British Veterinary LGBT: James’ story

Posted on February 28, 2017 by James Greenwood

James Greenwood with his Labrador Oliver

Telling our stories, making our own history
LGBT History Month

Name: James Greenwood BVSc MRCVS

Qualified as: a veterinary surgeon from the University of Bristol in 2007

Area of work: after graduation I worked in a Tier 3 hospital on Jersey followed by a period in equine practice in Derby. In 2010 I moved back to Bristol where I currently live and continue my veterinary work in small animal practice. In my spare time I'm a keen ceramic artist and was a contestant on BBC Two's 'The Great Pottery Throw Down' in 2015. Since then I've developed my love of ceramics into an online business through my website.

What inspired your path into the veterinary profession?

As with most vets, it started with a childhood surrounded by pets. It was a natural progression into a career spent working with animals and I still think becoming a vet is more of a calling than a career choice.

What has been the most challenging part of your career?

I think the biggest challenge, both emotionally and mentally was the jump from university life into the working life of being a vet. It is still an area I think a lot of young vets struggle with but awareness within the profession is growing and there is a lot more support for young vets out there if they need it.

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

The best part of my career is right now. I am the happiest I have ever been as a vet - balancing vet work with my passion for ceramics. When I'm not in the consulting room, I'm in my pottery studio. The veterinary profession lends itself perfectly to creating a lifestyle that works for you.

What are your proudest achievements of your career?

I love working with people and I think the proudest moments come from the relationships I have developed with my clients over the years. Every time I receive a thank you card, a bottle of wine or even the occasional hug from a client, it reminds me of how worthwhile this job is.

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

From a veterinary perspective - I think the profession is generally very inclusive and diverse.

However, the majority of vets in practice work closely with the general public and therefore may face conflicting opinions. If you do face such prejudice in the consult room - speak up. Don't be ashamed. A good practice will support you.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Whilst it may seem that everyone else is 'cut from the same cloth', the truth is no two people are ever the same. Our differences are what makes society interesting and functional. I have learnt that true happiness can only come from being true to your own self and it is usually only fear that gets in the way. Be brave. Be bold. Be yourself. And the rest will work itself out just fine...

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James Greenwood

Written by James Greenwood

BVSc MRCVS and ceramic artist

After graduation James worked in a Tier 3 hospital on Jersey followed by a period in equine practice in Derby. James now works at a small animal practice in Bristol and runs an online ceramics business - you may recognise James from BBC Two's The Great Pottery Throw Down.