30 May 2019 | Animal health
British Veterinary LGBT: James Whitmore's story
To celebrate LGBT History Month, equine vet James Whitmore talks about his veterinary career, and encourages fellow vets to be true to themselves and remain proud of who they are.
Telling our stories, making our own history
LGBT History Month
Name: James Whitmore BVetMed MRCVS
Qualified as: a veterinary surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 2014
Area of work: After graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 2014 I undertook an 18 month equine internship in medicine, surgery and anaesthesia at Cotts Equine Hospital in Pembrokeshire.
Following the internship I travelled through SE Asia and Australia before returning to Cotts, I currently work as a purely equine vet from our satellite practice in Cardiff and my passion lies in lameness, sports medicine and reproduction.
What inspired your path into the veterinary profession?
I have ridden, evented and had respect for horses since a young age. During my teenage years I was unfortunate enough to manage horses with catastrophic fractures, strangles and colic. It was these experiences that inspired my path into becoming an equine vet, I wanted to improve my knowledge of equines and help other people in the same situation.
What has been the most challenging part of your career?
Following a ‘fairly sociable’ 5 years at the RVC in London I moved to Pembrokeshire in Wales to complete an 18-month equine internship. Working a 1:2 rota and living on-site in a very rural area required a dramatic and challenging change in my work-life balance.
Those 18 months went extremely quickly and provided me with a lot of invaluable experience but at times I felt isolated. Sports, fitness and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy acted as a great distraction outside of work.
What has been the best part of your career so far?
Every day as a vet presents a new challenge, overcoming those challenges whilst gaining the respect of colleagues and clients is incredibly rewarding.
What are your proudest achievements of your career?
I feel extremely proud when clients send me photos of their horses who are back out competing following injury.
What advice would you offer to someone experiencing difficulty with their sexuality or gender identity?
There is no hurry to label your sexuality or gender identity and more importantly, don’t allow it to define you. If you are subjected to discrimination seek support as it is important to understand that people who discriminate lack understanding. Don’t allow this lack of understanding to make you feel bad about yourself. If you don’t have somebody to talk to please message BVLGBT+.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Be true to yourself and remain proud of who you are - life becomes a lot easier when you accept your sexuality. Be more honest and open with family and friends about being gay - as a teenager I was concerned about their acceptance but they have become the most supportive, understanding and protective people in my life.
- British Veterinary LGBT: Sam’s story - written by Sam Morgan, President of the British Veterinary Nursing Association, published for LGBT history month 2017
- British Veterinary LGBT: Peter's story - written by Dr Peter Jones, BVA President 2012-13, published for LGBT history month 2017
- British Veterinary LGBT: Charlotte's story - written by Dr Charlotte McCarroll, published for LGBT history month 2017
- Follow @bvlgbt on Twitter, like BVLGBT+ on Facebook or email [email protected]
- Rallying the troops for British Veterinary LGBT+
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