In recent months, you may have noticed your VHA personal support worker or care provider wearing a rainbow lanyard to display their ID tag. The rainbow lanyard is our way to help our staff and service providers indicate to our clients and their work colleagues that they and VHA support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) community.
Care providers who are wearing the rainbow lanyard have attended training on LGBTQ2S inclusion and have chosen to wear the lanyard to show that they are an ally to the LGBTQ2S community. They have learned about the specific challenges that LGBTQ2S people face as they age, as well as how to use respectful, affirming language, and how to challenge homophobic and transphobic language and behaviour. Our goal is to ensure that all service providers deliver LGBTQ2S-positive care and services, and as we train more staff and service providers about LGBTQ2S inclusion, you may see rainbow lanyards worn more often.
What does it mean to be an ally?
For VHA and our service providers, being an ally to the LGBTQ2S community means that:
- We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what their gender identity or sexual orientation is;
- We work from a client-centric approach that recognizes that each person brings unique experiences and valid perspectives to their care, and that these are important even if the care provider may not fully understand them; and
- We—as an organization and as individuals—are willing to question and examine the stereotypes and prejudices we hold, even if it is uncomfortable to do so, to become more open and inclusive.
VHA staff and service providers represent the diversity of the communities we serve, and we celebrate the diversity of our staff and clients. We know that being an inclusive organization involves an ongoing process of learning and evolving. If you have feedback about how VHA and our staff and service providers can be more welcoming and inclusive, please let us know by contacting email@example.com.