A group of National Trust volunteers have refused to don rainbow lanyards in protest of the ‘outing’ of the deceased former lord of Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall, The Independent reports.
Volunteers had been asked to wear rainbow badges and lanyards in tribute to Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, the last lord of the manor, who was gay. However, a group of around ten volunteers refused to comply, claiming that the Trust are ‘outing’ Ketton-Cremer, who died in 1969.
Relatives of the former lord of the manor previously complained about the National Trust’s ‘outing’, claiming that the “intensely private” man would not have approved of such a measure. Ketton-Cremer died only two years after the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and was not out during his life. His sexuality has only been brought to the forefront in recent years.
The protesting volunteers have been given duties in the back office, away from visiting members of the public, in accordance with an email sent by management of the National Trust. Volunteers have told The Times they are feeling stressed and not sleeping due to the stress caused.
In a statement, Annabel Smith, head of volunteering and participation development at the Trust, said that the Trust recognises that volunteers may have “conflicting, personal opinions,” but that they are bound by the ‘founding principles’ of the Trust.
“However whilst volunteering for the National Trust we do request and expect individuals to uphold the values of the organisation. We encourage people with any concerns to chat to our teams. As part of Prejudice and Pride we have worked closely with Stonewall and the University of Leicester who have been providing training and support to help as many volunteers as possible feel confident to take part.”