Equality for everyone
Our network aims to enable LGBT+ colleagues and those in support of LGBT+ equality to come together to share ideas and information, offer support, and enhance the rights of LGBT+ people within NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
It is also to help demystify and clarify who can donate what and present the guidelines in clear English.
What does LGBT+ stand for?
LGBT+ is an initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual. The ‘plus’ is inclusive of other groups, such as asexual, intersex, pansexual, queer, questioning etc.
By signalling an LGBT+ presence within NHSBT, the network also aims to promote a comfortable and fully inclusive environment in which LGBT+ colleagues can reach their full potential without fear of discrimination.
Who we work with
We work in partnership with senior management, trade union colleagues and all other NHSBT colleagues to create an inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages a culture of respect and equality for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since 2017, the chair of the network has met with the NHSBT CEO and Head of HR to affirm the importance of progressing LGBT+ equality.
As a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, we are working with Stonewall (Europe’s largest LGBT charity), to help us ensure that all staff are accepted without exception.
For the first time we have taken part in the Workplace Equality Index which will help us develop an action plan to continually improve so that all our staff can feel safe and accepted at work.
We wish to:
- work with the wider LGBT+ community to help promote equality, encourage donation from all who are eligible
- demonstrate that NHSBT is not institutionally homophobic
- explain the science and rationale behind the donor regulations and remove some of the falsehoods around who can donate
Our network was established in 2017 in response to a recognition that LGBT+ inclusion within NHSBT is an important area for us to develop further. As the network has only recently been established, our aims and key priorities, as well as this website, are steadily developing.
Our meetings also offer a great opportunity for networking with LGBT+ colleagues and those in support in LGBT+ rights from across the UK.
Formation of the network
Since the LGBT+ network was created in 2017, members have worked hard to promote LGBT+ equality throughout NHS Blood and Transplant. Highlights include:
- Establishment of the network and its terms of reference
- Providing visibility of the network throughout the organisation
- Running a workshop and survey on LGBT+ inclusion and the experience of LGBT+ colleagues. We then reported findings to senior management and union colleagues
- Training on LGBT+ inclusion, by-stander awareness training, recognising the different types of discrimination, and how to influence other on diversity and inclusion best practice
- A month-long campaign during LGBT History Month which involved weekly personal and video blogs on the importance of LGBT equality
- Advocating for the temporary change to the donor deferral guidelines for blood and tissue donation for men who have sex with men (MSM) individuals from 12 months to 3 months at the House of Lords
- The chair of the network works on the For the Assessment of Individual Risk (FAIR) Steering Group – a group that is looking at the feasibility of implementing MSM deferral guidelines based on individual risk
- An awareness campaign on the international day against homophobia, trans-phobia and bi-phobia (IDAHOT) and the importance of ensuring LGBT+ equality worldwide
After the formation of the LGBT+ network in 2017, it was decided that a campaign was required to raise the profile of the network within the organisation and to stamp out discrimination harassment and bullying due to a person’s sexuality, sexual orientation or gender.
It was decided that the best way forward would be a visible sign in the style of a lanyard that complied with NHSBT lanyard requirements and demonstrated support of the LGBT+ network and of equality and diversity generally.
The lanyard was launched during the equality and diversity week (14th – 19th May 2018) in solidarity for IDAHOT after an internal publicity campaign.
By January 2019, 3,000 of our 5,600 employees were visibly showing their support for the network and stand against discrimination by wearing the lanyards.
The progress made by the LGBT+ network was recognised in November 2018, where the network was awarded NHSBT’s first championing inclusivity award at its annual Give Hope Awards.
This award represents the hard work and commitment of all LGBT+ network members in the enhancing LGBT+ equality.