February 9, 2023

Sea of rainbow at Pride March

It was a sea of rainbow and pride in St Kilda on Sunday as part of the Midsumma Festival Pride March.

The iconic, colourful march is a proud and loud celebration of the LGBTIQA+ community, culture and arts, and commemorates solidarity in gender and sexual diversity. The march began at 11 am at the Ian Johnson Oval, before proceeding along Fitzroy Street and ending in Catani Gardens.

Northern Health first marched at Pride March in 2020 with the Pride in the North network, and again in 2021. This year’s event marked the first year Northern Health marched under its own banner at Pride March. It was also the largest group since 2020 representing Northern Health at the event.

More than 40 staff members, from across Northern Health sites and departments, proudly marched, including Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director People and Culture, and Basil Ireland, Chief Financial Officer.

“It was great to participate in this year’s Pride March,” Michelle said.

“Marching allowed us the opportunity to reiterate to the community that Northern Health is here and present, as a workplace which acknowledges and respects individual differences.”

“As the Chair of the Northern Health Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, it allowed me to actively contribute to Northern Health’s inclusive culture, which is about everyone feeling valued and respected.”

For Basil Ireland, Sunday was his first time participating in Pride March.

“I thank my colleagues for encouraging me to come. The group from Northern Health was so warm and welcoming, and the walk down Fitzroy Steet was a buzz. I was really pleased that I took part, and I was proud to represent Northern Health,” he said.

Below are the experiences of staff who marched with Pride.

“As a long-time ally, I was so proud to attend the March, and see the joy of people, being free to be who they are, in a safe environment. Excellent to see Northern Health be part of this,” said Paula Murray, Patient Experience.

“Pride March was a very exciting, colourful and proud day for all who attended. This was the largest group to represent Northern Health since our first attendance in 2020. We had over 40 people marching. Northern Health marching alongside other Victorian health services demonstrates that there is a solidarity between the LGBTIQA+ community, allies and staff. The general public recognised our banners and now know that the next time they come to Northern Health that there will be staff who respect, celebrate and value them,” said Andrew Grey, Rainbow Working Group member, Outpatient Services.

“Marching with Northern Health provided a great opportunity to represent the LGBTIQA+ communities and allies from the north. I got to be part of an organisation that promotes the values of safe, kind and together within our great team!” said Ramon, Periop Nurse, Broadmeadows Hospital and Northern Hospital Epping.

“It means so much to me to be openly queer at work and it was certainly very special to share that celebration with my colleagues at the Pride March, whilst also making some new work friends,” a participant said.

 “I attended the Pride March as a Rainbow Ally for the first time – it was really incredible to see so many people from so many organisations, not just health networks, showing their support for all our family, friends and colleagues who are part of the rainbow community. It was a fun and vibrant day with some spectacular outfits and decorations on show,” a participant said.

 “I felt proud marching in Pride March 2023 representing Northern Health. With the biggest turn out ever, it shows that we have some wonderful proud with pride people working within our organisation,” said Leigh Howard, Rainbow Working Group member, Victorian Virtual Emergency Department.

“The Midsumma Pride March is a day where we celebrate our strength in diversity and show our LGBTIQA+ patients and staff that we see you, we celebrate you, and we are working to make Northern Health a safer and more inclusive space,” said Chrissy Nicolaidis, Co-chair Rainbow Working Group.

“It was fantastic seeing Northern Health Staff come together to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. A number of staff marched this year – from across sites, and different roles in the organisation, said Electra Ulrich, Co-chair Rainbow Working Group.

If you would like to join the Northern Health Rainbow Working group, email rainbowgroup@nh.org.au.