Mersey Care's Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Sexual Minorities Staff Network

In line with our trust values we wish to develop and promote a culture of dignity, respect and inclusion for all.  To support this we have in place a number of different staff networks that meet regularly to support, promote and advance equality in the workplace for those that have dyslexia and dyspraxia, that identify as black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME), are female, or Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and sexual minorities (LGBTi).  Each network has a board level sponsor.  For general information, please contact our Equality and Inclusion Manager.

Purpose: to promote equality, diversity, inclusion and pride in our LGBTI Staff and to assist Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to deliver better services for all, both staff and patients. We want to improve the working lives of LGBTI staff by empowering them to feel safe and able to be “out” at work allowing all staff to bring their whole selves to work; this will benefit both our colleagues and our patients

Membership: any staff member who self identify as LGBTI is a member of the network

Meetings: the last Monday of each month at 2pm (online)

Location: Online

Contact: George Sullivan  george.sullivan@merseycare.nhs.uk  0151 473 2798

Executive Sponsor: Elaine Darbyshire, Director of Corporate Governance, Communications, People Participation and Business Development

We want to demonstrate our value of 'Respect' by giving everyone the opportunity to show their support for an open, non-judgemental and inclusive organisation for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender + (LGBT+) staff, service users, patients and volunteers. 

The NHS Rainbow Badge is a national initiative that originated at Evelina London Children's Hospital and aims to make a positive difference by promoting a message of inclusion. We recognise that because of safety rules in many areas not all staff can wear badges therefore we are also introducing rainbow lanyards with 7 point breaks. If you want to join this, all participants are expected to sign a pledge, which allows a personal demonstration of the wearer's commitment and support.

Your divisional leads are Paul Hart and Alex Henderson (local), George Sullivan (secure), Janet Anderson (community), Margaret Brown (Whalley LD) and Julie Flannigan (IMT). Please return the pledges to your divisional representative.

The initiative isn’t just about wearing a badge or lanyard, it’s about proactively promoting inclusion in Mersey Care and throughout our work. This could be done in several ways such as: 
 

  • Making a pledge on social media about how you will be an effective LGBT+ ally 
  • Share a message or story which can go out to staff about being an ally or on LGBT+ inclusion 
  • Supporting and promoting the LGBT+ staff network
  • Ensuring your service literature is inclusive and welcoming to LGBT+ 
  • Talking about LGBT+ issues in you team meetings

 
You will need to clearly show that you are committed to driving the inclusion agenda in order to receive a rainbow badge or lanyard.  This means making a pledge statement when you request it.

By choosing to wear the NHS Rainbow Badge or a rainbow lanyard, you are sending a message that people can approach and talk to you about issues around sexual orientation and gender identity. You aren’t expected to have the answers to all their issues and concerns, but you’re there to listen and will know how to signpost to the available support. 

It is not just about wearing a badge or lanyard: there are simple things we can all do to promote inclusion like using inclusive language in all discussions, affirming the identity that a person chooses to use and assuring confidentiality. You may be the first person someone has ever felt confident enough to open up to about how they feel. For them, it may be one of the most important moments of their life, and how you respond to it is something they will remember. 

The badges aren’t designed as a symbol intended to prompt disclosures, but they may prompt a person to share information about their own sexuality or gender identity, perhaps for the first time. Wearing a badge doesn’t mean you’ll have all the answers - just be prepared to listen and signpost to relevant information. 

Occasionally you may feel that a person’s disclosure means that they need more immediate support or that they are at risk. 
 
There is always someone to ask for advice and we recommend contacting the LGBT+ network at George.Sullivan@merseycare.nhs.uk or the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead Andrea.Smith2@merseycare.nhs.uk

Where to signpost people for support: 

  • The LGBT+ staff network can help signpost to a number of available charities for LGBT people 
  • The charity Stonewall have excellent resources to support LGBT+ people 
  • The Albert Kennedy Trust provides support for LGBT+ people who are homeless or living in a hostile home environment. 

Resources

Watch a short video about the specialist LD service user LGBT group as the rainbow flag was raised over Whalley for their pride march a couple of years back.