Mark's story | Stonewall
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Mark's story

Read about Mark’s experience of working in hospitality after leaving school, then going to college in his 20’s and now working in the NHS

Key themes: College, education, NHS, hospitality, career change, mental health

1. Hi, can you introduce yourself?  

Hi, my name is Mark Hurst and I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) from Wirral.

2. Tell us a bit about your journey through education and into work, and if you faced any challenges along the way?  

I was raised in an old-school working-class environment. Growing up queer, I was filled with self-doubt and shame, with projections from an unjust world. I knew I was queer from a young age and like many queer people at the time, I left the council estate as soon as I could. I worked for many years in gay bars and clubs, enjoying my queerness and exploring my new life.

However, in my late 20’s I desired more meaning and purpose in my career.  At times I was crippled with anxiety. However, I started on the pathway through college and into higher education, working part-time in the NHS as an Occupational Therapist assistant and eventually became an Occupational Therapist.

3. Tell us a bit about what you do now, and what it’s like being LGBTQ+ in the workplace  

I have been qualified now for 8 years and I’ve worked all over the UK before settling in a senior post in London. I’m out and proud, and being queer in the NHS is the most accepting and supportive environment I could have wished for. The NHS Trust I work at has an LGBTQI+ forum where we meet regularly for socials and training, and we take an active role in the London Pride march each year.  

4. What advice would you give to a LGBTQ+ young person thinking about taking the next step into the world of training or work?

Feel the fear and, if you’re safe, do it anyway. Acknowledge those negative voices, whether they are internal or external, move them aside and move forward. 

Find out more about a career as an AHP at Reach For The Stars With AHP Careers and Heroes of Health and Social Care.

Discover more about college and further education.

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