Erin Donovan (they / them)
Healthcare Scientist working at East Kent Hospitals in Diagnostic Radiology & Radiation Protection
Where on the LGBTQ+ spectrum do you identify?
I identify as non-binary and queer
What does your work involve?
I perform quality assurance tests on imaging systems used in radiology departments, including X-ray units, CT scanners and ultrasound machines. I look after the personal radiation monitoring of any staff using ionising radiation in the Trust, and I'm involved in providing training about relevant legislation covering radiation (mainly IRR & IR(ME)R).
What challenges have you faced being LGBTQ+? Bit of personal history maybe?
As a teenager, I was bullied for being gay before I even knew what that meant (I was brought up in a very cis-heternormative household, and thanks to Section 28, we weren't taught about homosexuality at school until well after I'd already come out). I've been harrassed while out in public for holding hands with partners and haven't always felt secure to come out in work environments for fear of being treated differently.
What changes could be made to achieve a more inclusive work environment?
Normalising inclusive practices such as sharing pronouns in email footers, avoiding using unnecessarily gendered language in meetings (e.g. saying "welcome everyone" instead of "welcome ladies & gentlemen"), and ensuring policies or patient documentation use inclusive language, and enables people to self identify wherever possible.
What is IPEM doing well for the LGBTQ+ community and it's members?
The IPEM LGBTQ Community group is a great source of support, and has had important discussions around inclusivity of literature available to patients regarding procedures involving ionising radiation. This lead to work with the Clinical Imaging Board to revise their existing patient information posters to make them more inclusive of the trans/non-binary community.
What should / could IPEM be doing to increase LGBTQ+ inclusion?
IPEM could sign up to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index to further review their performance in LGBTQ+ inclusion.
What do you think that the medical physics profession could learn from the LGBTQ+ community and their experiences?
I think that it's important to remember to treat every person as an individual and to not make assumptions because not everyone will conform to our typical experiences. For example, a trans man might require a radiotherapy plan for ovarian cancer, or a trans woman may require a PET-CT for assessing spread of prostate cancer. Everyone has a unique lived experience, and it's important to take this into consideration when you're interacting with people - whether they're patients or colleagues.
Anything else to add?
Making one small change to be more inclusive can make a huge difference to someone, and it can also propagate to make even bigger changes throughout departments & organisations as a whole.