The journey from adversity to equality
Inclusion, acceptance and respect are all essential qualities in the world of social care, as much for those who provide services as they are for those who receive them. LGBT+ History Month is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to celebrate diversity across our sector.
Throughout history, many individuals and communities have struggled with their sexual and cultural identity, a struggle made worse by a society frequently ignorant and hostile to their truth. Thankfully, in 2022, much has been done to resolve misunderstanding and misrepresentation around LGBT+ issues.
In a different time, many would have faced extreme adversity and been wrongly punished, cast out or ignored. It is one of the great joys of living in a country and era which recognises and celebrates diversity and has the legal means to make sure exclusion, discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation are not tolerated.
One of the many amazing things about social care is the way it embraces diversity and strives to help people live the lives they choose. Our person-centred approach focuses on the individual, meaning we are responsive, inclusive and accepting of everyone’s needs and wants.
We must reflect the society we serve
I know some of our LGBT+ colleagues have not always had positive experiences being open about their sexuality. If we want to be true to our social care values, then our own work and life experiences, including all the challenges we have faced along the way, must help us connect and respond to the needs of others.
Embracing diversity is essential in our workforce. We must be a reflection of our constantly evolving society and always remember that recognising sexual orientation, just like a person’s cultural background, is a fundamental human right.
The late prominent American activist for LGBT equality, Barbara Gittings, said: “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts”. Social care is one of the most diverse communities of all and a place where acceptance really has a home.