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Staff celebrate Sydney WorldPride 2023

Inclusion and acceptance the themes at staff event.

A row of people pose with rainbow umbrellas behind a drag queen and king.
SydneyConnect Image: Staff pose with Cassandra the Queen and Sexy Galexy at RPA.

"We all deserve the right to be ourselves.” 

That was the message from Sydney Local Health District’s Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson to staff as the District celebrated diversity in its workforce at an event held during Sydney WorldPride 2023. 

Staff from across the District donned glitter and fancy dress to gather at RPA’s Kerry Packer Education Centre where Dr Anderson outlined the District’s commitment to supporting LGBTIQ+ staff and patients, their families and their friends. 

She also directly addressed LGBTIQ+ members of staff who were present. 

“You are welcome here, you are included here, you are celebrated here,” she said. 

The Manager of the District’s Healthy Living Program Shane Brown, who marched in Sydney’s first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, shared his experience of coming out, of fighting against discrimination and why he wanted to be honest about his identity. 

“Silence was not going to progress my cause and would only prolong the status quo,” he said. 

There was also a panel discussion featuring the District’s Program Manager for LGBTIQ+ and Men’s Health Erin Heine, the founder of the Australian chapter of The Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists Dr Bhushan Joshi and the Manager of Positive Central, the District’s community HIV allied health team, Alison Cowell. 

Staff from across the District also shared what WorldPride and chosen family mean to them in a video message. 

The emcee, drag king Sexy Galexy, performed along with Cassandra the Queen. 

It was a moving, entertaining and fun evening that reflected the mood of the District’s celebrations for Sydney WorldPride, which began on 17 February. 

To kick-off the festivities, Dr Anderson and NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce joined staff at a District stall at Mardi Gras Fair Day, held at Victoria Park in Camperdown. 

The District’s Mobile Health Clinic has been at Pride Square in Newtown providing free mpox vaccines, safe sex supplies, rapid antigen tests and Dried Blood Spot testing for HIV and Hepatitis for eligible community members. 

Meanwhile, visitors would have noticed the colourful transformation that has seen the District’s hospitals, facilities and services decked out in rainbow and progress flags 

The District’s new inclusivity statement launched to coincide with WorldPride, is also on display. It reads “all people. abilities. cultures. genders. identities. languages. sexualities. welcome here.”  

The District has also become the first to display the LGBTIQ+ version of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. 

This charter explains what patients can expect when receiving healthcare, in terms of access, safety, respect, partnership, information, privacy and feedback opportunities. 

Both have been put in place to demonstrate the District’s commitment to providing inclusive healthcare environments for patients, staff and the community. 

The celebrations will wrap up with Dr Anderson set to join Ms Pearce and tens of thousands of others for the Pride March across Sydney Harbour Bridge this Sunday 5 March.