As part of National Inclusion week, Luke Foster, Chair of the LGBT+ Network, shares what the network have achieved this year and what we can expect in the months ahead.
The LGBT+ Network for NHS Blood and Transplant was formed a little over a year ago with the principal aim of making our organisation a more inclusive place to work for colleagues who identify as LGBT+. Over that time, we have developed our aims and objectives to address specific areas of inequality or areas for improvement that we identified. The LGBT+ Network aims and objectives can be read here.
The LGBT+ Network has had a busy year and have worked on a number of initiatives which delivered on the Networks aims and objectives. These include:
- Establishment of the Network and its terms of reference/aims
- Providing visibility of the Network throughout the organisation
- Setting up Network pages on People First
- Establishing a Yammer group
- Producing video blogs on the work of the LGBT+ Network
- Providing a workshop on LGBT+ inclusion and the experience of LGBT+ colleagues at NHSBT
- Running a survey of Network members to determine their experience of equality and discrimination in the workplace
- Holding a specialized training event for Network members on recognising and dealing with inequality, and how to influence others on diversity and inclusion best practice
- Holding a joint HR-LGBT+ Network workshop on LGBT+ inclusion, by-stander awareness training, and recognition of the different types of discrimination
- A month long campaign on LGBT History month releasing weekly personal blogs on the importance of LGBT+ equality
- An awareness campaign on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and the importance of ensuring LGBT+ equality worldwide
- An LGBT+ Ally Lanyard Campaign – “Alliances for Solidarity” during equality, diversity and human rights week. This has resulted in 3,000 of NHSBTs 5,500 employees wearing the LGBT+ Network Ally Lanyard
- Campaigning for LGBT+ organ donation at Pride events
- Partnering with Stonewall and joining its Workplace Equality Index
A lot has been achieved in the last year and the LGBT+ Network looks ahead with optimism and enthusiasm for what can be achieved over the coming 12 months. Our work with Stonewall to complete their Workplace Equality Index (WEI) is particularly exciting as this benchmarking exercise will help inform the direction that our organisation needs to take to further improve LGBT+ inclusivity. The results of this exercise will be released in January 2019 and the LGBT+ Network will be working with other colleagues within the organisation to help implement any recommendations from Stonewall and make further improvements.
It’s not too late to have your say in the Stonewall Staff Feedback survey which supports the WEI. You don’t have to identify as LGBT+ and your feedback will help shape our workplan. The survey is anonymous, takes no longer than five minutes and is open until 2 November. We would appreciate your support by completing the survey. Please use our unique code: 2099 at the beginning of the survey when prompted.
We will also be working on promoting blood, organ and stem cell donation from LGBT+ people. We hope that this will help to demystify negative perceptions and inaccuracies around LGBT+ donation, reduce marginalisation of LGBT+ people and increase the number of blood, organ and stem cell donors through positive engagement with LGBT+ people.
As the LGBT+ Network’s Chair I will also be working with colleagues on a further review of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) blood, tissue and cell donor selection criteria report: 2017. This review, amongst other things, will aim to look at the feasibility of further reducing the deferral period for blood donation for men who have sex with men and therefore make blood donation a more inclusive practice.
If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to join the LGBT+ Network, please contact Luke Foster