Blog post

The King’s Fund and LGBTQ+ inclusion: 'Yes, and?'

In this LGBT+ History Month blog find out what The King’s Fund has been doing to support inclusion and to become a Stonewall Top 100 Employer.

9 February 2024


Alexandra D’Sa (she/her), head of diversity and inclusion at The King’s Fund shares insights on the progress they have made on their journey to become a more inclusive organisation, reflecting on intent, action and the importance of collaboration.

Yes, we are in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers. Yes, we march in London Pride. Yes, we have an LGBTQ+ Network. And? I have worked in organisations before that have ticked all those boxes and yet their LGBTQ+ staff still did not feel psychologically safe or free to be open about aspects of their identity. 

When I joined The King’s Fund last year as the head of diversity and inclusion, and as an out and proud lesbian, I was curious about what sat behind these activities. What was the intent? Was it to encourage staff to be inclusive and feel included, or was it something we were doing because we should, because others in our field are doing it or because the optics would look bad if we didn’t? 

Thankfully, in my experience, it’s very much the former. 

Let’s take some of the examples I have already mentioned. The King’s Fund is now in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers – but we weren’t the first year we submitted. It has taken time and effort and learning from our benchmarking exercises to get us to where we are now (number 75). 

It is a collaborative effort across all departments to answer the questions and to keep working on the questions we did not have an answer to.  

"It is a cross-team effort and not just the work of the diversity and inclusion department or the LGBTQ+ network.”

The importance of an active network

Regarding our LGBTQ+ network, it is not only just that we have one, it is that we have an active one. The King’s Fund LGBTQ+ Network pushes for internal change, including consulting on our newly published Trans Inclusion policy and introducing pronoun badges and rainbow lanyards. 

The network exists as a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees to share. For example, in our last meeting we talked at length about Suranne Jones’ oeuvre of work and sometimes you just need that conversation to get you through the day. The network also exists as a collective voice to talk about change that is needed and is a forum for different areas of the organisation (whether it is our senior leadership team, operations committee, venue services and so on) to consult with and ensure that we’re hearing from staff that have historically been under-represented.

Using Pride as a platform 

If you were anywhere near our Cavendish Square office on 1 July, you would have heard us loud and proud as we headed out to march in the Pride in London Parade for a second time. We did not just march, we marched with banners that represented facts and figures highlighting health inequalities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community and what can be done to tackle them. Pride for us was not just a celebration (though it is important to keep joy present in our work), it was also a chance to use our platform to talk about issues of prejudice, discrimination and harm that LGBTQ+ people still face.

“The work we do to support our LGBTQ+ staff internally is important and impactful because it also has a bearing on our external work.” 

The King’s Fund has produced blogs on trans healthcare, on LGBTQ+ healthcare workers in the NHS, has included LGBTQ+ speakers in our events and podcasts and much more. Of course, some of this may have existed without the internal work, but it wouldn’t have been as authentic or meaningful without it.

There is always more to be done 

Particularly at a time when we are heading into an election when there will likely be platforms and proposed policies that centre on underrepresented groups like the LGBTQ+ community (and not always in a positive way), it is important to us to look after our staff wellbeing and make The King’s Fund a safe place to work and create. So, when looking to your own spaces, whether it’s in a team, a trust, an organisation, or even at home, even if you believe they are already inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, consider what more can be done, because there is always more.

In the words of Ariana Grande… yes, and?