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LGBT+ History Month role models: James Ede

01 Feb 2024 | James Ede


To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, throughout February we are featuring Q&As with some key role models. In our first blog of the series James Ede, Companion Animal Vet and Practice Owner at Millie’s Vets, shares his experience of the veterinary profession and reflects on the importance of representation within the profession.

LGBT+ History Month role models: James Ede Image

What inspired your path into the veterinary profession?

Having grown up on a dairy farm in Staffordshire, undertaking my first ever work experience at our family’s farm vets seemed a natural step. At the time, I had wanted to be a pilot (like many teenagers, I suspect), but had no contacts in the airline industry.  A girl in my class had arranged to spend her work experience with her parents’ vet practice and I thought that seemed pretty cool, so I arranged to do the same. Although it was just a single day, I enjoyed it so much that I started going back at weekends and in school holidays. During that time, I scrubbed in on various ops, including an enucleation of a cow, a cow caesarean and some dog neuters too. Fast forward a few years, and that practice became my main EMS placement, and also my first employed job as a vet. I will be forever grateful to that practice and their team, some 30 years ago, for helping me enter this amazing profession.


What has been the most challenging part of your career?

In the early years, I struggled with what we now call imposter syndrome. For about a decade, I had nightmares on a repeating theme - that I hadn’t actually qualified as a vet. Those dreams seemed so real, and involved a piece of coursework that I dreamt I had never completed, and that the RCVS would come to take me away one day! Even now, I sometimes look back on a case and think to myself ‘did we actually achieve that amazing patient outcome?’.


What has been the best part of your career so far?

I’m lucky enough to have my own practice now, and even more-so to have named it Millie’s Vets after my first pet! Millie was just the best dog ever, and was presented as an injured RTA victim in the first couple of months of my first job. So the practice is to help her memory live on. She helped me through the early part of my vet career, relationships, jobs, house moves and all of the ‘stuff’ that life may throw at us.

To be able to develop my own microcosm of the veterinary profession with the help and support of the amazing team around me is just the best feeling ever.  I know all vets want to do the right thing by their patients, and we are no different in that aim.  However, we have the freedom and the will to be able to make our own decisions as a small team.

If I might be a little demanding, and have a second ‘career highlight’ too, it was the first time my partner and I helped carry the BVLGBT+ banner at London Pride, the first London pride in which we officially marched. The reason for this will become apparent as you read on!


What advice would you offer to someone experiencing difficulty with their sexuality or gender identity?

I had these same struggles. I would attend job interviews, and at the very end I might say something about my sexuality. In part this was so that I could try to actively avoid practices where it might be a problem. Looking back, I can say that I have never experienced any homophobia or hate during the course of my work, either from colleagues or clients. I’m pretty happy with my sexuality and have been for many years. If someone has an issue with it, then that says more about them than about us. And it doesn’t stop me from being the very best vet that I can be. 

My partner is from overseas; from a country where male homosexuality carries the death penalty. It is totally absurd to think that, in the modern world people fear for their lives simply because of who they love. 

Further reading on LGBT+ History Month, BVLGBT+ and Vetlife

Head to LGBT+ History Month and British Veterinary LGBT+ Society to learn more.

Vetlife offer independent, confidential and free help for everyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses, students and non-clinical staff. If you or anyone you know is after support, Vetlife is here for you.


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