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Home   »   LGBT+ Network   »   Allyship


Allyship is about working towards creating diverse and inclusive communities and by standing up for the rights of those who are marginalised. Although you may not be part of the LGBT+ community, you can support this group and make the effort to understand their struggle and use your voice alongside theirs.

Allyship is Active Engagement and Action. Allyship is Not Passive Support

  • An ally supports and amplifies the voice of those who are underrepresented and uses their comparative privilege to do so.
  • An ally will help to lift others up by being their advocate.
  • An ally will share opportunities for the growth and development of others.
  • An ally understands and calls out inappropriate actions and language.
  • An ally recognises systematic inequalities and seeks to address them.

Taken from the NHS equality document on Allyship:

Allyship is about building relationships of trust, consistency and accountability with marginalised individuals and/or groups of people.

Although you might not be a member of an underinvested or oppressed group, you can support them and make the effort to understand their struggle and use your voice alongside theirs.

The Dos

Do be open to listening
Do be aware of your implicit biases
Do your research to learn more about the history of the struggle in which you are participating
Do the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how you participate in oppressive systems
Do the outer work and figure out how to change the oppressive systems
Do use your privilege to amplify (digitally and in-person) historically suppressed voices
Do learn how to listen and accept criticism with grace, even if it’s uncomfortable
Do the work every day to learn how to be a better ally

The Don’ts

Do not expect to be taught or shown. Take it upon yourself to use the tools around you to learn and answer your questions
Do not participate for the gold medal in the “Oppression Olympics” (you don’t need to compare how your struggle is “just as bad as” a marginalized person’s)
Do not behave as though you know best
Do not take credit for the labour of those who are marginalized and did the work before you stepped into the picture
Do not assume that every member of an underinvested community feels oppressed

Learn more here. 

Books and reading recommended for LGBT+ Allies

  • Stonewall: the Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter
  • The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell
  • This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
  • Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain by Kate Harrad
  • Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution Paperback by Susan Stryker
  • Gender Explorers: our Stories of Growing up Trans and Changing the World by Juno Roche
  • Straight Allies: How They Help Create Gay-friendly Workplaces by Stonewall
  • Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment by David Hall
  • Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces by Karen Catlin
  • Diversify – Six Degrees of Integration by June Sarpong

Please tweet PDA #PDAlgbt with any books you would recommend to Allies.

Euan Chew-Graham, Hospital Trainee Pharmacist and PDA Trainee Rep said:

“An ally is defined as one who helps and supports someone who is in a difficult situation. Pharmacists, therefore, may be described as allies to patients every-day; they are helping patients manage their medications to make their lives easier.  Although pharmacists are allies in healthcare, there is no reason why their role cannot extend beyond that – allyship is the practice of emphasising social justice, inclusion, and the protection of basic human rights by members of majority groups (e.g. heterosexual/ cis-gender individuals, to advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalised group(s) of people (e.g. homosexual/bisexual/transgender individuals).

Despite a shift in social attitudes, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are still widely prevalent. These issues are sadly found within the NHS, with nearly one in four LGBT+ persons reporting discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT+ people by healthcare staff.

There is a higher prevalence of mental health issues in people who identify as LGBT+, possibly due to difficult or traumatic experiences during childhood or adolescence, associated with their experiences of being from a minority group. In addition to this, 1 in 7 people who identify as LGBT+ delay seeking medical help for fear of discrimination and thus are more likely to have poorer outcomes (relating to either physical or mental health).

Unfortunately, these challenges are not exclusive to patients; many NHS staff report that they aren’t comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity at work.  A simple act of LGBT+ allyship that I exercise is wearing two badges:

1- The NHS Rainbow badge which is a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance, displaying my support for the LGBT+ community.

2- A Pronoun badge because although I identify as cis-gender (which means I have the same gender identity as the sex I was born as), I believe it is important to normalise the practice of sharing your pronouns to decrease the pressure that trans/non-binary people face. It also lowers the chances of unintentional misgendering, which can be very damaging for trans/non-binary individuals. A badge is a visual reminder of the pronouns you wish to be referred to as.

I feel that wearing these badges can significantly benefit both patients and staff, as they immediately know that I will treat them with respect and dignity, and without judgment or discrimination. I encourage all clinical healthcare staff to wear an NHS rainbow badge and/or a pronoun badge if you feel comfortable to do so, as a simple display of allyship.”

Get involved

Pledge to be an ally on social media #PDAlgbt – “I pledge to be a PDA LGBT+ ally because…

Contact the LGBT+ network:

All contact with the network will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity.

Join the LGBT+ Network today

Pharmacists, pharmacy students and trainees can join the PDA now.

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