LGBT+ History Month: Interview with Charlotte, one of our trustees

For our fourth and final interview marking LGBT+ History Month 2024, we’ve had a chat with one of our trustees, Charlotte Fiander (she/her).

Our conversation is set out below. We hope you enjoy reading it.

Please could you tell me a little about yourself?

I have worked in charity communications for the past 17 years. I live in Brighton with my partner and our two cats. I joined the board at Switchboard towards the end of 2023 and I’m really enjoying being involved.

What does LGBT+ History Month mean to you?  

I think LGBT+ History Month provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on the progress that has been made in LGBTQ+ rights and everyone who has done so much work before us, and helps bring a focus on all of the work still left for us to do.

Is there anything or anybody that it makes you think about, reflect on or do? Do you celebrate or mark the month in a certain way?  

This year, I’m particularly thinking about the amazing team at Fighting With Pride, a military charity that supports LGBTQ+ veterans, serving personnel and their families, particularly those who were affected by the ‘gay ban’ that was ultimately lifted on 12 January 2000.

The theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month is #Medicine – UnderTheScope – what does this make you think about?  

It makes me think of all the researchers and scientists who work tirelessly on HIV and AIDS, and of all the medical staff who are striving to provide the best possible healthcare for all LGBTQ+ people.

It also makes me think about the continuing issues with healthcare for the trans community, and how we all need to keep working to ensure that they get the support and care that they need.

How would you encourage readers to celebrate/mark LGBT+ History Month?  

I think it’s positive that everyone feels that they can mark it however feels right to them – whether that’s remembering someone or something in LGBT history that means something to them, or taking part in an event.

What would you say about Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard’s place in LGBT history? 

LGBT Switchboard is an important part of Brighton and Hove’s history and its development to provide vital services across the LGBTQ+ community should be remembered and celebrated. With our 50th anniversary coming up next year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all the progress that the charity has achieved – and the vital support that it continues to provide.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about LGBT+ History Month?

I hope that everyone who wishes to mark the month feels safe and supported.

*If you haven’t had chance to read our other three interviews marking LGBT History Month 2024, we invite you to catch up with our chats with Mehul, who attends our social events for older people; Michele, who volunteers on our helpline; and Reuben, our Social Prescriber.