued and accepted.
Marie Curie say that although they are very proud of their achievements to date, they are very aware that the road is still very long until everyone is able to enjoy the best end of life experience.