On Sunday, 23 May, Northern Health marched at Pride March to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) community.
This is the second year Northern Health took part in the march as part of Pride in the North in collaboration with DPV Health, Nexus Health, Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, Kilmore District Health and Hume-Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership.
Electra Ulrich, co-chair of the LGBTIQA+ Working Group, took part in the march. She said as someone who identifies as part of the rainbow community, Pride March held an important personal meaning.
“I have gone to a number of Pride Marches when I was younger, and to be marching as part of my work at Northern Health, sends a message to the community, but also to one internally for me, that I can be myself at work, that I don’t need to hide and that I am accepted. I hope that other staff members and the consumers of our health service hear that too,” she said.
“It’s such an important message to give to our staff and community – that we respect and celebrate the rainbow community. The recent ‘Private Lives 3’ research in LGBTIQA+ health in Australia, conducted by La Trobe University, showed that 63.9 per cent of LGBTIQA+ people surveyed thought it was very important or extremely important that a health service is known to be LGBTIQA+ inclusive.”
“This is such an important message because unless we are proactively saying this, we cannot assume people know.”
Chrissy Nicolaidis, co-chair of the LGBTIQA+ Working Group, also marched on the day. She said it was an important message to the LGBTIQA+ community that health services are inclusive.
“We know that members of the LGBTIQA+ community don’t always feel safe accessing healthcare. We hope that health and community organisations in the north marching together to show our support will allow members of the community to feel more confident to access these services.”
Another marcher on the day, Sherrilyn Ballard, Consumer Participation Coordinator, said, “It was uplifting to march alongside my Northern Health colleagues as part of the Pride in the North group. I felt we were there to affirm our collective support and commitment to the LGBTIQA+ community members in accessing inclusive and safe services with us every day.”
Rachael Evans, Associate Director Dietetics, also took part in Pride March, and said the day was full of colour and fun.
“I was impressed with the wide cross section of organisations supporting Pride. I also like how Northern Health collaborates with partner organisations from Melbourne’s north. I think this adds strength and consistency to the messaging,” she said.
“It’s important for Northern Health to march at Pride March to publicly demonstrate that Northern Health actively supports LGBTIQIA+ staff and community members and to promote Northern Health as a safe and inclusive employer and healthcare provider for LGBTQIA+ staff and patients.”
If you are interested in being involved in the LGBTIQA+ Working Group, email LGBTQIA+Enquires@nh.org.au.
Featured image: Electra Ulrich and Chrissy Nicolaidis, co-chairs of the LGBTIQA+ Working Group