I was attracted by the advertisement of a recent BPS webinar ‘Talking about diversity among LGBT+ people’, and noted the focus on ethnicity and religion in LGBT+ communities. The advertisement outlined that ‘… the panel will look at how ethnicity and religion impacts people in our LBGT communities and how intersectionality must be a strong consideration in today’s psychological practices’. I saw that the webinar was to be held during Yom Kippur (28 September), effectively barring observant Jews from participation in the webinar.
While I hope that the webinar will be available to members after the event (this is not stated), I did acknowledge the irony of the situation. Whilst Judaism is followed by only 0.5 per cent of UK citizens (2011 UK Census) compared to 5.5 per cent who follow Islam, 1.5 per cent who follow Hinduism, and a relatively whopping 59.4 per cent who identify as Christian, the field of psychology has enjoyed significant contributions from eminent Jewish scholars and psychologists – the major theorists of the Gestalt school were almost exclusively Jewish, as were many of the early proponents of psychoanalysis.
This episode made me wonder how many public (or departmental) events I had previously scheduled, unaware of the people I had inadvertently prevented from participating. I have committed to becoming more aware of the dates for future scheduling and found that Interfaith Network (UK) provide an easily accessible online resource of important dates for major religious groups. I would wish for the BPS to do similar and to consider hosting member events on fully accessible dates where this is possible – particularly ones aiming to address issues of ethnicity and religion.
Department of Paediatric Psychology
Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
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