Fire Service reflects on what Pride month means
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been celebrating Pride month and with many Pride events cancelled due to the pandemic, staff have reflected on what Pride means to them.
The Service usually attends Pride events in Essex where it gives fire safety advice and talks about the different job opportunities in the Service.
With Pride events cancelled this year, the team is reflecting on what Pride month means to them and their experiences at past pride events.
Matt Hill, Community Development and Safeguarding Coordinator, and Chair of BEING – the Service’s LGBTQ+ network said:
“Pride to me is still a political protest – a demonstration that although our culture and our laws have moved on significantly, that there is still progress to be made. To reduce the fear and stigma felt but the LGBTQ+ community, particularly the trans and wider gender identity community, so young people and next generations can live freely and openly and most importantly with lives full of happiness and love.”
“My best memory of Essex Pride, is watching S Club 7 (which in reality, was actually only S Club 2!) with colleagues and Fire Cadets from our Service. Not only was it a connection between generations, but between allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community. It was joyous and colourful and I was proud to be representing our Service in such a positive way.”
Nikki Hudson, Inclusion & Diversity Business Partner said:
“Pride, for me as an Ally, is a moment of pause and reflection, a time to consider how far we have come , in the quest for equality for people who identify as LGBTQ+. It is a celebration for all that has been achieved and a demonstration of how far we are yet to travel to reach the day when LGBTQ+ people can live freely, without fear or inequality.
“As a Service, we are here to serve every individual that lives, works and travels in Essex, our visible support of the LGBTQ+ community sends a clear message to our colleagues and communities, equality saves lives.”
Paul Pemberton BEM, Impairment & Disability Officer said:
“Pride is such an inclusive event. Everyone is made to feel welcome and the whole day is filled with smiles, laughter and a mutual respect for others.
“Whenever I have attended a Pride event there has never been a question of why I am there from the LGBTQ+ community, no judgment because of my sexuality, no uncomfortable moments as a perceived cultural imposter, no exclusion or being treated differently, just total acceptance and inclusion. There is a lot to be learnt from the LGBTQ+ community.
“I attend Pride as an ally and to raise awareness of fire risk and how to be fire safe, but I see myself as the winner in attending these events as they have given me awareness and inspired me in the values of being kind, inclusive and accepting of others.
“If you have the chance to attend a pride event, go! You will not regret the experience.”
Pride month might be coming to an end but celebrating diversity is a full time commitment for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
As an equal opportunity employer, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service celebrates the diversity of its staff and communities throughout the year. If you would like to join Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, visit: join.essex-fire.gov.uk
Page last updated 25 July, 2021