12 Sep 2017

Penny Johnson, Service Manager of the Home Ward Ealing service at West London Mental Health NHS Trust, recently represented Great Britain at the European Same-Sex Dance Championships in Berlin and won a silver medal in the ‘C Senior Ballroom’ category.

Penny has worked as a Service Manager for Home ward Ealing since October 2015. Home ward Ealing is an integrated immediate care service that helps people during a period of severe or sudden illness, or when they have been discharged from a general hospital, so they can recover and remain well at home.

Penny recalls her dad teaching her to waltz as a child, but it wasn’t until her 30s that she developed an interest in dancing, starting with line dancing and moving onto Ballroom and Latin. Initially, dancing was a social activity for Penny, but she took an interest in same-sex dancing as a way of connecting with the LGBT community. In 2003, she began competing in same-sex dance competitions.

In addition to winning a silver medal at the European Same-Sex Dance Championship, Penny was in the final of other categories. She placed sixth in B Senior Latin, fourth in C Open Latin, fourth for the Senior 10-Dance event and fourth in the team show dance event. Reflecting on her result, Penny said: “I love the buzz and atmosphere of a competition, but mostly, I just love to dance.

“After the demands of my job, dancing gives me a chance to unwind. As someone working in the NHS, it is very important to me that I pursue activities outside of my day job that keep me happy, healthy and connected with the LGBT community. Same-sex dancing has helped me in so many ways, and I am now proud to be part of a large international same-sex dance family that promotes inclusion, visibility and equality.”

Following her silver medal win at the European Same-Sex Dance Championship this year, Penny will compete in the Gay Games 2018 in Paris.