NHS rainbow badges

(249 Posts)
YesIWorkForTheNHS Tue 17-Sep-19 19:11:00

As per (shiny new) user name, I work for the NHS. They're bringing in rainbow badges and lanyards at my trust (Google NHS rainbow badges if you want).

Anyone want to help me disentagle / articulate what I think about this?

On the one hand, I want to be inclusive (in the sense that I want everyone to have equal access to healthcare, and remove barriers - real or perceived - to people accessing what we offer). But biological sex matters, particularly in healthcare, and I think we should be held to high standards wrt equality of access for everyone (including women and girls) whether or not we are wearing stripy accessories.

I'm ignoring it for now. But I've had plenty of people tell me how great it is. I have friends at work who know what I believe wrt sex and gender, but I'm not sure I want to have an all-out discussion about my decision not to signal "my tribe" with a badge. The rainbow does not (any longer) represent my beliefs.

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truthisarevolutionaryact Tue 17-Sep-19 19:16:43

You could ask what other groups / issues they'll be representing via lanyards and when they'll be available? Rather than challenging, just have the assumption that this is part of a programme of representing many vulnerable groups. Make some suggestions - suffragette colours for women? A disability rights lanyard? Hearing impaired? Senior citizens? Domestic violence?

GingerCake2018 Tue 17-Sep-19 19:20:19

Was discussing this with a colleague recently, we both agreed that we are already in uniform (identical for male and female where I work) which surely creates neutrality in and of itself, so why to we need rainbow badges and shoe laces! As for lanyards, I thought management were supposed to be tightening up on infection control and as such lanyards are a big no no!

Helspopje Tue 17-Sep-19 19:22:48

But the rainbow badges were developed in paeds to signal people who would be happy to chat to a child if they were having sexual orientation or gender identity issues. Nothing more.

Making it for everyone to wear sort of defeats the point.

Goosefoot Tue 17-Sep-19 19:34:52

My feeling is that these kinds of badges are making a political statement in a setting that is actually supposed to be very, very neutral. Of course health workers are meant to be non-judgemental and provide good service to people of any sexuality or gender presentation. They are also supposed to provide good and non-judgemental services to people of all religious or cultural backgrounds. Or racists and homophobes.

IMO it's inappropriate.

Geminiwitch22 Tue 17-Sep-19 19:38:12

I work in the community, (private not nhs). If we introduced this I think we would spark a lot of arguments with people's own views. Don't get me wrong the idea is great but it needs to not just look at LGBT communities but also with domestic violence, disabilities etc.

wacademia Tue 17-Sep-19 19:39:07

I don't wear a rainbow lanyard at work. Not because I am hostile to same-sex attracted people or those who can't/won't accept their sexed bodies, but because I really hate corporate virtue-signalling and I refuse to wear something that implies a view (in this case TWAW, TMAM, NBIAV) that I don't agree with. I already wear a lanyard that indicates that I will treat anyone who I interact with with courtesy and respect: it says "staff".


wacademia Tue 17-Sep-19 19:43:18

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Valkarie Tue 17-Sep-19 19:48:34

Work gave rainbow lanyards to anyone who wants them. I found it itchy, so went back to belt clip. There is no expectations of anyone wearing them, or judgement if not. They also give out pin badges for things like mental health and charities they suport. Seems like the right way to do it to me. I would love a suffragette one now you mention it.

YesIWorkForTheNHS Tue 17-Sep-19 19:56:01

Helspopje that's interesting that it started in paeds. It's being promoted as a way of signalling that I am someone you can talk to about your sexuality or gender identity and I will support you. But support you to do what?

Ginger I'm not clinical, so lanyards are the norm.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Tue 17-Sep-19 20:03:57

I reject the rainbow. I hate all it stands for and believe it is anti female. I find it distasteful that what is essentially a men’s movement is wheedling itself into schools, businesses, politics and organisations across the land, pushing women aside and promoting gay erasion.

I loathe the virtue signalling that is pretty much risk-free these days - wearing a rainbow (back in the days of LGB) would have put you at risk of getting grief/punch in the head back in the day. Where were all these companies and allies/familiars back then? No-bloody-where.

I assume as a professional you treat all with the same respect and level of care. You don’t need a rainbow, and bit wearing one doesn’t say ‘I am a bastard to some people and give them second class care’.

Michelleoftheresistance Tue 17-Sep-19 20:04:05

What Goosefoot said. This isn't a neutral 'we welcome LGBT people here' thing, it's a political statement of affiliation to political lobby, no different to wearing momentum badges or UKIP badges.

Will they be denying services to those who don't have that political affiliation? Will those people be treated equally and without prejudice too? Do the people wearing those lanyards realise that the political lobby they're representing would not agree with equality of access and inclusion of those people or are they innocent of the politics behind what's being presented as a harmless love/peace symbol?

As a lesbian, where I see the 'Stonewall Champion' and symbols I immediately go on my guard as I know these people are signed up to a political lobby that seeks to deny women the freedom to be homosexual and rejects their right to exclude males from their bodies if those males say the right words. This is also the symbol of removing single sex spaces and same sex hcps from women, and just plain rejecting those women whose religion, faith, disability, trauma, fear and embarrassment or just plain choice precludes this. But will be recorded as committing a hate crime if they say so. My immediate response would be not to trust or want to be vulnerable in the care of someone wearing symbols of those beliefs. Although I'd also be aware that many people will be wearing them because they're made to or because they've not realised the political agenda they're being used in.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Tue 17-Sep-19 20:13:29

I have another problem with this.

At my work, the rainbow lanyards say "LGBT ally" on them.

Now, that tells you right away that the wearer is in fact straight. Allies are by definition straight people who support inclusivity of LGBT identified people. So my work basically now has a workforce almost entirely branded "straight".

Surely this is the exact opposite of what's intended? Also what happens if you are actually gay? Do you have to wear a lanyard which declares you an ally - and thereby basically erases your sexuality? Or do you have a different one, that basically announces your sexuality to everyone?

YesIWorkForTheNHS Tue 17-Sep-19 20:13:47

Michelle if anyone asks me "what harm can it do", I'm going to paraphrase your final paragraph.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Tue 17-Sep-19 20:22:32

Since when does sexuality have any relevance to your job? I’m wracking my brains to think here...

MIdgebabe Tue 17-Sep-19 20:27:51

I just see the rainbow colours as pretty. Guess that’s missing the point.

ChattyLion Tue 17-Sep-19 20:37:49

I already wear a lanyard that indicates that I will treat anyone who I interact with with courtesy and respect: it says "staff".

Excellent post and point wacademia

Toddlerteaplease Tue 17-Sep-19 20:39:40

I'm a peadiatric nurse. I will not wear one and I won't sigh the thing pledging to be inclusive. I do that anyway.

ChattyLion Tue 17-Sep-19 20:45:55

Excellent post Michelle

Lougle Tue 17-Sep-19 20:54:56

I've just ignored the staff mail that offers them. It is made very clear that we have to sign a pledge to go with it and I'm not prepared to do it.

zanahoria Tue 17-Sep-19 21:04:42

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jaggynettle Tue 17-Sep-19 21:07:26

I work in a community role and wear the rainbow lanyard. By wearing it, two teens approached me with concerns that meant my care of them was more person centred and orientated to their specific needs rather than catering to the masses.

I was glad that the symbolism attached to it encouraged them to speak to me directly.

I can see that there is a lot of division over using the rainbow symbolism and also that it seems to be everywhere at the moment - possibly diluting it's original meaning. However, I think it's become a universal image for inclusion.

YesIWorkForTheNHS Tue 17-Sep-19 21:11:20

Lord, with apologies for the Stonewall link, this is what they are pushing: link

There are a few shocking instances of poor behaviour in there (which should be subject to disciplinary action). But there are also examples of people doing their job (like trying to establish whether you could be pregnant before we do something that might be harmful to a fetus).

In answer to your question, sexuality (or, rather, your sexual history) has some relevance to healthcare. For example, could you be pregnant? If you are a lesbian, then you may not want to state that you are not sexually active, but you might well be pretty confident that you aren't pregnant! Yet we still ask whether you are sexually active (rather than whether you have had sex with a man - what does "man" mean, anyway?) for reasons of clear English. But that's not what rainbow badges are about, is it?!

Lougle, Toddler I'm not signing a pledge either. Just waiting to have to defend that decision.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Tue 17-Sep-19 21:12:09

It’s lost it’s original meaning of tolerance and ‘live and let live’. It’s become something else - not so tolerant or inclusive.

Fraggling Tue 17-Sep-19 21:12:56

'But the rainbow badges were developed in paeds to signal people who would be happy to chat to a child if they were having sexual orientation or gender identity issues.'

This is interesting.
I spent a fair amount of time in and out of a children's hosp at the sort of age this would be relevant.
I had other things in my mind tbh.
Although tbf there was flirting and a bit of mild hanky panky.
It seems a bit odd? I dont remember there being anyone to talk to about more pressing issues ie the emotional issues with being a child who needs that type of treatment. This was 30 years ago though. Do they get that now?

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