Vets across the country are coming together to back a new initiative that will support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleagues in the veterinary professions and provide a support network promoting fairness and equality for all.
The new British Veterinary LGBT group (BVLGBT) will meet at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) headquarters at the end of September in London to bring together supporters and start to plan activities for the coming year.
Vet Mat Hennessey started the group after noticing a medics banner at the Pride in London parade and realising that there was a need for representation and support for the LGBT community amongst vets. BVLGBT is open to anyone who wants to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights within the veterinary professions, whether studying or working, and already has nearly 300 members.
Mr Hennessey said:
“Seeing that banner brought to the fore something that I had been aware of for some time – the need for a visible and supportive community for veterinary professionals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and the colleagues who want to support us and promote equality.
“Veterinary professionals are a supportive bunch, but there has not been an open culture for LGBT vets on campus and in practice and that should change. The nature of veterinary work also means that vets can be located in remote, rural regions, without an LGBT community to plug into and this can be a very lonely and isolating experience. BVLGBT wants to engage with all colleagues who could benefit from the group and we are particularly keen to reach out to vets working in those rural areas without an LGBT community to feel part of. We are here for you.”
John Blackwell BVA President commented:
“This is a forward thinking and much needed initiative and one that BVA is proud to support. Veterinary surgeons and our veterinary nurse colleagues work within a close-knit community whether it is practice based or otherwise and the formation of BVLGBT sends a clear message out that the veterinary professions and organisations such as BVA welcome diversity and will fight for equality. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our LGBT colleagues and look forward to marching with them at Pride in London in June 2016, having achieved much in the coming year.”