Samantha Payne RVN, BVNA Council Member and representative on the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, talks about diversity and Pride in London.

“Saturday June 27th, the streets of London should have been filled with hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Pride in London, but this year we’re having to find new ways to celebrate together. Many virtual Prides are being organised by friends, associations and groups across the country.

Celebrating diversity and inclusion is always important and we’re reminded of the importance of raising awareness when we see the continued attacks on the trans community - highlighting the need for further education and greater allies.

In 2019 Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [RCVS] formed the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group [DIWG], created to ensure a focused approach moving on the issue.   The aim of DIWG is to help continue breaking down the barriers in place in the selection, recruitment and retention of veterinary professionals, and to encourage more diversity within the profession. DIWG recognise there are many factors within the complex issue of diversity and inclusion and there is a long road ahead.

The Group continues to meet regularly to gather further information on where the profession is today, where we need to get to and also where we need to get to in the future.”

Samantha goes on to express her feelings on being a transgender veterinary nurse:

“Pride has a very personal meaning for myself. Being one of few transgender veterinary nurses in the profession, I aim to be out, and I am proud of my journey to where I am today.

I am a trans veterinary nurse and very aware of those in the profession who may need to see other members of the LGBT+ community before they feel they can be out themselves. There are far too many veterinary nurses who are not able to be out at home, let alone within the practice because of prejudices and fear of discrimination.”

What about the BVNA and support from other organisations?  Samantha says…

“BVNA has a history of diversity but my hope for the future would be to increase diversity in terms of LGBT+ and BAME and my involvement in RCVS DIWG will help to increase the impact of BVNAs diversity and inclusion practices going forward.

Progress is made when different people with different experiences and backgrounds come together: we educate each other, we learn and grow. British Veterinary LGBT+ are a veterinary association that was created in 2016 to help the profession with education on LGBT+ issues within the work place and to celebrate diversity. Their continued aims are for better education at all levels from teaching to out in the work place.  You can find them on Facebook and a new website will be online soon.”

Article written by Samantha Payne RVN, BVNA Council Member.

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