Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT)
Awareness Training ACE IT/Moose Volunteers – 4 July 2013
Many older people from the LGBT community experience particular difficulties and discrimination when entering a care facility, and issues such as losing a same sex partner, are often be met by a lack of understanding. As the Moose in the Hoose project’s primary aim is to reduce the social isolation of care home residents, we invited the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing Age project to run a session for Moose volunteers and ACE IT staff. Four members of staff and five volunteers attended with apologies from several Moose volunteers who were on holiday.
Stefan Milenkovic, LGBT Development Worker, started by giving an over view of the why the LGBT Centre had been established and what services they offer to older LGBT people. A pub quiz about the experience/ legislation to do with homosexuality, transgender terminology and the 2010 Equalities Act, was well received and produced a lively debate. One of the most telling statistics to come out of this quiz was that 2 out of 3 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have experienced a hate crime.
Presentation Tim Puntis – LGBT Age Project Community Champion
Tim outlined the very secretive existence of gay men in the UK until legislation that criminalised homosexuality started to change from the 1960’s onwards. This experience has led a lot of older gay men to decide not to “come out” as they fear the reaction from friends, family and the wider community. One case study Tim shared was of a woman who felt the need to “de-gay” artifacts in her own home before arranging home care. He also explained that older LGBT people often do not expect the same level of service/care as they do not want to make a “fuss”.
In line with current legislation, all organisations and services should ensure people from the LGBT community are treated equally and this should be reflected in their policies and general information.
Katherine Burrows – LGBT Age Community Champion
Katherine outlined what the term “transgender” covers and emphasised that the term is a recognised medical condition and as such has little to do with sexual orientation. She talked of her own experience of gender reassignment from man to woman and of the many difficulties she had to overcome – a process that had taken over 10 years. Katherine talked of the relief of finally knowing she why she had felt it hard to “fit in” when growing up.
Societal attitudes towards trans-sexuality were discussed, acknowledging the differences perceived by those wishing to become trans-man or trans-woman. Katherine also reiterated the need to make people who are transgender feel welcome, as they may be at a very difficult stage of their transformation. Hopefully the next generation of transgender people will find an acceptance that their older counter parts have found wanting.
General Discussion and Action Points
• Moose volunteers should be sensitive to the fact that not everyone will have grandchildren or wish to have their personal history explored. They may have a “family of choice” so instead we should ask is there anyone special they would like to be in touch with/have photos of etc?
• Moose volunteers should never force “coming out” on any older gay person, but respect their privacy and guided by what every individual wants to reveal to us.
• ACE IT will look at our Equal Opportunities policy and other public documents to ensure members of the LGBT community are made very welcome to use and benefit our services.
The session finished in the usual Moose in the Hoose way, with informal discussion over tea and cakes.
LGBT 50+ Community Survey
LGBT Health and Wellbeing have been running LGBT Age, a groundbreaking project which currently provides a befriending service and social opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people over 50 in Edinburgh and Lothians.
We are now carrying out a Community Survey to give us a better understanding of the needs of LGBT people not just in Lothians but across Scotland. The findings will be used to develop the future work of our LGBT Age project and are wider work to promote the health, wellbeing and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland.
Are you lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and 50+? If so please tell us about your needs and experiences. The survey will take just 10 minutes to complete and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/lgbtage
Paper copies of our survey are also available; please request these on 0131 523 1100.