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LGBT+ History Month: The community that inspired Harry

26 Feb 2020

Harry Stallwood, Ward Administrator for Grosvenor Ward at Lakeside, joined West London NHS Trust in 2007 and quickly noticed there was very little support for the LGBT community within the organisation.

However two years later, Kay Allen, a service manager at the Trust, formed an LGBT Network Group and inspired Harry to play a central role in making it a success. The group was formed at a poignant time for Harry, “I learned that my former Lead Youth Worker – Keith Trotman (in the 1970s, he was the first black man to discuss his homosexuality on British TV) had recently died. I was in a kind of mourning, lost and was unsure of how to best remember him.” Keith is pictured above, centre left, with Harry on the right.

In the time since Harry joined the group, there have been a lot of positive changes for the wider LGBT+ community, the biggest for him being when gay men and women were legally allowed to marry in Britain. “The changes in Ireland also brought me joy as we have untied laws across the UK,” Harry adds.

These big policy and attitude changes have inspired Harry to play an integral role for the community, leading him to being appointed Unison LGBT+ Contact Officer for the Trust’s branch. He also plays a leading role with regard to the LGBT+ Network Group, following in the footsteps of Kay Allen, who left the Trust.

What is Harry’s advice to staff working with patients and colleagues as part of the LGBT+ community?

“We need to be aware that LGBT+ service users are more likely to be frightened and unwilling to access NHS services due to feeling those who are meant to help them are ignorant of their sexuality. Similar to the issue of staff from different ethnic backgrounds – we also need people from various LGBT+ cultural backgrounds, so hiring more from the community will help service users aid their recovery without fear,” Harry says.

Harry is passionate about how LGBT+ staff and service users are treated and is willing to be a source of greater inspiration to colleagues across the Trust.