Me and Pride

Martin and Darran

03 / 7 / 2015 10.39am

Darran Hudson is a communication manager at NHS Employers

Before I started work at NHS Employers I had never been to a Pride event. In fact I can honestly say that if I hadn’t been offered the job and accepted, I’d probably never go to one… 

Why? To be honest it's something I've never had interest in.

That was until I went to Leeds Pride in August 2013. It was the turning point for me in a number of ways. You see I've been very lucky to have incredibly supportive parents, friends and work colleagues who've been nothing but accepting, supportive and there for me over the years - from the time I told my parents I was gay to telling my best friends who I grew up with to coming out to work colleagues in a predominantly male, and slightly intimidating work environment. I've had an easy ride. I also grew up in a relatively quiet part of Leeds and never really entertained the gay scene, in fact quite closeted but through choice. My best friend refers to me as the 'world's worst gay'!

But, I know my story isn’t the same for many.

I’ve always been aware that gay men and women have had to fight for where they stand in the community, and that fight has never been easy. But, it wasn’t until I started working with Paul Deemer on the equality and diversity team and learning from him, reading research about bullying and harrassment, and speaking to colleagues that you grasp there is still a problem in workplaces across England, and it needs fixing. So that easy ride for me has now turned into a rocky road for many.

Nowadays we can't get away from the impact that social media has, there's not a day goes by without seeing a thread or picture posted from someone who's been the subject to an attack be it verbal or physical because of their sexuality. Why is this still happening?

My take on that is that we still live in a world where there are some incredibly ignorant people who refuse to move on and consider that homosexuality is bad. Bad for who? As far as I can see, the world is a better place where more people are allowed to be with, love and create new families with whoever they want to - variety is the spice of life! 

So back to my first Pride - I'll admit I was apprehensive - I've never been comfortable with crowds - doesn’t matter who they are - but the thought of thousands of supporters, flag waving, singing, dancing in the streets overwhelmed me somewhat. But, what amazed me the most was the outpouring of support, sense of community, acceptance and inclusion from everyone who was there - it didn’t matter who they were supporting it's the fact they were there. 

And that brings me to Pride in London 2015 – 55 Baker Street and the NHS Employers open top bus full of people from neighbouring NHS organisations ready to show their support for LGBT patients and staff, waiting with baited breath amongst another 259 vehicles to start the parade through the streets of London to Trafalgar Square. We found ourselves surrounded by staff, friends and family from the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, London Ambulance Trust, Central London Community Health Trust, Central and North West London NHS Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust and many more – it was heart-warming to see the support. Anti-gay activists tried to hold up the parade and yes, they delayed it by over two hours but that only made people more determined to sing and dance and celebrate. As the NHS convoy reached the crowds on Oxford Street and Regent Street the volume increased with the sound of people cheering and chanting NHS NHS – WOW!

I was able to take a moment by myself and I thanked god for making me who I am. I’ve never been happier. 

So, it’s fair to say London has prepared me for anything now – next stop Sao Paulo or Madrid. I will continue to support Pride now for as long as I work at NHS Employers and I will continue to help communities and individuals with their struggles and plights because everyone is entitled to a happy and loving existence. 

My happiness is soon going to be shared with my family and friends because in 2017 Martyn and I will marry – yes, marry. I never ever thought it would happen to me – but it is, and I’m the happiest man alive!

Darran Hudson is a communication manager at NHS Employers

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