Fire Service celebrates LGBT History Month 2021
Throughout February, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is joining individuals and organisations around the world in celebrating LGBT History Month.
As an equal opportunities employer that promotes an inclusive workplace, ECFRS will be celebrating the month with its staff by proudly flying the LGBTQ+ flag at the Service’s headquarters in Kelvedon, educating staff and the public on LGBT history and staff will be sharing stories about their experiences either as an LGBTQ+ individual or straight ally.
The theme for this year’s LGBT History Month is Body, Mind and Spirit and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s LGBTQ+ staff support group, BEING, will be signposting staff and the public to support services.
BEING is one of many staff support networks in the Service and aims to support ECFRS employees through peer support, mentoring and social networking to help create an LGBTQ+ friendly working environment.
It also aims to increase an understanding of LGBTQ+ issues within ECFRS, raise awareness of LGBTQ+ events and visibly show support to all members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
Matt Hill, Chair of BEING, said: “It is always important during LGBT History Month to reflect on exactly that – our history. The LGBTQ+ community have faced significant discrimination both culturally and legally in our recent past. In just over 50 years, we have seen huge amounts of change, protecting people legally and demonstrating as a country, that we embrace the LGBTQ+ community – but some things have taken longer to change than they should have and culturally have we really moved on?
"Why are young people still fearful of coming out and embracing their gender identities and sexuality? Why is there still a disproportionate number of LGBTQ+ people with mental ill-health, dying by suicide and with alcohol and drug dependencies? Because there is a legacy of shame.
“We all have a responsibility to help erase this – by being kind, by educating ourselves, by challenging inappropriate behaviour, by demonstrating with our own behaviours that we accept and embrace everyone our path crosses.
“Not all of us will identify as LGBTQ+, but we are likely to all know someone who is – someone we work with, a friend or family member. And more importantly we may know someone and not know they are LGBTQ+. Imagine being an ally to someone who is not out. Someone sitting next to you or overhearing a conversation and you are being kind and showing your support for the LGBTQ+ community. That has real power.
“This year’s theme of ‘body, mind and spirit’ connects all the issues highlighted above – that LGBTQ+ people’s mental and physical health must be supported – not more than others – but with specific attention given to it. And we can do this by just showing acceptance.’
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is an equal opportunities employer and celebrates the diversity of its staff. If you would like to join Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, visit: join.essex-fire.gov.uk
To kick off LGBT History Month, BEING has shared some links below to support for parents of LGBTQ+ children as well as a timeline of LGBT history over the last 50 years:
- 1967 – Sexual Offences Bill 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts in private between men aged over 21 in England and Wales
- 1971 - The Nullity of Marriage Act was passed banning same-sex marriage
- 1981 - The first case of AIDS was recorded in Britain. A 49-year-old man was admitted to Brompton Hospital in London. He died 10 years later
- 1985 - Health Minister, Kenneth Clarke, enacts powers to detain people with AIDS in hospital against their will
- 1988 - Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any mainland school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”
- 2000 – The Labour government scraps the policy of barring homosexuals from the armed forces
- 2003 – Section 28, which banned councils and schools from intentionally promoting homosexuality, is repealed in England and Wales and Northern Ireland
- 2004 – Gender Recognition Act giving trans people full legal recognition in their appropriate gender
- 2008 – Parliament passes provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, creating a new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred
- 2010 - The Equality Act 2010 legislates for equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services
- 2014 - Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales on the 29th of March under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
- 2017 – The Policing and Crime Act 2017 pardoned all historic instances criminal convictions of gross indecency against men. This became known as the ‘Alan Turing law’
- 2020 – Same-sex marriage became legal in Northern Ireland
- 2020 – Blood donations lift blanket ban for any men who have had sex with men in the last three months meaning men in a long-term relationship will now be able to donate blood at any time
Page last upated 1 February, 2021