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NELFT staff share their stories for LGBT+ History Month

Photographs of Hayden, Jay, David and Reema, NELFT logos

This LGBT+ History Month, we are sharing stories of queer staff members recognising their contribution and exploring what the month means to them.

LGBT+ people have different experiences and challenges, adding a new dimension to conversations, projects, and practice. 

Some have felt they could not be open with their sexual orientation or gender identity in the past and are taking their first steps towards being their authentic selves at work.

Photograph of Hayden


Hayden Keleher

Hayden (he/him), who

 is the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response Lead, identifies as gay and first joined NELFT at 16 years old on work experience. He started at the IT Service Desk and has since gone on to spend seven years working in IT as an analyst and engineer, as well as on projects.

Hayden said: “Love is love and there is no set manual to it, we only live once, and we are not on planet earth for very long when you look at it. Love is a special thing, and everyone deserves to embrace it, no matter who it is. It’s your life, no one else’s so make the most of it by you, doing you!”


Photograph of Jay


 Jesse ‘Jay’ Beaman

Jay (he/him), a Peer Support Worker, is an openly trans man. Jay has been a service user for over 15 years. He wanted to give back to the Trust by becoming an Involvement Representative to help teams across different localities find the right people that fit their services.

Jay said: “LGBT+ history month is so important to me as it is an opportunity for us as a community to remember and celebrate queer individuals and remember those who are no longer with us but are never forgotten. A time to come together and share our history and help promote safe visibility and support to the community”.




Photograph of David


David Simms

David (he/him), the Directorate AHP Professional Lead, identifies as gay and is a black man with a learning difficulty, dyslexia. David also volunteers at the British Dietetic Association alongside his current roles on the Professional and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committees.

David said: “My orientation, race and specific learning difficulty have each presented me a unique set of challenges in terms of navigating life and work. However, I take strength from my identity as I know it has guided who I am today”.

“I would encourage you to continue that journey too. If we share an identity, or even if we don’t, you can achieve all you want to. Despite obstacles I have come much further than I expected and know you can too.”

Photograph of Reema


Reema Huzair

Reema (she/her), the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) lead, is a queer woman of colour who identifies as omnisexual and demisexual. Reema has a degree and master’s in psychology and further studies in Counselling. She also worked in frontline mental health for eight years and has done equalities-based work for ten years. 

Reema said: “ Similar to many queer people of colour I had a difficult time finding paid work and housing for a while, a result of overlapping discrimination. So, I paid for my education and more through modelling, dancing in music videos and in clubs. I first learned about NELFT when I became a user of service. NELFT helped me get back on my feet, so it is a joy to work for them.

LGBT+ History Month reminds me of the way that queer women of colour like Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera fought for the rights we have today, and how it’s vital we continue their work .”


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