Saturday, 12 August 2017

Supporting the cause and its limits

Having more or less caught up, I thought I'd talk around an aspect of last weekend's kerfuffle around the National Trust, its volunteers and supporting LGBTQIA rights.
I think the best start point is to look at the relationship between a volunteer who isn't paid and the body that offers up that opportunity of which in Great Britain we have a good number of.
You're not, having worked for two organizations as one seen as an employee with a formal contract that relates to employee rights although good organizations do set in a document its terms when it comes to supporting you and what you are expected to do sometimes with a formal review between a supervisor and yourself.
In general you are expected to follow the policies of the organization and this includes to offer a service to all regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation, not imposing upon others your own feelings. 
Equally they should respect yours.
You are expected to wear something that identifies you as a volunteer and to take part in promoting what you do.
What I feel was at issue was the idea that a person not under formal contract  should be told to wear something that was not ordinarily a part of your work attire and to mark an event - the 50th anniversary of 1967 Sexual Offences Act - which of itself has nothing to with their work role.
It was the case the trust building itself was part of exhibition whatever one may think of its own relevance to the general charitable role of the Trust, to whom publicity material etc was issued.
Requiring a volunteer to wear a symbol of LGBTQIA pride was not necessary for them to act as guides during the course of this exhibit and was directly imposing a cause onto an individual to be seen to support.
It's common place today to see public servants at Pride events but for instance a police officer isn't ordered to wear a badge or are they required to attend in support and that is not not seen as a breach of a commitment to equal opportunities.
One aspect of life as someone who supports LGBTQIA rights for personal and ethical reasons I find most annoying is the tendency of some to infer an objection to having to wear badges for a variety of very worthy causes means really you are prejudiced or in some way not fully committed to the struggle for full equality.
Rest assured I and others are but we don't feel like being festooned day after with badges or having to this or that campaigns T shirt by order.

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