By Toby Porter
The saying goes that you should never work with your significant other, but Patricia and Joanna Dain, who married in a civil partnership in 2016, have been proving that theory wrong for the past few years.
They are sharing their story to celebrate LGBT History Month.
Joanna, 46, said: “Being a gay woman working in rail hasn’t always been the easiest thing to deal with.
“It’s much more widely accepted in society these days – and of course that feeds into working environments too.
“I’ve worked with Southern Rail since 2004.
“As you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot of changes over that time and one of the main positives for me is how much we now celebrate diversity in the industry.”
Joanna said she feels free to be her true self at work and the support of the company means she can do her job with confidence and without fear of being judged by her colleagues.
“Diversity really has come on leaps and bounds and it’s great to see.
“Our teams obviously know we’re together, but Patricia is mainly based on the platforms whereas I work upstairs on the gates, so we don’t tend to cross over too much.
“Sometimes team leaders will try and plan it so we have the same break, which is really sweet, but it doesn’t happen too often as our shifts can be quite varied.”
Patricia, 32, is responsible for the safe dispatching of trains from East Croydon station.
She joined the railway through an agency in 2018 and was quickly employed full-time by Southern.
She said: “I am originally from Romania and moved to the UK in 2012.
“After looking after children and working in a care home, I was hungry for my next challenge – and working in rail certainly provides that.
“Every day is completely different but that’s what is so great about it.
“Joanna was really excited that I was joining the rail industry but when I found out I’d also be based at East Croydon station, we were both uncertain about how it would work out.
“We definitely didn’t plan on working together but it seems to be going ok so far.
“In 2019, we were part of GTR’s first-ever float at the Brighton & Hove Pride parade.
“The day was absolutely amazing – it was so nice to have our company being represented in the LGBT community.
“It also meant that we were able to meet other LGBT colleagues from across the network that we hadn’t ever spoken to before.
“Loads of people from the company got involved and it really felt like we were there celebrating together.”
Patricia and Joanna are both active members of GTR’s LGBT Network and although the usual meet-ups haven’t been able to happen, they stay connected virtually and celebrating LGBT History Month with lots of information sharing for colleagues, as well as a competition and online event.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.