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ROH flying the flag for LGBT+ History Month

Staff at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) are celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) History Month with a colourful new addition to the site.

A small group of staff gathered, socially distanced, to witness the raising of the LGBT+ flag by Executive Medical Director Mr Matt Revell and Research Governance and Contracts Manager, Craig Pinner. The flag is located by the Gate A entrance to the hospital, outside The Knowledge Hub.

This updated design, by Portland-based designer Daniel Quasar, adds five arrow-shaped lines to the six-coloured Rainbow Flag, which is widely recognised as the symbol LGBT+ communities.

The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalised LGBT+ communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.

Quasar's design builds on a design adopted by the city of Philadelphia in June 2017. Philadelphia's version added black and brown stripes to the top of the Rainbow Flag, to represent LGBT communities of colour.

The Trust has been on a transformative journey over the past couple of years, with the growth of its Equality and Diversity Network, and off shoots including an LGBT+ Network, which offers support including meetings and a WhatsApp group (Be Myself) for staff to keep in touch, and Disability Network. In 2020, it was named number 34 in the Top 50 Inclusive Employers in the UK.

Craig said: “I started working at the ROH in 1986 and came out of the closet about a year or two later. Even though I have never experienced any direct homophobia here (which is a testament to ROH staff and their care and commitment to one another. I also never thought I’d see the day when I would asked by the Executive Medical Director to raise the LGBT+ flag on-site in celebration of LGBT+ History Month.

“Unfortunately, homophobia has seen a very sharp increase in the last five years so there is clearly still some way to go. However, in juxtaposition to this, it is clear that the NHS is very firm in its commitment to the LGBT+ community and for me personally, it’s felt as though, as certain members of society push back against the idea of inclusivity and equality, the NHS has stood even firmer in its commitments to us and ROH is a shining example of this.

“The new flag is called the Progress Flag and is a flag that could just as easily be used to represent how far ROH has come and how adamant we all are in our commitment to support and care for one another.”

Mr Revell added: “I am really proud that we have done this as an organisation and also to be able to show in just a small way my respect and admiration for the new and old friends I now have in the Be Myself community.

“This, alongside our work with Stonewall and Inclusive Companies, is fantastic for our staff.”