Ambulance crew refused to work with lesbian paramedic after she was forcibly outed
A former paramedic said her teammates wouldn’t get into the back of an ambulance with her after she was outed without consent.
While working at West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (WYMAS), medical official Jackie Bell said her same-sex relationship was “outed” by a male colleague.
Bell reportedly met her partner while working at the paramedic service and began dating her after coming to terms with her own sexuality.
The two tried to keep the relationship “under wraps” but were forced to come out to colleagues after one of their team members shared details without their consent.
“Being outed is a really difficult experience and leaves some damage,” she told Manchester Evening News.
“I found out who my real friends were and valued them.
“I also found some new allies that I would probably have never crossed paths with had I not been outed in the manner it occurred.”
After being publicly outed, Bell said she faced “really difficult” discrimination that “left some damage.”
Colleagues reportedly began making comments and calling her nicknames, while others completely refused to get into the back of an ambulance with her.
“Some would say that this was my rite of passage into my ‘membership’ within my ambulance station, I think I disagree.
“I was not alone in this ‘induction’ however – the subject matter and the level of bullying varied.”
She eventually decided to leave the service in favour of the North West Ambulance Service.
By that time, she was in a civil partnership and had become completely comfortable with her sexuality.
She admitted that, while things have improved, she occasionally felt her position as a senior member of the team was not treated with respect due to her sexuality and gender.
“I’ve found more overt behaviours exhibited towards me for being a woman when I joined NWAS than being a lesbian.
“I was not on the road, however – and [I’m] in a leadership role – so the situation was different.”
In a statement, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said that it was “committed” to creating accessible and “inclusive” environments for its employees.
“Significant progress has been made since Yorkshire Ambulance Service was formed in 2006.
“We have a ‘people strategy’ in place, along with working towards the NHS People Promise, which prioritises an approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.”
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