Why are LGBTQ people less likely to seek support?
Things have come a long way in my lifetime, and I hope that we’ll see things continue to change for the better. But while we as a community fight to improve the rates at which LGBTQ+ people face marginalisation, there’s also a lot of work that we as a sector need to do to make it safer for LGBTQ+ people to access the support they need.
In the homelessness and social support sector, we need to keep proactively asking the hard questions – what are we doing that might make people feel unable to talk to us? What do we do, without thinking, that’s unhelpful or even actively harmful to LGBTQ+ people seeking support? How do we make sure that LGBTQ+ people can put their trust in us – and how do we make sure we don’t betray that trust?
Since we began working with LGBT Youth Scotland in 2019 to gain our Charter Mark, we’ve been trying to ask those difficult questions, and make sure we’re constantly working to make our services a genuine source of safety, understanding and support for LGBTQ+ people. Our LGBTQ+ staff group works to keep the conversation alive in the organisation, helping develop understanding of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences across staff and volunteers, and making sure we don’t forget how important this continues to be.
And we want to hear from people in our community. If you’re an LGBTQ+ person living locally, especially if you’ve had difficult times in your life, we want to know whether you’d feel safe reaching out for support from services like ours – and if not, what we could do to change that.
Over the next month, we’ll be at Pride in Edinburgh and West Lothian, and we’d love to hear from you if you’re there! Pop by our stall and have a chat with us.
Everyone deserves to feel safe, cared for and accepted when they’re asking for support. It’s hard enough to ask for help, without having to face extra barriers because of your sexuality or gender – we're going to keep working to build inclusive, accepting services where people know they can put their trust.