Hospital staff on facing discrimination in their family and former jobs

Angel Toledo and Marina Page

L-R: Angel Toledo and Marina Page - Credit: BHUT

Transgender staff at an east London hospital trust have spoken out about the discrimination and rejection they have faced when coming out to their families and in previous jobs.

Marina Page, a domestic services worker at Queen’s Hospital, said she was disowned by her parents when she told them about her plans to transition and was barred from attending her mother’s funeral.

Despite her family’s refusal to accept her, she began her permanent transition in August 2015.

Speaking on International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, Ms Page said spending the weekend away as Marina was a turning point.

She said: “I had been able to be Marina for all of that time. At the end of the weekend, I decided to be her full time so when I got back, I told my parents.

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“Sadly they were not supportive and both disowned me. It was no surprise to me. In 2015, my mum died suddenly and I compromised and asked to attend her funeral in my birth name.

“I received a text barring me from the funeral and I no longer speak to my dad or sister.”

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But Ms Page said her colleagues at contractor Sodexo and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) were supportive.

She added: “I explained my decision to change my name and transition, which was really liberating and scary at the same time. Some were shocked but everyone was very supportive.

“The next day, I came to work dressed as Marina for the first time. I was delighted to receive my new Marina name badge the following week.

“I have been Marina ever since and everyone in the hospital has respected this.”

Nurse Angel Toledo also said she received support and acceptance at BHRUT after being forced to wear male clothes and cut her hair working at a hospital in the Philippines.

Ms Toledo, 28, said: “Back home, living as a trans person is not so easy and I felt I had to sacrifice who I was to do a job I loved. That’s why I was so happy to come and work at our trust – I’ve felt comfortable and accepted right from the beginning.

“Even during the interview process I was accepted and able to wear a dress and make-up – I was so overwhelmed, I cried.

“It was surreal coming here and getting a female uniform and being able to have long hair. Back before I began transitioning, I didn’t look in the mirror much.

"Now when I do, I see the person I really am – it’s something money can’t buy, it’s being you.”

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