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Guest Blog from Jamie Hirst

Posted 02 July 2018   |   By Verity Calderbank

Jamie Hirst is one of our Customer Board Members and proud Stockport Resident. Jamie works as a Project Consultant, implementing IT software for Universities, with a raft of experience spanning over 20 years in working in the public sector including health, social care and benefits advice.

We are pleased to say that Jamie is one of our new LGBT+ role models here at Stockport Homes, and will be helping us to ensure all our services are open and accessible to all and to say that we really want everyone to feel at home here and happy to be open and honest about who you are #beyou.

 

Jamie has written this blog this to introduce himself which we hope you enjoy - if you have any feedback or questions, please let us know by emailing marketing@stockporthomes.org

 

"I’m a board member, a project consultant, a geek, a baker, a DIYer, a gardener, and a trekker. Oh and I’m gay.

As such I’m happy to put myself forward as an LGBT+ role model for Stockport Homes. What does a role model do? Good question, and one that I am finding out as I go. But for starters, being open about the fact that I’m a gay man, and writing the occasional blog.

For those of you who identify as LGBT+, and for friends and family members, it also means that there is representation on the Board of Stockport Homes, so you can be sure that equality and diversity is being taken serious at all levels, and isn’t just a sound bite. (The board is aware it still has more to do on making itself representative of staff and customers)

When it comes to LGBT+ issues, Stockport Homes isn’t doing too badly, but we can do more – and part of that is about us being explicit and open about our approach.

Research has shown that 1 in 5 gay men feel they have to “tidy up” their home before a visit from a landlord or their staff, – I’ve done this myself in the past, dashing round hiding away copies of Attitude and Gay Times.. Even in Greater Manchester, an area I like to think of as particularly open minded, antisocial behaviour is tolerated by LGBT+ residents as they feel it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know’.

We want to be sure that no one feels they have to hide possessions, such as photos of partners, when having repairs carried out. And we want you to feel safe knowing that homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic antisocial behaviour will be treated with sensitivity and just as seriously as other forms of antisocial behaviour.

How do we get there? Over the next few months, there will be various projects starting up to help achieve our goal of not only being more inclusive, but of promoting that work.

At our recent board meeting, we heard that work is underway with reviewing our policies, making sure they are inclusive in the words they use. A staff group has also been set up to promote and guide our work on LGBT+ issues. We are also engaging with young people in the LGBT+ community to hear from them where we can make improvements.

These may seem like small steps, but they are important steps to take to ensure we are on the right track.

If you have any other suggestions, we’d be glad to hear them, you can email marketing@stockporthomes.org

If you are straight and are wondering what’s the point and/or you think it’s a waste of time, don’t worry; the work we are doing will not affect our services to you.

I could write about lots more, but hopefully I will be asked back soon. We are proud to be supporting Stockport Pride on 29 July, it would be great to see you there, more info on this is here www.stockportpride.co.uk

Speak soon!"

 

 

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Page last reviewed 03/07/2018