A firefighter from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has appeared in a video as part of a drive to inspire others to have the confidence to be open about their sexual orientation.
The video, which brought together gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers from across the public sector, has been produced by students from Vision West Nottinghamshire College.
The video has been produced as part of a project called 'Our LGBT+ Role Models' spearheaded by the Nottinghamshire Diversity Champions Partnership, made up of organisations who have featured in equality charity Stonewall's list of top 100 employers in the UK for promoting LGBT+ equality, plus a partnership organisation that displays positive practice.
These organisations include Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Homes, Nottinghamshire Police, NFRS, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
The role models project aims to challenge stereotypes and break down barriers which may exist and give LGBT+ employees the platform to be themselves, where they choose to do so.
The organisations came together in 2016 to share expertise, resources and training to further advance equality and diversity within their workplaces and one of their first projects was to produce a booklet featuring LGBT+ role models within their organisations. This has now been expanded to include a series of uplifting individual films showcasing role models' own experiences and their advice to people in a similar situation, while celebrating the positive and inclusive culture within their organisations.
The series features city council project officer Rosey Cox, county councillor Michael Payne, housing company project liaison officer Christian Liquorish, police community support officer Antonia Proudley, firefighter Sean McCallum, healthcare trust senior occupational therapist Elisabeth Britz, head of student support Paul Rana, and EMAS' equality and diversity manager Paul Fitzgerald.
The trailer-length film had its first public screening at the 'Exploring Intersectionality and the Power of Roles Models' conference held today (24 February 2017), which is the second to be organised by the partnership.
Crew Manager Sean McCallum, from Retford Fire Station, says that revealing his bisexuality to his colleagues made him more productive at work.
Sean said: "I don't spend time pretending to be something that I'm not, covering my tracks, worrying if somebody finds out about my difference in terms of sexual orientation. So I certainly felt, within a very short time of coming out in the workplace, that I was performing better. I was much happier."
And while he's proud to be part of the campaign, Sean hopes that LGBT+ role models won't be needed in future.
"That's the goal for me – and to get to a point where sexual orientation is a non-issue," said Sean, who is a former LGBT+ official on the Fire Brigades Union.
You can view the video by clicking here.