BVLGBT+ has gathered nearly 800 members and supporters since it began 5 years ago, demonstrating its relevance to the profession.
BVLGBT+ has received vocal and practical support from across the profession and has the endorsement of the BVA, BVNA, SPVS and the RCVS. It has affiliate status at BVA council.
Building a Community — Supporting Individuals — Campaigning
We want to help everyone in the professions learn how to build more supportive workplaces for their LGBT+ friends and colleagues.
We frequently receive requests from leaders in the profession to explain or give advice on LGBT+ issues. How can I be more supportive to my LGBT+ team? Where can I learn about trans issues, about pronouns and about being supportive? We also receive feedback from our members on their experiences in practice where, for example, bullying by other members of the team is not recognised by leaders for what it is. There is an educational need.
Progress requires a better understanding by everyone in the veterinary world of LGBT+ history and, most importantly, of the lived experiences of LGBT+ people. The challenges LGBT+ people face are not unique to our professions, but the stresses that vets and vet nurses experience in their working lives make them particularly challenging. We believe that the best way to improve things is for members of the professions to educate one another.
We aim to produce and distribute a range of educational resources to suit the needs of different veterinary workplaces and learning centres including nurse training colleges, universities and practices large and small, independent and corporate. We will produce these resources in stages, building a portfolio of material accessible to all. We will work with other veterinary organisations and our allies to produce and share these materials. We will also make them relevant to the BVA Good Workplace Initiative.
BVLGBT+ supports LGBT+ student groups across the vet schools and we are increasingly active in nurse training colleges.
Our Student Network was set up to support these groups, providing speakers for freshers’ weeks, financial support for events and travel bursaries for students to attend Pride and our Welfare days.
This year we plan to focus on three areas:
i. University Events
We want to support all our vet schools and nursing colleges to put on Freshers’ Week and term-time events.
ii. Pride and Members’ Day Travel Grants
Attending Pride is a transformative experience for people discovering their sexual and gender identity. We want to extend our successful travel grant scheme to widen participation. We want to support our students to attend Pride wherever they are.
Our Member’s Day, focussed on Wellbeing and Building Resilience, has been a huge success. We want to make it free for students to attend.
iii. Student Bursaries
LGBT+ people are more likely to be marginalised. Some have been ostracised by their families or have come to veterinary medicine later in life. We want to provide a small number of formally-managed bursaries each year to help LGBT+ vet and vet nurse students in financial need.
i. Developing Our Website
Our website was re-launched in 2021 with the aims of moving away from Facebook, having better engagement with our members and the wider profession, and more efficient management of our events. We will continue to grow this as our main form of communication: using it for distributing email newsletters and hosting event sign ups.
ii. Membership Campaign
We will formalise our membership, which is currently based on membership of a Facebook group. Membership of the group is open to LGBT+ members of the professions and para-professions and their allies.
Members signing up will be asked to commit to our aims, to provide a location and email address and to complete a voluntary survey. There will be a voluntary one-off donation or annual subscription. Members will then receive the BVLGBT+ pin and a welcome letter.
The website is key to supporting the membership campaign. We will also be able to gather and report on the demographic make-up of our membership.
i. Residential Members Weekend
We plan to host our annual residential Members’ Weekend again, replicating the success of previous members’ days.
The event will include an education programme, outdoor activities, mindfulness training and a dinner. We hope to subsidise the cost to members and to make it free to students.
ii. Pride Events
Pride month and the celebrations around it are the high points of our year. Our members proudly march behind the BVLGBT+ banner, wearing that year’s Pride t-shirt. Pride events foster great friendships and build support networks.
We will attend London Pride, marching from BVA headquarters and into the main parade. We will host a reception before the march and social events afterwards. As in previous years we will attend a second Pride in force.
We will support members to attend other Pride events across the UK and Ireland.
iii. AGM and Members’ Day
Our annual AGM will be held in 2023 (Date TBC). It will include educational training and a lunch.
We aim to provide financial support to students attending.