Rainbow Badge Scheme

GLADD is delighted to be able to offer NHS Rainbow Badges free of charge to its members.

Wearing an NHS rainbow badge is a way to signify that you can and will offer support to staff, patients, families, friends and visitors to your workplace who identify as LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. The + simply means that we are inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves).

You don’t have to identify as LGBT+ or work in a clinical role to wear a rainbow badge – the badge is for all GLADD members involved in the provision of NHS services who wish to signify that they are a supportive, friendly face for LGBT+ patients and colleagues. You will not be expected to solve an individual’s issues and concerns, but to offer your support and signpost to additional resources where that might be helpful.

Before you decide whether to sign up for a badge, please read all of the information on this page. It explains the responsibilities of those who wear the badge. It also gives an overview of why it is important for all healthcare staff to be aware of the issues some people who identify as LGBT+ face at work and when accessing health and social care.

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Wearing the Badge

We encourage all members who wish to wear a badge to sign up, no matter where they work or study. It signifies that the wearer will offer non-judgmental, inclusive care and support for patients, and will support colleagues to feel safe to be true to who they are at work.

There are other things we can all do to promote inclusion in our workplaces, such as using inclusive language in all discussions, assuring confidentiality and affirming the identity an individual chooses to use.

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Why Wear a Badge?

People who identify as LGBT+ continue to face discrimination and negative attitudes in the workplace and when accessing health and social care. According to Stonewall’s Unhealthy Attitudes report:

25% of LGBT+ health and social care staff have been the victims of bullying and abuse in the last five years and 20% of all staff have witnessed negative remarks made about trans people in the workplace. 1 in 10 health and social care staff directly involved in patient care have witnessed colleagues express the belief that someone can be ‘cured’ of being lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Even the perception that discrimination might happen is enough to cause harm. Simple visible symbols, such as these rainbow badges, can make a big difference for those unsure of both themselves and of the reception they will receive if they disclose their sexuality and/or gender identity.

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Disclosure and Escalation

The badges aren’t designed as a symbol intended to prompt disclosures, but they may prompt a person to disclose information about their own sexuality or gender identity, perhaps for the first time. Wearing the badge doesn’t mean you’ll have all the answers, but it means you are prepared to listen and signpost to relevant information. If you feel you need to escalate the conversation:

If the individual is a patient, discuss any queries or concerns with the individual’s consultant, or the consultant on call for that service.

If the individual is a colleague, offer your support and a friendly face. Explore what they might want their next steps to be – you can signpost them to some of the resources listed below. If they wish to speak to someone in more confidence 24/7 help is available from Practitioner Health (www.practitionerhealth.nhs.uk, text NHSPH to 85258) or the BMA (BMA Counselling, 0330 123 1245 – you don’t need to be a BMA member).

If they have a concern about workplace behaviours they want to raise or escalate, suggest they contact their site’s freedom to speak up guardian.

If you are specifically worried that there is an immediate or serious risk to the individual’s physical or mental health, escalate to the safeguarding team in line with you workplace policy.

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Any Questions

Please contact secretary@gladd.co.uk if you have any further questions about GLADD or the Rainbow Badge project.