Pride will march on despite COVID-19!

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by Nic McGrath

The SFRS has this month celebrated Pride and proudly flown the rainbow flag across the country.

 

Due to COVID-19 social restrictions, Pride events couldn’t go ahead as planned and many have been postponed or moved online.

       

However, SFRS Director of People and Organisational Development, Liz Barnes, has outlined how the service has continued to celebrate diversity in these unprecedented times.  

 

She said: “Normally at this time of year we’d expect to see the street and parks full of colour, vibrancy and music. But this is not the pride month that any of us wanted or expected.

 

“Nevertheless, we’ve been proud to work alongside our LGBT colleagues and the communities we protect, year on year. And we will continue to do that whether that be through social media, virtual meetings or face to face, where that’s possible.

 

“SFRS recognises that things can’t change overnight. What is takes to achieve real equality is consistent hard work and regularly challenging discriminating behaviours.”

 

Earlier this year, the service launched a recognised employee network scheme giving colleagues from protected characteristics the opportunity to join together and support one another.

 

An LGBT network has been established by colleagues, bringing together members of the community and allies alike.

 

Director Barnes added: “We know that there is still much work to be done and we’re determined to do that by working together with our employees, our partners and our communities to make sure that we achieve our ultimate aim of true diversity.

 

“I’ve no doubt that even in the current climate our communities will come up with creative ways to celebrate pride, and I’m really looking forward to see what they come up with.

 

“Pride will march on despite COVID-19!”

 

Lynn Sweeney, is a Community Safety Advocate for Argyll and Bute, East and West Dunbartonshire. She is an LGBT+ ally, proud to support her colleagues and out communities.

 

She said: “Pride Month is an opportunity to have a conversation about being an LGBT employee and an LGBT ally within the fire service.

 

“It’s common knowledge that when employees feel able to be who they are, they are happier and perform better.

 

“As an LGBT ally, I hope to use my role within the organisation to create a culture where this can happen."

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