The covid-19 pandemic saw the image of the NHS logo next to a rainbow become a national symbol of appreciation for patient facing workers. Rainbows and messages of thanks were scrawled on the windows of homes, unfurled on flags and signs outside shops and public buildings, and emblazoned on badges and tote bags. As the use of this image as a token of thanks to NHS staff proliferated, however, the message it initially represented in the NHS—as a symbol of LGBTQ+ allyship—started to blur.NHS rainbow badgeThe modern Pride flag is a globally recognised symbol of the diversity and unity of the LGBTQ+ community.12 In recognition of the healthcare challenges people who identify as LGBTQ+ face—a Stonewall survey found that almost one in four LGBTQ+ people in Britain had heard negative remarks about LGBTQ+ people from healthcare staff while accessing services3—NHS rainbow badges were introduced in Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Featuring…

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