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London Ambulance Service celebrates Pride 2024

Thousands turned out to support London’s annual Pride parade this year, with London Ambulance Service staff taking part on this year’s float.

While off-duty staff enjoyed the celebrations, it was a busy Saturday for their colleagues who were working around London and supporting the event with the Service receiving 6,527 calls, compared to 5,500 on a typically busy day.

James Clarke, Emergency Medical Technician, the newly appointed co-chair of LAS’s LGBT+ network, said the event had been a success and staff had enjoyed the party atmosphere while making their way through the capital.

Paramedics with the London Ambulance Service attending the Pride in London parade in June 2024

He said:

“It was a wonderful day and I must pass thanks to colleagues who were working to care for London who may have wished to join us.”

And as Pride month draws to a close, new co-chair James has set out his vision for making the London Ambulance Service more inclusive, including making sure individuals are more aware of their rights and everyone becomes more educated on these matters.

Throughout his nine years with the Service, he has seen a lot of progress, but he says there is always more that can be done.

James said: “Since I joined LAS I’ve seen a lot of progress across the Service, particularly active work in the LGBT+ network. Co-chair Emily Simpson and Trans lead Sam Rule have put in a lot of effort and undertaken a lot of work to help ensure every manager coming into LAS gets specific training on people who are transitioning or who identify as non-binary. This posted training from the network helps progress across LAS and supports staff moving forwards.”

James added: “My personal ambitions for the network are multiple and varied. But there is still a need for progress and the work is never done. Being black and gay, and obviously as a member of those communities I have faced adversity, but I’ve also had a lot of support.”

London Ambulance Service paramedics taking part in the Pride march in London on 29 June

James’ mother was the first black female Church of England deacon and vicar. He recollects being “scared” when he first came out to her but being overjoyed by the support she gave to him.

He said: “She was the first black female deacon in the Church of England, so when I told her I was gay, it was a bit of a hold the hat moment. She’s been really supportive – but you don’t always get that. I’ve been to patients who discriminate against me – whether that’s questioning my background and where I am from, or not wanting to be treated by me – just because of who I am.”

Combatting this discrimination is a focus for James in his new role. He says education is a key focus and way to tackle this discrimination.

James added: “Small education steps going forwards are the best way to tackle this issue. The important thing is that we learn best how we can better care for our patients on the situations they are in, on the terminology you can use and how we can best support our patients as well because under the LGBTQI+ umbrella there are so many different types of people – across all different intersectionality’s.

“Our patients come from different races, demographics, ages – there is a whole spectrum of factors which could be impacting them.

But the work is not over and more active participating in LGBT+ communities and the network is important. This Friday he has organised a staff networks conference which will open up conversations on the network, wellbeing and the aims the network aims to achieve.

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