The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network from the onset of the Covid 19 national and international emergency been for the pan-Dorset area and beyond, including national level in a number of areas, been taking action to protect and support our LGBT+ community members, especially those community members belonging to some of our LGBT+ sub-communities especially vulnerable to the impacts from safety and safeguarding, to hate crime and prejudice, and to healthcare.
Please bookmark this page as we will be adding some specific guidance here for both community members, and for statutory sector from NHS (in conjunction with the NHS Equality & Health Inequalities Team) to local authorities, to police constabularies, the prison service, and beyond.
To give context to this guidance please see the information below from the United Nations High Commission, kindly provided from Nepal’s LGBT community through our links with the latter:
Health and mental health: from hospital settings and seeking NHS care Covid 19 poses particularly clear additional impacts for LGBT community members with a healthcare system that still carries a reputation for in all too many cases for community members, especially those coming out as LGB or Trans, being less than welcoming/helpful, professional if you are LGB or T or have a healthcare related need, to come Out as LGB or T.
Further to providing them with specific information, we are looking to the Dorset area NHS and Public Health to provide Covid 19 and the LGBT+ communities specific support on LGBT specific healthcare and staying safe Covid 19 minimising information through an LGBT+ specific healthcare information capaign, as Dorset CCG and Public Health Dorset are aware, further to information and guidance provided through our direct relationship with NHS England’s Equality & Health Inequalities Team.
Safety, crime/Anti-Social Behaviour / Hate Crime: these include due to self-isolation particularly severe changes for community members in terms of vulnerability to bullying and/or abuse. Housing/Accomodation settings have always been particularly problematic to potentially or actually, dangerous.
The areas of gravest concern for our LGBT and LGBTQ communities in regard to to Covid 19 self-isolation are in particular but not limited to in terms of public service organisations heightened attention and supportive intervention at this time:
Housing/accomodation setting, particularly in regard to communal living settings and housing associations where LGBT people commonly can find friction points with neighbours, fellow residents who hold ant-LGBT views and express these through anti-LGBT hate crime
We are looking to see Domestic Violence victims organisations, local authorities, and police teams support dedicated LGBT community outreach on safety and whistleblowing, as the ratio of DV and Domestic Abuse is disproportionately high in the gay and lesbian community due to impacts of prejudice
Coming Out during the current Covid 19 lockdown: Coming Out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or Trans is at the best of times a matter of courage in the face of adversity and even dangers. In the context of social isolation our LGB&T community members seeking or needing to Come Out as LGB or T, safety issues are considerably exacerbated.
For those LGBT community members Coming Out or feeling they need to Come Out: in the lockdown context this very important right and ability crucial to psychological and emotional wellbeing, especially for younger community members, has been removed. Instead feelings of entrapment where families are not-accepting of LGBT members and have a record of anti-LGBT conduct up to and including abusive behaviour, are greatly amplified. Some 25% of young homeless people are LGBT community members and their homelessness relating to family rejection or bullying, and wont of being able to have supportive trusted friends and support signposting
These are the main areas the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network is supporting our community with in regard to ensuring that the types of risk and concern that the UN report has highlighted to support our community members. This support involves specific guidance to statutory sector agencies and organisations, to enable them to adapt their services to ensure that in these exceptional and extreme times, they can save LGB&T lives, and support our community members in positions of particular considerably deepened vulnerability.
We take the postion that that Covid 19 has provided a sudden and very powerful ‘stress test’ on the credibility and the effectiveness of LGB&T related inclusion and anti-Hate Crime policies and related services delivery. We are there to support our Community, and we are there to support Service providers!