For those of you who don’t know, Saturday 6 July was Pride in London - a global movement fighting for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, + (LGBTQ+) people all over the world and a celebration of diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. It serves as a reminder of how far the world has come and how far we have yet to go.
The Barts Health LGBTQ+ Staff Network has seen huge development since becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion two years ago. The Network spans all five clinical sites as well as Prescot Street with regular meetings and social events across all sites to which all staff are welcome.
This year, the Network attended Pride in London en masse. Staff from all different disciplines and backgrounds came together (with strong representation from the RLH A&E department) to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in London and beyond. We even had a designated (biodegradable) glitter station, thank you Jess!
As the Network leads for RLMEH and Prescot Street, we were incredibly proud to see such a wonderful and diverse group of people come together to represent Barts Health amongst a crowd of a record 1.5 million people to show that WeCare with Pride. We stood at the barriers and cheered for important LGBTQ+ organisations such as London Friend, GALOP, The Outsiders Project and more, but also all the other NHS organisations that were involved in the parade itself. We ended up dispersing as a group later but most of us ended up in Trafalgar Square, dancing to Will.I.Am, Soju and Scarlet from Ru Paul’s Drag Race and the amazing Billy Porter! A brilliant day all-round.
Whilst we can all celebrate equal rights together, the increase in legalising gay marriage over the globe, the recent changes in the World Health Organisations’ trans health diagnostic guideline and much more – it’s important to note there are still many parts of the world where fundamental LGBTQ+ equal rights are not recognised and in some countries LGBTQ+ people may be subject to imprisonment, torture or execution just for being who they are.
Remember - Pride is a protest!
In the UK, we are learning that provision of healthcare to the LGBTQ+ individual is different and in recognising this we are trying to improve. We in the LGBTQ+ Network feel that as the largest secondary care NHS Trust in London – and with the most diverse workforce – Barts Health is in the prime position to lead the NHS in promoting inclusion for patients, staff and everyone.
We have lots of exciting things coming up this year and we very much welcome everyone to attend our meetings and socials.
We can’t wait to meet you!
Siobhan Cockram and Julian Rycroft
LGBTQ+ leads for RLMEH and Prescot Street