June is Pride month and this year, we know some members of the LGBT communities from across the world have felt more isolated and struggled over the past 12 months, so more than ever it’s important we recognise the impact on everyone’s mental wellbeing.
This month offers an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress which has been made towards equality. It is also a time for everyone to acknowledge that we still have so much more to do.
Many LGBT people still face unacceptable stigma and discrimination and we continue to see homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, especially on social media. In healthcare, LGBT individuals have sometimes faced inequalities in terms of access to services, poorer clinical outcomes and patient experience and this also applies to the NHS workforce.
The NHS Staff Survey has demonstrated that LGBT staff report worse experiences than their heterosexual colleagues. It is for this reason that Pride is an important opportunity for us to show support and solidarity for our colleagues who do not feel comfortable to be their true selves at work. It is everyone’s responsibility, and not just theirs, to make sure this happens!
COVID-19 and lockdown is highlighting and exacerbating many existing inequalities in society and this includes LGBT individuals. We’ve seen from surveys and research charities that LGBT people are reporting higher levels of mental health from increased isolation, hostile home environments which can increase the risk of domestic abuse, financial difficulties through loss of earnings and concerns over healthcare waiting times and treatments.
Now more than ever, Pride is a time for us to increase our efforts to address all this. There are so many examples of excellent work going on around the country to address LGBT health inequalities.
Pride in Practice, run by the LGBT Foundation, works with primary care to improve care for LGBT patients with over two million people registered at practices that have worked hard to deliver more LGBT inclusive care.
The NHS Rainbow Badge project has now been taken up by over two-thirds of hospital trusts with over 250,000 NHS staff signing up for a badge and pledging to support LGBT patients and LGBT staff networks across the country are doing great work to support both the LGBT workforce and patients. But we need to do more and do it even better!
Let’s use this opportunity to make a commitment to ensuring the NHS is a truly inclusive place for all LGBT staff and delivers nothing but excellent care to LGBT patients. We need our NHS staff to feel safe and supported at work to ensure they can deliver the best patient care possible; everyone can make that happen by being kind.
Pride month itself is also a time for celebration and I’m sure many people are familiar with the colourful, joyous events which see thousands of people flock to the cities across the country each June.
Whilst restrictions mean many of the big Pride events are rescheduled, there are many online virtual events you can follow if you want to celebrate! In Doncaster, Pride has always taken place in August to allow residents the opportunity to travel into the big cities and join large events.
This year, Doncaster Pride are working hard on a schedule of events for our local Pride week which comply to the latest restrictions yet ensure it is marked in a special way. The Little Theatre has already announced a line-up of special Pride performances in support of the week.
For more information on Doncaster Pride please visit https://www.doncasterpride.co.uk/.
Whoever you are, whatever you do and however you mark it I wish you all a very happy and safe Pride 2021.