A word from our Chair and Chief Executive
Today, every one of the major political parties in this country is committed to equality for LGB people, and we would expect them to positively ensure that a candidate’s sexual orientation is not used as a political or public weapon by their opponents.
Parliament has recently passed into law the Equality Act, which not only consolidates the legal protections for LGB people but also includes the introduction of the Single Public Sector Equality Duty. This Duty will require all public authorities in this country for the first time to think about, and act upon, the needs of LGB people in everything that they do.
We need to start using these hard won legal protections. We need to learn new skills and start becoming more assertive in demanding that our needs are met. We need to begin the shift from campaigning to complaining!
Whilst some public attitudes have changed, many have not and homophobia is still very much here and present within society today. Many of the LGF’s service users are living with the daily reality of homophobia, and many are living their lives in secret, not publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation for fear of reprisal.
Here at the LGF we don’t want gay rights, we want equal rights for LGB people. The right for LGB people to be ordinary, and to live their lives with dignity and respect. The right for LGB people to be all that they can be and to achieve their full potential.
We want LGB people to have the personal confidence to be out in all circumstances, when they choose to, and the right not to be judged when they are. The LGF believe that every lesbian, gay and bisexual person has the right to be accepted for who they are - where they live, by their families and their neighbours; where they work, by their boss and their work colleagues; where they receive public services, by their Doctor, in hospital, within their schools and by their teacher, classmates or by other parents.
LGB people have the right not to be abused, shouted at or beaten in the streets, and not to be the victim of a hate crime. LGB people should be able to be affectionate with their partner in public, and not self-censor their behaviour because of fear of what others might do, say or think.
Enough is Enough!, our tenth anniversary awareness campaign, asserts that the time is right now to take actions against homophobia.
This strategy provides an overview of why, how and where the LGF, over the next five years, is going to focus its energy and resources. Amongst many initiatives we will be focussing on the monitoring of sexual orientation of public sector service users. We will launch a campaign, ‘Stand Up and be Counted’, which will aim to encourage LGB people to disclose their sexual orientation when asked to and encourage all public sector organisations to ask in a consistent and safe way.
Currently across the public sector there are significant amounts of missing data and missed opportunities. LGB people are still very much not included in mainstream programmes of work, and where public services focus on equality issues like women’s services, lesbian and bisexual women are not included, and often are simply forgotten and overlooked.
The LGF’s interventions will aim to build confidence within LGB individuals and community groups. We will actively encourage the involvement in civil society through our campaign, ‘All Aboard’, encouraging LGB people to become more involved within their local communities. The LGF wants to facilitate the release of the potential of LGB people, ensuring that skills and talents are nurtured and encouraged, and that the contributions made by LGB people are fully recognised by society.
We want to reach out to others and build confidence, understanding and interest with allies and partners, and with public sector staff in particular. We want to make public services better for us, and we will regularly remind our colleagues that LGB people are tax payers too!
The LGF will work to ensure that specialist services for LGB people can and should be offered where required. We have noticed that the more variety and choice of services we provide, the extra demand and usage in our services grows. There are huge expectations of delivery amongst LGB people on organisations like the LGF, as there are often very few providers who are sensitive and inclusive of LGB peoples needs. LGB organisations can very often be expected to be all things to all people.
The size of the LGB sector in this country is tiny. There is a perception of our sector being considerably bigger than it is. This is good for being able to ‘punch above our weight’ and get our voice heard, but it is not realistic in terms of our capacity to deliver on LGB people’s expectations. The LGF will lobby all commissioners for strategic investment to be made into the LGB sector, in line with investments made for many of the other protected equality groups.
The LGF will challenge the perception of the ‘Pink Pound’ and the assumption that every LGB person is wealthy, which can lead many funders to believe that grant giving is not therefore seen as necessary. Over the coming years we will do much to build the research evidence base, and work to skill up the LGB sector. Part of our intention will be to equip the LGB sector to survive and thrive within the upcoming difficult financial environment. We will want to see engagement with and by the public sector, and the sustainability and further development of the LGB sector over the next five years.
The LGF is undoubtedly an ambitious organisation and ‘Securing the Future for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People’ is a very ambitious strategy. However we believe that the time is now right for us to focus our resources and determine our resolve and move forward to end homophobia and empower people. For if not now, then when? For if not us, then who?
The LGF over the coming years will work towards mobilising and motivating a movement for change, a movement to achieve a fair and equal society where all lesbian, gay and bisexual people can achieve their full potential.