Celebrating Pride 2023
08 June, 2023
Over the course of my tenure as President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, I have made equality and diversity one of my four key priorities. Supporting the LGBTQ+ community has been central to this. Although I am proud to use this as an opportunity to celebrate what we have done and what we are doing, we must not forget that across the world, this month still stands as a symbol of protest for many LGBTQ+ people and we still have much to do in the UK.
It is fitting then that just as the Stonewall Riots began on June 28, 1969, and we now honour the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the start of the modern movement for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community and so many others, that I can reiterate the pride I felt when I found out that in February 2023, we would be receiving the LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employer Gold Award from Stonewall. We also improved our ranking to become the 90th top employer since joining Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index which benchmarks employers to measure their progress towards lesbian, gay, bi and trans+ inclusion in the workplace.
However, it is essential that we maintain the drive and effort that we have shown so far, especially in response to the ground-breaking survey of College members conducted in January 2022 which revealed worrying levels of discrimination, with one in two psychiatrists experiencing hostility at work because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Almost one and a half years on from this survey, our commitment to tackle discrimination in all forms against LGBTQ+ staff remains. Fostering a culture that is safe and inclusive is a cause that we must all get behind. We continue to ask that all mental health service providers in the UK sign up to the RCPsych commitments for an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace that were developed in response to the findings, with wide-ranging input, including from Mental Health Medical Directors and Trusts. I commend the two organisations who have pledged to follow these commitments.
I also want to draw attention to the special blog post published by Dr Pavan Joshi, chair of the College’s Rainbow Special Interest Group (SIG), as part of the College’s Pride Month celebrations which looks at what evolution tells us about LGBTQ+ history. This candid and informative reflection embodies the values and purpose of Rainbow SIG, to promote discussion and research, provide expertise within the College and contribute to education for LGBTQ+ rights.
While there is still work to do, I am confident in the College’s efforts to promote equality beyond my tenure as President. Keep an eye out for my reflections looking back at my term in office which will come out as part of my final eNewsletter on Thursday 29 June, as I look at what we have achieved to stand by, fight for and celebrate everyone in the LGBTQ+ community since my first blog about Pride month in 2021.