As we celebrate Pride Month this June, we’ve spoken to some of our staff about what Pride means to them.
Our Volunteer Engagement Manager, Jodi, started with Austin Health/ONJ Centre in August 2020 as a Volunteer Engagement Advisor.
‘‘I struggled with my identity for most of my life,” Jodi said.
“For the longest time, I felt as though I was not a part of the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Growing up in Tasmania during the 90’s when the fight to decriminalise homosexuality was all over the media (before the law finally changed in 1997) led to anxiety and many issues around self-esteem. I always knew I was gay but came out very late due to fear.
‘‘I am proud every single day. The day I came out was the scariest and most liberating day of my life.
“I had been in a relationship for fourteen years and just couldn’t do it anymore. After my daughter was born, I realised I could never expect her to be her authentic self if I wasn’t living my own truth.
“I am now married to the most amazing woman, and we share parenting of my daughter with my daughter’s father. I make an effort to be very open and visible about my identity as a lesbian.
“I want to be recognised as gay and seen as being incredibly proud of it. For me, it’s not Pride Month, it’s pride full stop,’’ she said.
Physiotherapist, Conrad, joined Austin Health in 2018 as an Allied Health Assistant.
‘‘I was born in Canada and first came to Australia in 2000 on my gap year and loved it,” Conrad said.
I moved here around seven years ago after meeting my partner who is Australian and to take up the opportunity to study physiotherapy.
“I came out to my parents in high school and, fortunately, they were very supportive.
“Marriage equality was legalised in Canada in 2005 and going through the plebiscite here in Australia was tough, but now we are on the other side of it, it is nice to see increased public support and to know there is nothing holding my partner and I back from getting married.
‘‘I think I am proud every day of the year. However, Pride Month is a time when I can be vocal and speak up for myself and others. It is about self-love, acceptance, celebrating who we are as a community and love across the spectrum.
“It is amazing to see how Pride Month has evolved. For the LGBTIQ+ community, it is important to remember our history and where we came from so that we don’t take anything for granted,’’ he said.
We care for a diverse range of patients at the ONJ Centre and it's vital to us that everyone feels welcome.
Happy Pride Month! #pridemonth2022