Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service launches ‘Fireproud’

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service launches ‘Fireproud’ network for LGBT staff

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is proud to launch a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender network for staff today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT), May 17.

Taking the name ‘Fireproud’, the network seeks to provide a safe, confidential and supportive environment for all MFRS staff who identify as LGBT and others who identify under the LGBT umbrella.

It will exist for anyone in the organisation to offer help, information, support, advice or just a better understanding of LGBT issues.

Launching on IDAHOT, an international event that aims to raise awareness of LGBT rights worldwide, the Fireproud network will establish a calendar of events where staff can meet, network and socialise.

Firefighter and chair of the Fireproud network, Lorraine Lowe, said: “It’s vital for us to have a work environment where everyone has a chance to achieve their potential, free from barriers, prejudice and discrimination.

“Fireproud will help every member of staff who identify under the LGBT umbrella feel supported and empowered, providing peer support and confidential advice.

“We are thrilled to be launching on IDAHOT and look forward to Fireproud becoming a valuable resource to all our LGBT staff.”

Equality & Diversity Manager, Wendy Kenyon, said: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is committed to supporting our diverse workforce and Fireproud will be available for anyone in the organisation to access help, information, support and advice, or just gain a better understanding of LGBT issues.

“As members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, we are committed to supporting our LGBT staff and communities, and we are working hard to create an inclusive workplace for all staff.

“We recognise the value that LGBT staff and service users can bring to the Service and are taking active steps to make our policies, actions and services as inclusive as possible for LGBT staff and service users.

“Through the Diversity Champions Programme, Stonewall provides support and advice to the Service and enables us to reach our full potential for LGBT equality.”

“Any member of staff experiencing difficulty due to their gender identity or sexuality will be supported in confidence and Fireproud will provide a safe forum for LGBT staff to network.”

Councillor Dave Hanratty, Chair of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority, said: “I am proud that the Authority is supporting this event today and promoting equality and diversity throughout the Service”.

A rainbow flag is currently being flown above MFRS headquarters in Bootle to mark the launch of Fireproud and celebrate IDAHOT.

IDAHOT is held on May 17 each year to commemorate the World Health Organisations’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.


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