Hannah Heavens is our Straight Ally Champion

Hannah Heavens
Hannah Heavens

Hannah Heavens has been chosen as our Straight Ally Champion by the Executive of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Staff Network.

Hannah became a straight ally after attending a workshop last September run by Stonewall, an organisation that campaigns for the rights of the LGBT community. 

The workshop was for Oxleas staff interested in supporting LGBT colleagues as 'straight allies'. Hannah explained why she went along: "Prejudice is completely intolerable to me and I want people to see how stupid it is. The workshop really got me hooked. It explained that a straight ally is a heterosexual person who supports equality for LGBT people and challenges homophobia and discrimination. And it showed me there were things I could do to help people that would make a difference." 

One of the first things Hannah did was to join the Executive of our LGBT Staff Network. She wanted to help develop our Straight Allies Staff Network and volunteered to be our Straight Allies Champion. Hannah explained: "It means people can put a face to the Straight Allies Network. I travel around the trust a lot in my role as Clinical System Transformation Coordinator. So my face is familiar to many people. It means I can spread the word about what straight allies stand for and show my support for LGBT friends and colleagues. " 

Hannah said why she thought straight allies were needed: "I don't think people are actively hostile to the LGBT community, but many are unaware of the problems this group can face. Like feeling uncomfortable talking to colleagues about their lives or what they did at the weekend. Normal office talk can really isolate people if they don't feel they can join in. I'm not trying to 'out' people. But I want to support them to be able to bring the whole of themselves to work, to feel comfortable being out if they want to. And when people are happy at work they are more productive, which can improve the services we provide to our patients."

Published on 19th February 2015