At Uniting we welcome everyone exactly as they are. From our Rainbow Tick accreditation in aged care and Pride in Diversity membership, to being awarded one of Australia’s leading not-for-profit LGBTI employers by ACON, we champion diversity and inclusion in all we do. That’s why we’re enormously proud to be a foundation member of Pride in Health and Wellbeing. It underlines how passionate we are in supporting our customers and staff throughout their life journeys, and Dianne Latter’s story below is just one example of our approach in practice.
Case Study – Dianne’s Story
I became aware of my sexuality at 15, but in the 70s it was illegal to be gay and was certainly not something my family would have tolerated back then. I didn’t know any gay people. It was something that you saw on TV; not accepted at all.
It wasn’t really until the age of 49, after meeting a new couple to town, that I came out. They were accepted as they were and I really wanted that for myself; no more living lies. I can’t say it was easy – I even got an email from a former pastor telling me homosexuality was the work of the devil. Yet, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I’d previously been a manager for 14 years at a not-for-profit faith-based organisation, and when I came out as a gay person, they were far from understanding. I was in a relationship with a colleague and when that was discovered, my partner was made to leave because of our relationship. Others, who were in staff-related heterosexual relationships, weren’t forced to resign. Soon after, I left.
When I began searching for a new job, I looked to Uniting. I’d heard it was open to the gay community. Applying for a role as registered nurse in a Uniting service in Hamilton, I was honest about my sexuality at the interview. And I was welcomed with open arms.
There was some discrimination initially; just one person. They would make snide comments about homosexuality in my presence. I reported it to my manager and it was immediately followed through. The person was performance-managed and soon after they chose to leave. Uniting has certainly been very supportive of me.
Uniting follows through on the statement that it accepts everyone as they are. I’ve only ever experienced discrimination from one particular staff member; everybody else has been very open and interested in my story; very welcoming.
We have regular LGBTI training for staff; in person and on the Learning Campus. There’s a whole day of face-to-face training, too. And to see teams from all over Uniting marching in the Sydney Mardis Gras – it means the world to me.
I know I work at a place where I’m completely accepted. I’ve been interviewed for the blogs and featured in one of our promotional videos. Just knowing that I’m treated just like everyone else is pretty special. I’ve got a rainbow flag in my office; the Uniting rainbow stickers all over my equipment and books – it’s a safe place where I feel comfortable and included and valued as a member of staff. My opinion matters.
Our site in Singleton was one of the sites visited for the Rainbow Tick accreditation in aged care, and I was involved in that process, which was wonderful. Now, I’m looking forward to contributing as part of Pride in Health and Wellbeing. Uniting is a foundation member, which is really exciting, too.
Dianne Latter is deputy manager at Uniting Elizabeth Gates Singleton.