Transgender activist, writer and performer, Kate O’Donnell is warmly welcomed to Equality and Diversity Week session

Kate O’Donnell, transgender activist and star of stage show Big Girl’s Blouse, was the VIP guest at a session to commemorate Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week here at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT).

The writer and performer joined a number of other special guests at the event on Thursday 17th May including Andrew Gilliver and Louie Stafford from the LGBT Foundation and representatives from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

The event, to raise awareness of diversity and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities, coincided with weeklong celebrations for the fifth annual Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week (16th – 20th May) and followed International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Tuesday 17th May.


(L-R) Mags, Louie, Iain, Kate, Manju & Andrew

Kate spoke about her experiences of being transgender and growing up in 1970s Coventry with her family including two brothers and a sister. She also explored myths and stereotypes of gender and sexuality, and answered questions from attendees.

Andrew and Louie hosted a joint talk about overcoming barriers to LGBT participation in services and clinical research, whilst Gary Heaton and Millie Allen from CMFT’s LGBT Staff Network spoke about LGBT and workplace inequalities.


Dr Gabriel Schembri, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV medicine and Dr Debbie Thomas, Integrated Contraception, Sexual Health & HIV Service Manager, explained more about The Hathersage Centre’s services for LGBT communities.

A quiz was also arranged for attendees. They were encouraged to find out the answers to questions by networking with guest speakers and visiting exhibitor’s stands in the Nowgen Centre. Kate Barugh, Divisional Research Manager for Saint Mary’s Hospital, was announced as the quiz winner by Mags Bradbury, Associate Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, who was also in attendance at the event.

The session was organised by Dr Manju Luckson, Equality and Diversity Coordinator, Quality Lead for the Clinical Research Facility and Divisional Research Manager and Dr Iain McLean, Senior Divisional Research Manager.


Dr Luckson said: “I am so pleased that the event was such a success with staff not just from the R&I Division but across the Trust coming together to learn more about diversity and LGBT communities in the workplace and in clinical research.

It was a pleasure to welcome our guests and I would like to thank them all for coming along and sharing their time, views and expertise to benefit others.

Dr McLean added: “Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week is a national initiative and we aim to highlight our work to create a fairer, more inclusive NHS for our colleagues and patients.

“In the past we’ve hosted sessions including on how to encourage more Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups to consider participating in research and on better supporting people with hearing loss in our hospitals, which have proved very popular with staff. This year’s event was no exception with great feedback from attendees and guests.”


Mags Bradbury commented: “Great to hear our Hathersage Centre talking about their work with LGBT patients” and “proud of our partnership with LGBT Foundation providing support to LBGT communities.”

Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, Bella Starling noted: “Great event.”

Networking for the website