Emma Baldry : My LGBT Inspirations

Emma Baldry : My LGBT Inspirations

Photo : Emma Baldry

February is LGBT History Month and International Women’s Day follows soon after on 8th March. Here Emma Baldry tells us more about the two females, who also happen to be lesbians, who have inspired her, and continue to do so.

Having trained and worked as a Secondary School teacher, after 9 years of teaching, Emma Baldry decided it was time for a change of career. Having volunteered and fundraised for charities Diversity Role Models, Stonewall and Albert Kennedy Trust and coordinated Liverpool Pride 2015 ‘Education For All’ area she looked for a job where she’d be able to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. She found it and she is now the Training Coordinator for Broken Rainbow – the National LGBT Domestic Violence Charity.

When we asked Emma what lesbian or bisexual females had inspired her she told us, “For me there are two lesbians who have been hugely inspirational to me. The first is comedian, actress and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. As a young, questioning teen I remember the way Ellen ‘came out’ as her character in her sitcom ‘Ellen’ and as herself on the Oprah Winfrey Show, both in 1997. For me growing up she was one of the few lesbian role models out there showing me, and the world, that being lesbian didn’t stop you from being able to fulfill your ambitions.”

Talking about her own ‘coming out’ Ellen said : “I didn’t ever that I was going to come out. I wanted to know what the inner dialogue of my subconscious mind was, and it was scary and crazy. What came out of listening to what I had been saying to myself is, ‘Would I still be famous? Would they still love me if they knew I was gay?’ And my fear was, ‘No, they wouldn’t.’ Then it made me feel shame that I was hiding something. It made me feel shame that I couldn’t be honest and who I am. I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”

“For me growing up she was one of the few lesbian role models out there showing me, and the world, that being lesbian didn’t stop you from being able to fulfill your ambitions.”

Emma’s inspirations : Ellen DeGeneres and Claire Harvey

Talking about an inspiration closer to home, Emma continued, “The second person that has inspired me is Claire Harvey, a very good friend of mine. As one of Team GB’s only ‘out’ Paralympians she fights against adversity every day and does this with style and rainbow socks! She isn’t afraid to be her, wherever she is competing in the world. In everything she does, she shows that it is ok to be who you are and love who you want to love. That’s a key message that everyone should hold on to.”

Discussing the challenges she faced being the first openly gay Paralympic athlete with EY, Claire said : “It was a really odd position being one of only two openly gay Paralympians in London 2012. I was asked about the people who’d supported me, and of course, it was natural to talk about my partner, who’d been an absolute bedrock of support. I think my advice is to just be yourself. Of course it brought some problems; it brought some issues around some of my colleagues and how much knowledge they had about LGBT issues and some of the fears they had about sharing rooms with me and that sort of thing. It also brought a level of publicity, which perhaps we didn’t necessarily need during the middle of the competition. But at the end of the day, you are who you are, and you have to be proud of that. If I had to hide my sexuality, I don’t doubt for one minute that I’d have never got onto the team, let alone be able to be in the Paralympics.”

Keep connected with Emma on Twitter :

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About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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