Posted: Thu 16th Jun 2016

Relaunched LGBT Network Shows Support For Orlando /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 16th, 2016

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s newly-relaunched staff LGBT network, Perthyn, has spoken out in solidarity for the LGBT community following this weekend’s tragic events in Orlando. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As the Rainbow Pride flag flies at half mast at Council offices in Clydach, Pontypridd and Aberdare, Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Equality and the Welsh Language, said: “At the relaunch last week a key topic of conversation was about how strong, confident staff who are supported to be who they want to be would be empowered to provide a better service for our communities, including LGBT, and speak out against prejudice and discrimination. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Flying the Rainbow Flag at half mast is a sign of our solidarity with the LGBT community, not only in RCT but across the world.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Perthyn, which is Welsh for belonging, was launched last week to ensure all employees have the support and confidence they need to be the best they can be – for their own benefit and for that of the residents they serve. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Perthyn sends a clear message to staff at all levels, as well as all residents of the county borough, that the Council not only has a zero tolerance to discrimination and bullying, but will actively work to stop it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Already a Stonewall UK Top 100 LGBT employer, Perthyn, which includes dedicated allies network to offer advice and support, as well as to challenge discrimination in the workplace and in service delivery, is another important achievement for the Council. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Perthyn was launched this week at Clydach Vale by the Council’s Equality and Diversity Team, with speeches from Council Entitlement Support Officer Martyn David, who will co-chair Perthyn as an LGBT champion, and Tracy Myhill, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and a Stonewall Role Model. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Geraint Hopkins added: “The relaunch of our staff LGBT network is another milestone in our work to create an inclusive, tolerant society in Rhondda Cynon Taf. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We are not just supporting or encouraging solidarity and respect, we are actively ensuring it happens, through our equality work, which includes the Perthyn network. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The work of the allies network will ensure that people are supported and listened to and that there will be no bystanders to discrimination and prejudice.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Martyn David said at the launch: “We chose to name the network Perthyn as it has a number of meanings. It is about members of the LGBT and other minority communities aspiring to belong in whichever way they want to belong. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“But it is also about inspiring, at a council-wide level, the commitment to ensure people belong in the Council and the work it delivers. This includes staff from all walks of life being welcomed and supported, but also ensuring services are delivered in an inclusive manner and the diverse communities of the county borough are reflected. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The introduction of the new Allies Network will see trained staff in a variety of office environments who are on hand to listen, advise and support as needed. They will also proactively be addressing and challenging discrimination and bullying behaviour.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Martyn also explained how the Equality and Diversity team had been working with partners in South Wales Police and Cwm Taf University Health Board to raise awareness and coordinating with organisations such as Communities First, schools and the education department to establish the Perthyn approach from as young an age – and as wide a section of society- as possible. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Welsh Ambulance Service Trust Chief Executive Tracy Myhill is one of the most prolific LGBT figures in the county borough and has also been named a Stonewall UK Role Model for her work to ensure inclusivity, acceptance and support. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

She told the audience at the launch event of her own experiences, during which she went from married to a man with two children to starting a new life with her former personal assistant, Dee, who she has since married. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

She said: “Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is all about people – the people it employs and the people it serves. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“People need to be inspired to be the very best version of themselves they can be. If they are nurtured to do this, they do their best – for the organisation and for its communities. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Living a double life and trying to hide who you really are is exhausting and stressful. I am pleased to see the launch of a network to focus on a positive, supportive, open and honest workplace in which people listen, people accept and time is shared. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Confirming you have a zero policy stance on bullying and discrimination is a step in the right direction, but actively working to do all that you can to break down barriers in your company culture and communities is a step above and beyond.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Tracy’s open and honest dialogue about LGBT issues, how they affect those involved and how the actions of a company – in terms of what it does and does not do and say – led to her being invited to speak at Stonewall conferences, as well as educational events, NHS equality days and delivering mentoring. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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