Sophie, who is based in Greater Manchester, has been part of the NWAS family since November 2020. Today she openly shares her story to encourage other gay women to be proud of who they are and not to be afraid to be open about their sexuality.
Unlike some LGBT people, Sophie has known she was gay from a young age. She said, “I’ve known I was gay since I was about 13. When I think about it however, I remember not wanting to ever tell anybody because I did not have any knowledge of the community and didn’t want to lose any friends or family. I eventually came out to my friends during university. They gave me the confidence I needed to tell my family and then everybody else knew when I had my first girlfriend.”
Coming out can be a scary experience for many people and not knowing what reaction you will get from your family can be the hardest part. However, for Sophie, she had a positive coming out experience. She told us, “My family and friends were absolutely amazing and accepted me for who I am. My mum was shocked at first as she had no idea and was surprised as it had been almost seven years of me keeping this to myself. But my parents have always said that as long as I am happy that they support me and love me all the same. They love my girlfriend and have welcomed her into our family with open arms.”
Although Sophie has always felt accepted by those closest to her, unfortunately, she has received some negative comments whilst working. But Sophie is determined not to let other people’s opinions leave a lasting mark. She said, “I’ve never let other people’s opinions of me being gay permanently affect me as there’s a whole community of other LGBT+ people and allies out there that love me for who I am.”
Since joining NWAS, Sophie has discovered many more allies, “My colleagues and managers have always been 110% supportive of me and my sexual identity. Everybody has always been welcoming and are always asking about my girlfriend Lucy. I’ve never felt more comfortable to be myself at a workplace. My colleagues often ask me questions and want to learn and educate themselves on our community which speaks for itself.”
It’s not just her closest colleagues that Sophie believes are supportive, but the trust in general. She explained, “I think NWAS is the best place I’ve ever worked in the sense of being inclusive. We have a whole LGBT Network where we can talk about how we can improve and better support our LGBT+ colleagues, including being very present at pride events which I love and hope to attend this year! My experience at work has not been any different than any of my friends and I know whichever way my career takes me I will be judged on my skills as a clinician rather than who I date.”