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Home  »   LGBT+Latest News   »   LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network Newsletter – June 2023

LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network Newsletter – June 2023

This month's June update coincides with Pride Month which is celebrated as a way of raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBT+ community along with promoting acceptance and equality. We are also using this month to celebrate our network members and the work they have done to improve the lives of LGBT+ pharmacists in the UK.

Wed 7th June 2023 The PDA

In this issue: 
  • Celebrating PDA LGBT+ Network members
  • United Nations expert advises the UK to keep calm and respect diversity
  • My coming out journey
  • Education, time, and effort: facing challenges together as a community
  • Rest
  • Get involved
  • In case you missed it

Celebrating PDA LGBT+ Network members

This Pride Month we are taking the opportunity to celebrate our LGBT+ Network members.In April 2023, trainee pharmacist and co-opted member of the PDA LGBT+ Network, Soh Xi Ken won the Scottish Trades Union Congress’ (STUC) Equality Award. The award praised Xi Ken’s tireless advocacy for LGBT+ workers within pharmacies in Scotland, highlighting his personal experience of homophobia in Scotland and his home country, Malaysia.

Most recently, Liam Volk was elected as the second President of the PDA LGBT+ Network. Liam works as the lead pharmacist for medicine and anticoagulation at North Devon District Hospital and has been pushing for greater LGBT+ inclusion in his workplace.


United Nations expert advises the UK to keep calm and respect diversity

By Jayne Love, PDA Organiser and Lead on Equalities 
The United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IE SOGI), Victor Madrigal-Borloz, paid a 10-day visit to the UK in April and May 2023.

In Victor Madrigal-Borloz’s preliminary statement, the IE criticised the Bill of Rights Bill, originally tabled in the UK Parliament in June 2022 to repeal and replace the Human Rights Act 1998, because it could negatively affect existing human rights protections.

Victor highlighted discrepancies between the UK government’s and devolved administrations’ approaches to human rights law and policy, using the Gender Recognition Reform Bill as an illustration. The Scottish Parliament passed this bill in December 2022, but in January 2023 the UK government blocked it from receiving Royal Assent and becoming law.


My coming out journey

By an anonymous PDA LGBT+ Network member

I’m not ready to let people outside the PDA LGBT+ Network know that I’m bisexual. I find it inspiring for people who have come out and have the confidence to be their true selves. Maybe one day in my journey I will too.

The topic hasn’t really come up talking with friends and family so I couldn’t let it naturally slide into conversation. I don’t have the confidence to bring the topic up myself or ‘announce’ it. I don’t want to be loud about it, but it would be nice to know that people are accepting of me.

I’ve found comfort in being a member of the PDA LGBT+ Network and knowing that it’s a safe space. The network has made me feel accepted and I told people my sexual orientation as everyone else was doing so during introductions. It’s reassuring to be part of this group and know that I have people to talk to for advice and guidance.

I’m not as active as other members of the group but I read conversations and support the networks’ work and views. As much as I want to join in discussions, I sometimes don’t know how to because I don’t want to say the wrong thing.

I’ve learned that there may be other people who feel similarly and are hesitant to open up or maybe still unsure of themselves. The PDA LGBT+ Network is there for people going through all stages of their journey as well as allies. It’s so reassuring to have this group and not be alone. I feel much better knowing that I have people to turn to for support, who would understand.

Education, time, and effort: facing challenges together as a community

By Sebastian Sarama (he/him), hospital pharmacist and PDA LGBT+ Network member
PDA LGBT+ Network member, Sebastian Sarama (he/him) shares his views on LGBT+ visibility in healthcare, the stigma, and mental health issues members of the LGBT+ community face. Sebastian also shares the importance of embracing diversity and acceptance. 

I have been living in Wales for more than nine years now. It is a lovely country with beautiful beaches, mountains, friendly and kind people, and a unique culture. I have even been learning the Welsh language and adopted some Welsh traditions as a foreigner. It is not surprising I became a British citizen in my lovely city of Wrexham. Additionally, I feel very proud to work as a pharmacist. Being a pharmacist is a part of my identity.

Another part of my identity is being a gay man. I am proud to be part of the LGBT+ movement. The acceptance of my sexuality empowered me to reach even higher than expected. It gave me hope that we can build a better future for the future generation. Through LGBT+ organisations in England and friends, I met incredible and inspiring people while living in Wales. The feeling of being accepted and supported is enormous.

However, there are also many problems that our community needs to face. There are no LGBT+ places in the city where I live and there is a significant lack of local support structures in my area. People are trying to cooperate together in formal groups to support each other or initiatives. There are no LGBT+ events. The situation is not better in the healthcare services.



By Soh Xi Ken (he/him), co-opted member of the PDA LGBT+ Committee and trainee pharmacist 
Rest as a verb means to cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.

A particularly pertinent action especially now, where many other healthcare professionals are deciding or have recently taken industrial action, community pharmacies, and pharmacy professionals are expected to do more with less. Exam season has started at the time of writing this article (mid-May) and trainee pharmacists have about a month to go before the registration exam. Virtually all sectors of pharmacy are experiencing incredible demand, pressure, and stress.

Therefore, the most radical thing any pharmacist, trainee, or student can do is rest, in spite of the chaos. Rest, without guilt or feeling like you must sacrifice more than you already have.

The thing I would like to point out about LGBT+ pharmacists is that we are some of the most incredible members of the workforce (in my opinion), which worries me in a way that a candle burns the brightest because it is the shortest lived. Imposter syndrome pushes us to work harder to not only prove to others but to ourselves, that we are good at what we do and we are deserving of respect. I also want to highlight that other people who have minoritised identities may resonate with this in a similar fashion.

Therefore, rest is a radical action. Actively choosing to rest, enjoying your time on Earth, rejecting the notion that your achievements define if you should be treated with respect. Pharmacy is a lovely career, but it should not dictate you to slave away at it, non-stop, with no end in sight, especially not in your free time.

Our labour is precious, so let us step back for a step forward to appreciate it more.

Get involved

  • Join the PDA LGBT+ Network here.
  • Follow the PDA LGBT+ Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAlgbt.
  • Contact the PDA LGBT+ Network committee know by emailing
  • Please also feel free to share this mailing with a colleague that would like to read it.
  • We will have a presence in the Manchester Pride Parade on Saturday 26 August, save the date and register your interest in joining us here
  • Join the PDA LGBT+ Network Facebook group here
  • Join the PDA LGBT+ Network WhatsApp group here.

In case you missed it

Below are recently published PDA news items relating to the LGBT+ Network.






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