1st Fareham Scouts | Speaking with Explorers
At the beginning of the month, Chichester Pride was invited to speak to 1st Fareham Scouts and their Explorers about LGBTQ+ Rights, Pride and Identity - and to answer any questions from the Explorers and Leaders.
Mel was also joined by Lt Cdr Oliver Brown of the Royal Navy, who shared their story about being diagnosed with HIV, and being medically suspended from his job - read more below.
Thank you to Gary and all those who were involved, this was a great experience for Mel and to continue her education outreach.
Read more about the evening, written by Gary Callaghan (Group Scout Leader 1st Fareham):
Excalibur ESU were delighted to have the Meon Valley ESU join them for an evening based on Inclusion.
As our Scouting values tell us, we have an important role in supporting people that have had tough experiences and are going on journeys we may not understand, but as members of the Scouting movement, we need to show support, challenge inequality and be that person someone can talk to.
1st Fareham Scout Group GSL Gary Callaghan welcomed the 30 Explorers/Leaders and the 2 guest speakers who both shared their experiences and the journeys they have gone through whilst dealing with very different situations.
First to speak was Lt Cdr Oliver Brown of the Royal Navy. Lt Cdr Brown shared his story about going from being diagnosed with HIV, contemplating suicide as he was medically suspended from his job, right through to getting help, and using his time on suspension to research HIV, review the policies set out by the Armed Forces and work out how he was going to challenge the heads of the forces with his findings.
Lt Cdr Oliver was successful in challenging these policies and this has led to a national change in policy and can now continue to enjoy his career. “Being diagnosed with HIV in November 2019 was a shock and my knowledge of what my life would become was lacking. I did not even know if I would be able to remain in service. I was glad to learn this was not the case and my life would change very little except for one tablet a day”.
Next to speak was Mel Hamilton. Co-chairperson of the first-ever Chichester Pride event. Mel shared her story from being born a Male to becoming a transgender female and how she approached the many different challenges such as telling her family, having to move away from her support network and dealing with many things on her own. She also gave the background of how the Pride movement was formed and what it stands for.
She gave an insight into what can be expected at Chichester Pride and plans for future events. We were even lucky enough to share the visit with the Chichester pride monkeys, Amethyst, Scarlet, Sherbet, Beryl, Amigo and Maurice! Chichester pride takes place at Chichester University on the 28th of May and more details can be found here: https://www.chichesterpride.co.uk/
Events like these are really important not just within Scouting, but for the whole of society. It would be great to see more events like this happening in our district/county and hopefully, this can be a catalyst for change.
Gary Callaghan GSL 1st Fareham
More about 1st Fareham Scounts: www.1stfarehamscouts.org