· The RNLI flew the Rainbow Flag outside their HQ on May 17th to celebrate #IDAHOT – INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA.
· They are also signed up as Stonewall Diversity Champions.
· This breathtaking hypocrisy is despite the complete whitewash and cover-up by RNLI HQ of a complaint about discrimination against trans woman Kate Lesley, who has been fighting the RNLI for over a year after she was rejected as an Education Volunteer by the RNLI Burry Port Station (near Llanelli), on the grounds that “the ‘culture’ of the Station was too ‘macho’ to have a transgender woman working with them and there would be ‘gossip’”. No other reason was given at the time for her rejection.
· Kate was rejected as a volunteer two weeks after bringing to the attention of the local RNLI management an incident at RNLI Burry Port in which she had been referred to in the wrong gender as ‘this gentleman’ – apparently as a joke at her expense to distinguish her from an RNLI dummy fully dressed in RNLI Boat Crew kit.
· Kate protested against her rejection to the local management, and then to RNLI HQ staff, including the Chief Executive, Rear Admiral (ret.) Paul Boissier, but Kate and her wife were treated as if they were liars and no action was taken against the local RNLI management. Kate was told that ‘the matter is closed’.
· Seven weeks later the RNLI’s ‘People & Transformation Director, Heidi Allen, concocted a spurious and untruthful excuse for Kate’s rejection as an Education Volunteer on the grounds that she was ‘highly reactive’.
· As a retired teacher with 15 years full-time teaching experience and a former National Trust Tours & Talks Volunteer Guide at Hardwick Hall, Kate had plenty of relevant experience in talking to the public and was well qualified to perform the duties of an Education Volunteer with the RNLI.
· Her rejection still stands. Kate has received no acknowledgement or proper apology for what was said and done by the Burry Port RNLI Operations Manager, who remains in post.
· RNLI Headquarters are still in denial about the discrimination suffered by Kate Lesley.
· Kate and her wife have been forced to move from Burry Port as they no longer felt safe or welcome in the local community.
· Meanwhile the RNLI Chief Executive gloats on Twitter about flying the Rainbow Flag in support of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
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