NHS England is hosting its first-ever ‘Virtual Pride’ to celebrate and involve all of its LGBT+ staff and their allies, and have extended the invite to the whole of the NHS.
The event, which is being run on a voluntary basis, is to mark the time of year when thousands of people would ordinarily be gearing up for Pride season. In previous years NHS staff have joined in Pride marches across the country to celebrate who they are, to showcase the NHS as Europe’s biggest employer of LGBT+ staff, and to stand in solidarity with all those who still face discrimination or feel unable to be open about their sexuality or gender expression at home or at work.
With these events unable to take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, members of the NHS England and NHS Improvement LGBT+ Staff Network and others have given up their spare time and expertise to organise NHS Virtual Pride on 26 June.
Vicky Adamczyk, chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network, NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “This year is unique as we know, with all our NHS people working incredibly hard in challenging circumstances in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are doing as much as we can as a staff network to provide additional support. We’re especially conscious that for some LGBT+ individuals, being at home is not always a happy or safe place to be themselves, which is why it is so important we continue to create inclusive work environments and networks for LGBT+ staff and allies.”
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for NHS England, said: “I take huge pride in the fact that our NHS is based on the principle of being there for everyone who needs it – whatever their gender or sexuality – but also its aspiration to welcome people from all walks of life as colleagues, and to champion that diversity. I’m delighted to be able to support this fantastic opportunity for NHS LGBT+ colleagues from across the country to celebrate Pride while also staying safe this weekend, led by members of our LGBT+ Staff Network, and I would encourage as many of our NHS people as possible to join us on Friday night.”