The Royal College of Nursing is extremely proud of the diversity of the nursing community
As an RCN member you can work with us to improve equality in the workplace, raise awareness, provide (and receive) support and celebrate diversity and promote equality of opportunity.
This RCN membership group acts as an influencing and lobbying agent to prompt lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) equality within the RCN and the health care sector. The network has a formal business meeting at Congress each year and membership of the network enables additional access to the RCN's renowned political leadership programme.
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The term ally is often used to describe someone who supports a group that they themselves are not part of. An LGBTQ+ ally is someone who supports people who identify as LGBTQ+ and equality in its many forms. Heterosexual and cisgender people can be allies as well as those within the LGBTQ+ community who support one another's unique needs and struggles.
Calling yourself an ally isn’t enough. It requires active participation and sustained, visible support. Passive acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community (saying, for example, “I don’t have a problem with gay people”) is very different from being an active ally who supports LGBTQ+ inclusion. From policies on healthcare or the ability to adopt a child, to how personal relationships are viewed in the workplace, being an effective ally extends far beyond flying a Pride flag.
1. Be a great listener. Being available to really listen and learn about the lived experiences of others is an important part of being a great ally.
2. Be willing to talk. Approach conversations with a real sense of curiosity and an appreciation of its nuance and weight.
3. Make a stand about what is acceptable: anti-LGBTQ+ comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and colleagues know that you find jokes and banter of this kind harmful.
4. Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. This might include learning more about your own privilege and the ways in which you can use it to amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ communities.
5. Stand up for inclusion and educate yourself in the ways that inequality can structure the lived experiences of others.
The RCN’s Principles of nursing practice tell us what patients, colleagues, families and carers can expect from nursing. Principle A states: ‘Nurses and nursing staff treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity – they understand their individual needs, show compassion and sensitivity, and provide care in a way that respects all people equally.
Our online exhibition ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ explores diversity in nursing, including how the LGBTQ+ community have helped to shape the profession through history.