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National Trust guides obliged to wear rainbow badges

(148 Posts)
MawBroon Fri 04-Aug-17 21:07:13

I believe at least one "Gran" is a guide/room steward at Felbrigg Hall and I wondered what everybody thinks about this news item.
Is it necessary to wear a "rainbow badge" to show that one is broad minded or indeed supports the National Trust's views on gay equality?
Is it indeed anything to do with the National Trust anyway?
Or is it "virtue signalling"?
Personally I regard myself as entirely broad minded regarding other people's sexuality, apart from feeling that it is essentially a personal and private matter but I would really feel my hackles rise if I was OBLIGED to wear a badge saying so!

MawBroon Fri 04-Aug-17 21:11:20

Sorry I realise that this topic has also been addressed in the Gay Pride thread, just didn't recognise it from the thread title blush

Cherrytree59 Fri 04-Aug-17 22:15:56

I agree
I too have no problem with a persons sexuality, religion or football team
If the NT need to show solidarity then they could display the rainbow flag at the entrance (although I see no need)
However I believe NT are out of order to ask its staff or volunteers to wear a badge
I also disagreed with the NT
Cadbury Easter debacle

Penstemmon Fri 04-Aug-17 22:46:56

I think.that the NT is demonstrating its support for the current focus on LGBT activities to recognise the 50yrs since decriminalisation of homosexual relationships between consenting adults. I have no problem with it at all. If people had refused to wear lanyards celebrating an anniversay of suffrage because the did not wholly support it or the end od slavery etc. Would that be ok? Because some individuals are still bothered by the sexual behaviour of others enough to refuse to wear a lanyard shows there is still a way to go on the equality front!

merlotgran Fri 04-Aug-17 22:59:56

I don't think it's fair to assume some people are refusing to wear lanyards because they're bothered about the sexual behaviour of anyone in particular. They're bothered about the fact they're being TOLD to wear something which is flag waving to demonstrate they are tolerant human beings.

I would tell the NT where to shove its lanyards.

Volunteers work for nothing don't they?

MaizieD Fri 04-Aug-17 23:13:09

I agree with merlotgran.

It's absurd.

Eglantine19 Fri 04-Aug-17 23:42:30

I didn't think it was flag waving merlotgran. It's a special exhibition about the man who gave Felbrigg Hall to the nation. Because of the laws at the time he had to keep his sexuality a secret and was sadly deprived of the open loving relationship that heterosexuals were allowed.
It's to honour his life and to show that those laws, if not those prejudices, no longer apply that the National Trust are asking volunteers to wear the badges.
Volunteers who don't want to take part are free not to take part but to work behind the scenes. But an exhibition to honour this benefactor where a group of people openly demonstrate that they think that who he was was a very wrong thing to be wouldn't be right, would it?

merlotgran Fri 04-Aug-17 23:48:18

You've completely missed my point Eglantine

merlotgran Fri 04-Aug-17 23:52:01

Saying to somebody, 'If you don't wear this lanyard you've got to work behind the scenes' is also prejudicial.

Imperfect27 Sat 05-Aug-17 07:12:58

Well put merlotgran - it is a kind of inverted prejudice.

MawBroon Sat 05-Aug-17 07:35:37

My point apart from feeling strongly that anybody's sexuality is their business alone and nobody else's is that the National Trust should stick to doing what it has always done so well, (and was presumably set up to do?) preserving our countryside and architectural heritage for generations to come.
But the NT cannot afford to be so cavalier with its backbone of volunteers as Dame Helen Ghosh appears to be in her letter in today's DT

We have given volunteers a choice as to whether or not to get involved. At Felbrigg a small proportion of our 350 volunteers have not been comfortable with the programme. They are free to step back from the volunteer role, or take a different role for the duration
I would not blame volunteers all over the country or indeed NT members if they likewise felt an inclination "to step back from the (volunteer) role" altogether.
And for the NT's information, the compulsory wearing of a lanyard or badge to indicate support doesn't sound a million miles away from when to get anywhere in 30's Germany, you had to wear a certain symbol in your lapel.

NfkDumpling Sat 05-Aug-17 07:56:52

I've copied and pasted this from the Eastern Daily Press.
I hope I'm not breaking any laws or guidelines but I think it sums up the feeling.

^Mike Holmes has volunteered at the Hall for 13 years, he said: “Wymondham-Cremer would’ve turned in his grave to know what’s happening. He was an intensely private man, he was never open about his sexuality.

“The National Trust looks after grounds and buildings, they do not have the right to research their benefactor’s private lives to suit the needs of a marketing campaign. It’s abhorrent.”

This is not about the squire’s sexuality, I am not homophobic and that’s not what this is about, I have volunteered for 13 years at Felbrigg, I love it and I think nobody could say the volunteers aren’t the greatest advocates for the place.

“There’s a group of about 10 of us that have volunteered for more than 10 years, and we’ve now been told that if we don’t toe the line, we can’t do our jobs."^

I volunteer down the road at Blickling and if I were asked to wear a Gay Pride badge/lanyard I too would refuse for the same reasons Mike has given.

We're told by our managers that we should always take account of our visitors beliefs and opinions especially as many come from foreign parts outside of Norfolk, and not voice our own. I think perhaps this ruling does that. I have gay friends, but only one is openly and obviously gay. The others believe their sexuality is private and irrelevant to others. I agree. Love is the important bit. The gender of the person you choose to love is irrelevant.

NfkDumpling Sat 05-Aug-17 07:57:39

(Why didn't the ^ work to put the quoted bit in italics?)

MiceElf Sat 05-Aug-17 08:20:01

A question. Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk was the home of a Catholic family. It has a Priest's hole where persecuted priests in penal times hid from capture.

If there was an exhibition commemorating this, would it be appropriate to ask volunteers to wear a cross with the papal colours on a lanyard? And if not, why not?

NfkDumpling Sat 05-Aug-17 08:36:14

Good one MiceElf. I shall ask my manager when I'm in next week!

Nelliemoser Sat 05-Aug-17 09:12:46

I am not at all bothered about what sexual orientation someone has.

I really disagree with staff being made to wear these badges.
this issue has nothing to do with the National Trust. It is not there buisness .

If you followed this badge wearing to NTs daft conclusion they would have to cover every campaign going.

whitewave Sat 05-Aug-17 09:24:53

50 years since an evil law was repealed.

50 years of waning but by no means gone prejudice.

People making a lot of fuss about nothing.

durhamjen Sat 05-Aug-17 09:25:02

So no purple sashes when celebrating votes for women?
I'm sure I've seen them at NT properties.

durhamjen Sat 05-Aug-17 09:30:18

"The stories also go back into the institutional history of the Trust with James Lees-Milne, a National Trust employee who was openly gay, who persuaded many friends to put their properties in the Trust’s care."

From the Trust's website. I wonder which places you wouldn't be able to visit if it wasn't for this man.

durhamjen Sat 05-Aug-17 09:39:15

Surely if they are not happy wearing a badge, they are not happy talking about it, and answering the public questions on gay people's involvement in the NT. Therefore what's wrong with being asked to work in the background? Lots of people do.

durhamjen Sat 05-Aug-17 09:43:33

"If you followed this badge wearing to NTs daft conclusion they would have to cover every campaign going."

They say they are fed up of being the dead hand of conservation, and are going to be more active from now on in campaigns.
Watch out for next year's purple sashes.

MiceElf Sat 05-Aug-17 09:47:50

No, you are conflating two separate issues.
The first is the imposition of insignia on volunteers.
The second is expecting volunteers to be knowledgeable about a current exhibition.
The first us unacceptable, the second would be a requirement.
Look at my question above and ask yourself if you think that it would be reasonable to ask volunteers to wear a symbol of Catholicism because Catholics were persecuted in penal times.
I would not be prepared to do this, and I am a Catholic.

whitewave Sat 05-Aug-17 09:51:11

Your argument doesn't compute mice

durhamjen Sat 05-Aug-17 09:56:57

So would you not wear a purple sash if asked to next year, miceElf?

MiceElf Sat 05-Aug-17 10:09:22