LGBTQ+ History Month: A moment with Michael Povoas

In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month we are speaking to colleagues across the organisation about their own experience of the LGBTQ+ community, and some of the challenges they face.

This week Michael Povoas, Internal Communications Manager, talks about his experiences and what this month means to him.

Now if I were to visit my 9-year-old self from the future and tell him one day he would be a happy, married and openly gay black man writing a company blog in honour of LGBTQ+ month, that little boy would probably burst into tears. They would not be tears of sadness though, they would be tears of relief, joy, hope and happiness.  

To give you a little background of who I am, I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in South London and now live in Kent. I have been with my husband for 7 years and we have 3 dogs, 3 lizards and 2 rabbits (I’m not a fan of animals but the phrase ‘happy wife, happy life’ is a real thing). I joined the NHSPS family as an Internal Communications Manager last year during the height of the pandemic, so I’m still yet to see if anyone in my team has legs or not…stay tuned.  

To write this blog with such confidence and pride is a big deal for me, it shows how times have changed but most importantly it reminds me of all the people before me who fought for the rights and privileges I have today and the countless others around the world who are still fighting. 

As a child, I dreamt of being this open and honest about myself, and now that I am doing it I must say it feels pretty amazing. 

It is very common in my community to be ostracised and growing up I felt like this a lot of the time. From Year 2 up until university, I felt excluded. Being Black and from a strict Caribbean background there was no room for homosexuality or flamboyancy, so I had to hide from my friends and my family for a very long time. For many Black and POC (people of colour) LGBTQ+ people, our journeys are never a golden brick road. We have to navigate hardships that come from other elements of our identity as well as being part of a culture that does not tolerate any kind of LGBTQ+.

I came out in 2015 when I met my husband, and although that isn’t very long ago, I wasn’t given the warm welcome I had hoped for. It was a very difficult road to cross and if I’m being completely honest, I still have a fair bit to go till I make it to the other side. However, if I could go back in time, I would still do it all over again. 

LGBTQ+ history month is not only a time for me to learn and educate others but also a time to reflect. I am so grateful to women like Marsha P. Johnson who led the Stonewall Riots back in 1969 because without the bravery of a Black trans woman I would not be where I am today. 

My journey hasn’t been the easiest, but it is a journey that I am so proud of and I am even more proud that I work for an organisation that embraces me, understands me and accepts me. I hope that by sharing my story that I can inspire others to do the same, and let others know who are like me – you are not alone.