Ruth Aten-Shearwood — CQC staff LGBT+ role model campaign
These are personal stories from members of our LGBT+ Network to support Virtual Pride.
Hi, I’m Ruth Aten-Shearwood, an Adult Social Care Inspector based in the Central East Midlands. I just had my 55th birthday at the end of June. I’ve had a number of jobs and two ‘professions’ in my working life. I started out like many people working in restaurants, retail and lower-skilled office jobs. After finishing my BA degree in the USA (I’m American) in Criminal Justice I went into law enforcement — both uniformed response and detective work — and remained in this field for nearly 17 years.
In order to be able to marry my British partner (same-sex marriage or legal partnership wasn’t a right in 2009 in the USA, just in a handful of states) I moved over to the UK and we entered a civil partnership, later converted to marriage. I undertook an MA in Social Work in the UK and went into Social Work for a local authority and from there moved into a Contracting/Commissioning role for adult care.
All of my ‘adult’ work has been about trying to help people who are in difficult circumstances, as victims of crime, people with specific vulnerabilities or conditions and to try to support them to move forward or to seek justice for them. I believe that being a lesbian has allowed me to see things from a different side and to identify with people who may face discrimination. I have faced discrimination both in my private and in my professional life when working with the Police back in the USA. I understand how that feels and I think it is important to reach out to anyone who is struggling — to anyone who is unsure, coming out without someone to talk to, someone who faces injustice or has protected characteristics.