As a follow up post to my interview last Monday with the mental health charity, 'Mind', I thought I'd share with you an advert placed in The Argus last week, Brighton's local rag. Here we go...
NJC Scale SO1 pt 29 £24,402 pro rata £13.41 per hour - 5 hours per week to be worked on Tuesdays 2.30pm - 7.30pm
MindOut is recruiting a new Group Worker to join our team. You will facilitate a weekly mental health peer support group, working alongside volunteers. You need experience of mental health and must identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans. Applications from people with personal experience of mental health issues are positively encouraged.
Closing date: 22nd October 2009
For more details and an application pack, please go to http://www.mindcharity.co.uk/ or send an SAE (90p) to Mind in Brighton and Hove, The Allen Centre, 60 Sackville Gardens, Hove BN3 4GH
All posts are subject to an enhanced CRB Disclosure. We are committed to equal opportunities and encourage applications from people with disabilities, experience of mental health issues, trans people, lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, people from minority ethnic communities and of any religion or belief.
If you'll excuse the pun. Let's get this straight...
An advert has been placed in the local newspaper for a position within Mind in Brighton and Hove, specifically to support local sufferers of mental health-related problems, who happen to be either lesbian, gay, transgendered or bisexual.
But let's get another thing straight...If you're heterosexual, you cannot apply! I'll admit it is unlikely that you would want the job if you were heterosexual, but you might identify with the communities listed. Yet that is not what the ad says. It says you must identify not with, but as either lesbian, gay, transgendered or bisexual.
If you were not straight and felt you fitted into the categories above, but felt coy about your sexual orientation and didn't want to broadcast it to everyone at Mind or simply wanted to share private disclosures with close friends, you cannot apply since you must identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
Then, let's get another thing straight. The same organisation claims that due to its 'equal opportunities' policy, that if you were say, Catholic, this would not be a hinderance to applying for the position, as long as you identify yourself as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, even though, as a person with religious belief, you may wish to put your sexuality underneath a blanket on the backseat and hang your Rosary on the rear-view mirror, since you are primarily a child of God, rather than a man with a disordered sexual state, even though this is a condition with which you struggle.
The organisation has placed a claim that Mind operate an 'equal opportunities policy' which welcomes all applications from anyone...even though the same advert has asserted that the applicant must identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
I understand that the role created requires sensitivity towards people with the condition of same sex attraction or gender issues, and it might help if you had some personal experience of the issues raised, but if ever an advert was in breach of the Equalities Act - this is the one! The Equalities Act claimed victory to 'minorities' who felt discriminated against. Then, organisations in turn discriminate against 'non-minorities' and use the language of equal opportunities to defend it! Incredible!
What is more, if you examine the criteria of selection a little more closely, you'll see that it doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense. The experience of a gay man is not so closely related to the experience of transexual. A gay man might find transexuality incomprehensible. What the advert is really saying is that you must identify as being a part of the LGBT political activist movement. In order to get the job, you have to pledge allegiance to a radical movement of men, women and womenmen with a brazenly irreligious and subversive agenda, which bears no relation to mental health issues whatsoever.
If any organisation or company asserted that they wished to employ someone for a position but the person must identify as Catholic, the World would go ballistic. If any organisation asserted that they wished to employ someone for a position but the person would really rather that person be heterosexual, the World would go ballistic. If any organisation or company asserted that they wished to employ someone for a position but the person must be a man, the World would go ballistic.
Equalities legislation explicitly forbids discrimination of say Church community centres or Catholic institutions with regard to, say, certain groups wishing to hire it, who do not reflect the Catholic ethos. As long as this is not an administrative error or a typo, then Mind are well in breach of equality legislation.