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Latest News — October 2017:


Network Weymouth Library event of 9th October:

Groundbreaking Weymouth event by Dorset LGB&T Equality Network is ‘great success’

— Dorset Echo article (22nd October 2017)

A big thank you to Dorset Echo for their valuable coverage of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network event, and particular thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress of Weymouth & Portland — the Mayor,Cllr Kevin Brookes, valuably commenting to the Echo:

“It was an opportunity to see how yet another, and I’m afraid to say another yet another, small group of volunteers are having to constantly work to raise awareness and understanding of the problems community members face.”

The Echo coverage and the Mayor’s comments therefore mark a very welcome recognition that the community sector in terms of minority communities (ethnic/BME, LGB&T, Disabilities) is extremely important for its  dedication, passion and efforts to highlight the plight of fellow community members who suffer from prejudice, hate, discrimination, rejection and often severe mental ill health as a natural consequence.

Often the efforts of those direct community groups on the ‘real frontline’ are poorly recognised, overlooked by the media, etc. and sometimes have others — better connected — take direct community groups ideas up with no or minimal attribution to those ideas  actual community source.


This depressing but all too common phenomenon of direct community groups and their courageous action and valuable solutions to prejudice problems, rarely getting a mention — or barely any — for their crucial work, goes far to account for the disparity between actual numbers of prejudice-related hate crimes, and the reported figures.  This of course indicates underlying poor confidence issues of minority community members reporting incidents.

The Network believes in developing new models of working between minority communities (and especially direct minority communities groups) and the statutory, public, and the broader voluntary sectors, to remedy these problems.  It is exciting to be working with those other three sectors to deliver this badly needed change, that sees the minority community itself at the heart and in a co-lead position where solutions to prejudice, hate crime, etc. are concerned. 

Partnership working in the fullest and most focused sense is essential for this to happen, and also different minority communities that share the common characteristics of their humanity, and that they are all victims of prejudice/hate/discrimination, working together on shared solutions to problems, are vital for successfully delivering badly needed change.

Alan Mercel-Sanca.

Convenor/Lead Officer, LGB&T Dorset Equality Network

More about the event:  Weymouth Library was host to a special landmark event on Monday 9th October. This to highlight the LGB&T Dorset Equality Networks initiatives to counteract anti-LGBT prejudice and promote broader inclusion values.  Attending the event were the Mayor & Mayoress of Weymouth Cllr Kevin and Mrs Brookes, Cllr Christine James (Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Equality Portfolio holder) local authority and statutory sector officers, and an equal number of local LGB&T community members including from Weymouth Gay Group.

The event comprised announcements on learning/educational initiatives of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network with a range of partners, including the libraries service, Weymouth College, and also a ground-breaking mental-health related initiative with the NHS. The event witnessed valuable suggestions on further initiatives to counteract anti-LGBT Anti-Social-Behaviour, and encourage broader inclusion + a valuable intervention from a community member on blocks to reporting of incidents.

Further Dorset Echo article, flagging up the library event:

Libraries initiative:  the Network has initiated work with Dorset County Council Libraries on the libraries service having a stock set of essential LGB&T related reference books. This is an important development proposed by pan-Dorset LGB&T community members, that the Network is following up on.


Network brings LGBT dimension to Black History Month:

For Black History Month (October) 2017 the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network provided ground-breaking talks to Weymouth College students on the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) LGB&T community, and its special importance characteristics, strengths & particular issues & needs, and place in cultural history.

The talks were very well received and teachers commending the need for the teaching on the subject and the way the talks enabled students to expand their horizons to see ethnic and sexual & gender minority communities in ways that challenged ‘one size fits all’ thinking.

Support from the Network to the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy Section on facing homophobic national media and MP bullying:

The National Trust Kingston Lacy came under attack from extremist anti-homophobic elements in the national media and an MP (not even a local Member of Parliament) that appeared to take issue with the National Trust ‘Prejudice & Pride’ national educational initiative that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality. This (at Kingston Lacy took the form of the Exile initiative and installation), to provide NT properties visitors with awareness of the strong contribution that LGBT people have contributed across the centuries to architecture, collections, the arts, as seen through NT stately homes and stately homes owners.

The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network at the urgent request of Dorset area community members (Weymouth Gay Group particularly) took action through a press release on the attack made against the LGBT community, and National Trust Kingston Lacy.

You can read the details at Dorset Eye:


Network NHS initiative for the support of our community’s needs and expectations of LGB&T appropriate and supportive services:

The Network achieved NHS organisations Chief Executive Officer level support for a pan-Dorset NHS – LGB&T Dorset Equality Network initiative for support of the Bournemouth Dorset Poole LGB&T community and NHS.  This initiative comprises development of a community & NHS integrated comprehensive LGB&T community NHS services plan, with a major component focusing on mental health support related work for community members suffering from poor mental health due to prejudice, rejection, bullying & hate crime.

We will provide a further update in December on progress with this ground-breaking initiative: Dorset CCG is leading on the NHS side in partnership with the Network to structure and progress the initiative.  The pan-Dorset LGB&T community, that in a recent survey (July: with 166 participants taking part within 48 hours!) recorded a 20% satisfaction rate in NHS services, looks forward with hope and expectation to the NHS delivering badly needed change, realised by working with our community in equal partnership…

Summer 2017:

Bournemouth Air Festival – Network & Royal Navy event in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality:

The Network initiated a certificates of appreciation presentation at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival. This was on behalf of Bournemouth’s LGBT community to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality in the UK, and to recognise the exceptional work of the Royal Navy’s LGBT inclusion and equality work headed by its LGBT ‘Compass Network.’

To our great delight the Network lead and Chair were honoured by the presentation of a signed – by Commodore Miller — and framed document that detailed the RN & Compass Group approach to equality & diversity; the presentation being made by the Admiral leading the RN component of the Air Festival.

The formal presentation event that the RN kindly built into this component of the Bournemouth Air Festival also flagged up the importance of LGB&T community members contribution to and involvement in the life, arts and businesses of Bournemouth, especially important to recognise in such a major nationally important air festival, that brings all sections of society together to honour the prowess of those providing their heroic air and sea performances.

Network Boscombe anti-LGBT prejudice awareness raising event & campaign:

On Saturday 16th September, the Network held the first ever Boscombe-based anti-LGBT prejudice and hate crime event. This took place in conjunction with Dorset Police and with the strong support of Bournemouth Council’s Boscombe Regeneration team, in Boscombe Precinct.

Attended by the Cllr Lawrence Williams Mayor of Bournemouth and Mayoress Mrs Williams, as well as local councillors Cllr Jane Kelly and Cllr Christopher Wakefield, and Coastal BID lead Stefan Krause, the event gave local community members the opportunity to learn more about anti-LGBT prejudice and how to report and take action, as well as highlighting related work by the Network.

Network information was distributed to some of the Precinct shops and cafes, receiving great welcome and support, whilst local LGB&T community members introduced themselves to commend the Network awareness day and saying how important public events of this kind are to give support to members of the local LGB&T community.

The Mayor and local councillors also learned more about the Network’s initiative on counteracting homophobia and transphobia in sport, work with the libraries service, a major project with the NHS, and the initiative to start a once a month social pop-up group for isolated and older LGBT’s in the Boscombe area – more details coming soon! The event and the broader awareness campaign the event marked was kindly funded by the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (DPCC) Safer Dorset Fund.

Network commendation for the National Trust’s initiative on LGB&T inclusion:

The Network commends its educational initiative on celebrating the great contributions LGBT people have made to our nation, through LGB&T connections through a number of stately homes across the country, commemorating the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality. This includes our own Kingston Lacy.

You can read more about the National Trust ‘Prejudice & Pride’ initiative at Gay Times (thank you Colin at Weymouth Gay Group for advising the link) and at

Unfortunately, this has revealed the depth and scale of enmity and contempt towards our LGB&T communities by anti-social individuals and of course usual suspects in the more homophobically inclined national press:

The Network notes that this a simple matter of immaturity, with a tone of viciousness and callousness, of those who feel victimised for not being able to openly parade their prejudice, and belief that they have a God-given right to destroy the most fundamental human rights of fellow British citizens who happen to be LGB&T.

If some National Trust volunteers are uncomfortable with associating with a celebration of the beginning of the end of fellow citizens being persecuted, forced to commit suicide, being blackmailed, attacked, and caused devastating mental ill health, then clearly such individuals should be kept far away from interacting with the general-public, at least 6-7% of whom are LGB&T.

National newspapers in taking such supportive positions on bigotry, hate and homophobia, should at least be a little more honest and say what is really in their hearts — that we, LGB&T people shouldn’t exist (well Hitler believed this to and noted homophobes accorded the names of ‘saints’ in some forms of some religions). So too should be honest in the same regard, those NT volunteers who share such views and anti-social values, that unambiguously indicate that they do not believe LGB&T people have human rights, including the right to live, and live free of fear and persecution from the ignorant.

We commend the National Trust for its educational initiative in this symbolically important year of 50 years advance in rolling back the true criminality that homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia are.  These latter still take and mar too many lives needlessly, because there has still not been a sufficiently strong line taken by Law and the Government on anti-social and hate-crime behaviour related views, and fellow-travellers of the culprits, in sections of the national press.

Added: 05/08/2017

Network initiative with Dorset County Council ‘Pop Up’ social group for LGB&T people in East Dorset:

The Network was approached earlier this year by Dorset County Council Social Services to develop an LGB&T rural Dorset ‘pop up’ social group for older LGB&T people in  the East of the county, in conjunction with POPP (Dorset area Partnership for Older People) and with Dorset Police backing.  The first of the once a month meetings is planned to start late July, and will take place in Wimborne.  Watch this space for more information, to join, or become a volunteer!

Partnership with Dorset Humanists Association:

The Network is very pleased to announce it is partnering with Dorset Humanist Association.  This important initiative stems from the many shared perspectives of humanists (whom from the earliest of times have been staunch pioneers and protectors in regard to free thought and beliefs that are free of dogma), and those of many LGB&T people across the ages who have suffered so much from some forms of dogmatic religion that is diametrically opposed to gay relationships and same-sex love.

We are very excited about bringing together the perspectives of both LGB&T & Humanist communities that share many common characteristics in terms of perspectives on intolerance. More news coming soon!

Partnering with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue:

The Network participates in Dorset Wiltshire Fire & Rescue’s groundbreaking ‘LGBT and Me’ conference.  The Network was delighted to attend the DW Fire & Rescue conference ‘DWFR Creating an Incliusive Workplace for Staff & Volunteers’ event in May in Salisbury.

Network Chair, Father John Hyde, attending the conference witnessed to the groundbreaking educational awareness raising work DWFR (that chairs the Prejudice Free Dorset group) is doing on LGB&T issues and needs.  The DWFR and the Network are going to be partnering closely on events and actions to support the LGB&T communities in Dorset and Wiltshire.  More news coming soon!

Older News

Lindsay England joins as our second Patron:

lindsay-england  JBG

Lindsay England, founder and Chair of the national grassroots anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia in football and sport ‘Just a Ball Game?’ organisation has joined our Network as its second patron, joining our first patron, Sophie Cook, AFC Bournemouth Football Club Official Photographer and nationally renowned transgender motivational speaker (who has also recently contributed so strongly to our educational work at Royal Bournemouth Hospital through one of the two staff training videos there that we have helped to develop).  Lindsay will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Network in developing activity to counteract homophobia and transphobia in sport, including potentially school sports.

LGB&T Awareness Days at DHUFT (Dorset Healthcare NHS University Foundation Trust) and Dorset County Hospital:


Jonai and Louise at Sentinel House

The Network had an LGB&T Awareness Day on 8th June at Sentinel House, the headquarters of Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust (DHUFT).  We wish to thank DHUFT Equality Manager David Corbin, and our own Jonai Da Silva of our LGB&T Dorset Equality Network, and who also works at Dorset Healthcare, for their initiation and strong support for this groundbreaking awareness day, that witnessed high level and extensive support and the start of a number of conversations on how our communities can work in co-production with DHUFT to enhance its services to make them more effective and appropriate to LGB&T community members.

On 23rd June we held an awareness day at Dorset County Hospital, however, given some issues on the day in regard to support, this has been rescheduled to be run afresh later this summer or in September along the lines followed so successfully at Royal Bournemouth Hospital and at DHUFT.  We greatly appreciate this strategy and approach by Dorset County Hospital.

At Poole General Hospital, we have also been supporting the important work of the hospital’s LGB&T group, whose lead is a senior matron and one of the first members of the Health Advisory Group that has been the precursor of the LGB&T Dorset Network itself.

Finally, we should highlight the valuable guidance we have been receiving from one of the senior matrons at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, who has joined the Network and is advising us on the areas where some new mechanisms can be usefully developed to provide more effective engagement with LGB&T patients of the hospital, particularly younger LGB&T people, and in regard to mental health related topics.

Bourne Free 2016 :

Some images from the Network at Bourne Free 2016: including Lindsay England (as ‘Castro’ the cat), Father John Hyde, Jonai, and Alan.


Lindsay England as Castro, Alan and Fr John


Jonai and Castro

Other of our volunteer officers, including Sarah Pattison joined us too for a very successful and fun day with many visitors showing interest in the work of the Network, and subsequently joining.

The Network also helped contribute to content of Bourne Free’s mental health app initiative; particularly the glossary and substantial parts of information resources section.

Over The Rainbow (OTR):

The Network was asked to provide lead support when the Over The Rainbow Centre was recently considered for potential closure.  We have successfully provided this and are delighted to have prevented such a potential closure taking place unchallenged; the current position as a result of our intervention, is indicating continuity and some exciting options for consolidation and even the potential development of an LGB&T community hub that will also continue the OTR team’s national award winning services for our LGB&T communities.

NHS England regional conference presentation from Network support at Royal Bournemouth Hospital:

Wesssex AHSN logo (1)The Network was mentioned and received acclaim for its collaborative work at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, at the NHS England regional Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) Health Education England ‘Wessex Quality & Improvement Conference.’  The conference took place at the Grand Harbour Hotel on 15th June, with RBH’s Sue Mellor and Alan Mercel-Sanca for our LGB&T Dorset Equality Network jointly presenting ‘Working With Hard to Reach Groups’ – principles for co-design and working in partnership with patients.

The presentation highlighted the work done to date at the hospital and how through co-production and co-design this is being taken further forward; mention was made of the first step in the relationship, through our Network, between the hospital and our LGB&T community through the LGB&T Awareness Day we had at the hospital in LGBT History Month (February) which enabled the LGB&T community to witness to the hospital publically highlighting its zero tolerance policy on homophobia and transphobia.

This being followed 3 months later by our work with the hospital to create two staff awareness training videos for enhancing engagement with LGB&T patients.  The Network will be working with the Wessex AHSN on guidance and involvement concerning LGB&T community related topics.  We are very excited about the opportunities this will provide at regional NHS England level for the voice of our LGB&T communities to be heard on issues and needs in healthcare that matter to us, in Dorset and across the Wessex region. You can read more about the conference here:

STOP PRESS: Coming soon — Network becomes a charity. Collaboration with Portland based B-side arts group.  Work to save Over The Rainbow + related Network-OTR initiative. Dorset County Council initiative led by the Network.  The Network’s LGBT History Month 2017


Recent news:

Sophie Cook at RBH video project shoot with the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network where Sophie is first Patron RBH video group Alan & Louise RBCH

LGB&T Dorset Equality Network educational videos project at Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Network news from 2016 — LGBT History Month News: the Network’s LGB&T Awareness Day at Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Our Vision & Purpose:
Working for a homophobia and transphobia free, inclusive Dorset Bournemouth & Poole

Our Network was created and exists to support our communities and especially lesbian gay bisexual and trans’ individuals who are voiceless, face daily dis-empowerment, vulnerability and isolation.

We also exist to support those who seek to celebrate and share the distinctiveness, richness and creativity of our LGB&T communities, and to work with those in local authority and public service organisations who seek to combat LGB&T discrimination and prejudice.