Pride 2021: RCPsych and Rainbow SIG takes another step to protest LGBTQ+ discrimination and move towards equality
29 June, 2021
I can imagine a world where all LGBTQ+ people are able to be themselves and can live their lives as they wish. It’s important to say that everyone has a huge part to play in this - making this imaginary world a reality - but inclusion is not a given.
There are so many reasons why we still need to mark Pride and talk about LGBTQ+ rights. Social injustice remains a reality for many of us, which means we should continue protesting as part of Pride. That said, I do hope that one day rather than being a ‘political’ statement, it will be a celebration of LGBTQ+ rights, which will be human rights for all.
It is great to see the College’s determination to support Pride and LGBTQ+ rights. I was especially delighted when I saw President Dr Adrian James welcoming all delegates attending International Congress with a banner displaying the words: The RCPsych supports the LGBTQ+ community, with Pride.
In June, the College and the Rainbow Special Interest Group (SIG) has once again provided some exciting and engaging content to highlight inequalities, but also celebrated LGBTQ+ people, including:
- President Dr Adrian James wrote a fantastic blog post to welcome Pride month and about why the College is celebrating Pride and why showing continued solidarity with a community that is still facing inequalities and discrimination is important.
- Two very special PrideCasts to celebrate Pride month with Dr Sarah Stansfeld and Lesley Fraser, who talked about gay conversion therapy, active steps the government could take to support the LGBTQ+ community, and of course, the difficulties among patients and staff that have arisen during the pandemic.
- The RCPsych and Rainbow SIG hosted a webinar in honour of Pride month: Pride at Work. The webinar provided an opportunity to share and reflect on experiences of LGBTQ+ people, through personal and professional journeys.
- During the International Congress Professor Helen Killaspy hosted an educational seminar on addressing substance misuse in LGBTQ+ community, and Dr Máire Cooney and Dr Josep Vilanova led a stimulating discussion with filmmakers of CURED, in the Congress’s Cultural Fringe.
- Another Congress fringe event hosted by the two staff forums: SGEI and ACF on ‘bringing your whole self to work’ gave the opportunity to hear personal stories, how people have overcome experiences in the workplace, and what we can do to support our colleagues.
- Aidan Reid, RCPsych in Scotland Policy officer, wrote an article about using a transcultural approach to meeting the needs of our LGBTQ+ Scots.
- Dr Alan MacKenzie, took the lead role from Rainbow SIG in RCPsychIS's Inclusion Group for LGBTQ+ Equality & Diversity.
I would like to thank everyone at the College who has helped mark Pride, and for your ongoing support. I am also extremely grateful to Dr Adrian James for being the first president to put diversity high up on the College agenda, and actively and authentically supporting it with regards to LGBTQ+ community.
As you may be aware, I have recently been appointed Chair for the Rainbow SIG following Dr Máire Cooney’s four successful years in the role. I am extremely proud to have this opportunity and I must say, it’s been a fantastic month to step into this role!
But the work is not finished yet and on many fronts it is just beginning. We must continue improving the support and settings for our LGBTQ+ colleagues, patient, and carers. To make sure that the College does that authentically, we really need to go beyond June and Pride. It also means getting to really understand our LGBTQ+ members, patients and carers. We know that the LGBTQ+ community often has trouble finding providers sufficiently knowledgeable about their needs. Some LGBTQ+ people have difficulty accessing providers who will treat them at all.
Despite existing protections and safeguards, some LGBTQ+ people encounter discrimination from insurers or providers, particularly in rural areas. This can, and has, led to some delaying care due to discrimination concerns, and we want to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals have accessible healthcare and a space to feel safe.
So, I am pleased to say that together with (the former Chair of the Rainbow SIG) Dr Maire Cooney, CEO Paul Rees and President Adrian James, we will launch a survey about members’ experiences of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, plus exclusion at work. I believe this is a great step towards identifying members’ experiences, and how this will help members, patients, and carers.
Thank you to everyone, you are helping lead the way!